Andalusia Isshinryu kicks past competition

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 22, 2016

Taj Patel with his Grand Champion Trophy.

Taj Patel with his Grand Champion Trophy.

Andalusia Isshinryu Karate continued their strong summer when several members took home big awards in competitions recently in Mississippi and Tennessee.

In the Mississippi Karate Association Gulf Coast Classic Karate Championship held in Pascagoula hosted by Sensei Hayward Butler of Koast Karate, Taj Patel was the lone competitor from Andalusia Isshinryu Karate.

The year continued to be a big one for the young black belt as he locked down his second Youth Black Belt Grand Championship of the summer.

Patel also took home first place in Black Belt Kata and Black Belt fighting. He placed second in Black Belt Weapons and Black Belt Musical Forms.

Other members of the Andalusia Isshinryu Karate attended the USYKA Summer Camp over the weekend at Henry Horton State Park in Columbia, Ten.

At the camp, the Andalusia team members met with instructors and students from several other karate schools from a four-state area to work out and compete in the board breaking competition.

Andalusia students Christopher O’Neil, Landon Caldwell and Allen Butler took part in the summer camp.

“The Andalusia students started the day at 6 a.m., with an hour-long workout,” Andalusia Isshinryu Karate Sensei Mark Rudd said. “The students then attend a team building workshop headed by master instructors. After a full day of training, participants moved to the conference center where a board breaking competition was held.”

O’Neil took home first place in the board breaking competition for the yellow belt division.

Butler had a strong day and finished in second place in the black belt division.

Caldwell also placed with a third place finish in the brown belt division.

Andalusia Isshinryu Karate team members will be competing this weekend at the Isshinryu Hall of Tournament in Gatlinburg. The HOF tournament is the largest Isshinryu tournament held worldwide.

Andalusia Isshinryu Karate has three finalists up for competitor of the year awards.

Patel is up for Young Male Karate-ka of the Year and Young Male Competitor of the Year.

Dalton Spears is up for Young Male Competitor of the Year and Kila Owens is a finalist for Female Competitor of the Year.

Andalusia Isshinryu Karate’s dojo is also a finalist for Dojo of the Year.

“We will be going to Gatlinburg with our fingers crossed,” Rudd said. “The awards will be announced on Friday night, and then on Saturday we will compete in the Isshinryu Hall of Fame Tournament.”