Andalusia Isshinryu to host tourney in June

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Andalusia Isshinryu Karate will host its annual South Alabama Karate Open on June 11.

“We are really looking forward to this tournament,” Andalusia Isshinryu instructor Mark Rudd said. “I know the students look forward to competing in it each year, especially for the ones that don’t travel and compete with us throughout the year.”

There is a group from the Andalusia Isshinryu Karate school that travel to tournaments all year, but Rudd said not all are able to and that the tournament gives them a taste of what its like.

“For those that don’t travel with us to tournaments all year, this allows them the opportunity to compete in a real tournament,” Rudd said. “Some of them get bitten by the competition bug and the next year they start traveling with us to more tournaments.”

Rudd said that so far more than 20 schools from six states have confirmed they will be coming to compete in the South Alabama Karate Open.

“It should be a really big tournament,” Rudd said. “We will have around 40 from our school and then the school in Opp usually sends around 20 students over to compete so there should be a lot of locals in the tournament.”

Rudd said along with his current students, several of his former black belt students that have moved away will come back to compete.

The tournament will have different competitions and divisions based on belt level, experience and age.

“It’s pretty evenly matched up,” Rudd said. “Competitors only go up against other competitors with similar skill level.”

Rudd said that his students try to stay in good physical condition and perfect their routines to prepare for competitions.

“We compete year around so we stay in pretty good shape,” Rudd said. “It’s really just a continuation from what we do in class. You want to fine tune your routines in weapons and form and make sure that everything looks good.”

The tournament is also a good opportunity for locals to come see what a karate tournament is all about.

“It’s good for the local people to be able to come out and see what its like and if they might want to try it out,” Rudd said. “Last year was the most spectators that we have ever had come out. A lot of people come from all over the place and they see how great the quality of life is around here.”

Rudd said that a lot of people come away impressed with the facilities at Straughn.

“It’s a very nice facility,” Rudd said of the Straughn gym. “People are always impressed by it and never thought something like that would be around here. We are very thankful to Straughn that they allow us to use their gym for this.”

Rudd also said that sponsorships from local business have also help out tremendously.

“We have a lot of local businesses that support us by buying ads for our program,” Rudd said. “Without them, we wouldn’t be able to hand out such nice awards.

Speaking of awards, Rudd said his school’s goal is simple:

“We like to send the other teams back empty handed and wanting to practice more,” Rudd said.

The South Alabama Karate Open will be June 11 at the Straughn High School gym.

The tournament begins at 10 a.m., and there will be a $5 admission fee for spectators.

For more information about taking classes at Andalusia Isshinryu Karate, call 488-3104 or stop by. Andalusia Isshinryu is located beside USA Gym and Fitness Center.