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BRINGING HOME TOP HONORS: Andalusia Isshinryu members receive coveted awards

Andalusia Isshinryu Karate came away with top honors at the recent 39th annual Isshinryu Hall of Fame Banquet and Tournament at the Gatlinburg Convention Center in Gatlinburg, Tenn.

Each year the IHOF Banquet is held to recognize Isshinryu practitioners for their contribution to the art and for accomplishments in different areas of karate.

Nominations are sent in from dojos around the world for the awards.

The nominations are reviewed by the IHOF Board and finalist are selected in each award catergory.

“It is quite an honor to meet the criteria and to be selected for one of this awards,” AIK’s owner and instructor Mark Rudd said.

AIK’s Taj Patel and Kila Owen were each finalists for different awards coming into the banquet weekend.

During the banquet, Patel was named the IHOF Young Male Competitor of the Year for 2018. The honor isn’t new to Patel, who previously won the award in 2014 and 2016. Patel was also a finalist for Young Male Karate-ka of the Year.

“This is a great accomplishment for Taj,” Rudd said. “It’s recognition of outstanding achievement inside and outside of the dojo and for having an outstanding year in competition.”

Not longer after Patel received his award, Owens was named the Adult Female Karate-ka of the Year.

“This award is in recognition of outstanding karate practitioner in all areas,” Rudd said. “It includes teaching, competing and representing Isshinryu in a positive way.”

Owens was also a finalist for Adult Female Competitor of the Year.”

One of the biggest honors came to AIK’s owner and instructor Rudd as he was inducted into the Isshinryu Hall of Fame.

Rudd became just the 113th person to be inducted since the Hall of Fame began in 1979.