The West Chester University Karate club held its annual Shotokan Karate Collegiate Tournament last Saturday in Ehinger Gym. Ten team members competed against Penn State University and Drexel University, in individual and team skill competitions. “There is usually a bigger turnout of colleges, but not a lot of other schools were back in session,” Jacquie Turk, a fourth-year student and president of the club, said.
The karate club is advised by Paul Smith of the Kinesiology Department. WCU’s karate team trains three days a week practicing for collegiate tournaments held across the east coast.
“Shotokan Karate is a form of the sport in its oldest and truest form. Different than other forms of martial arts, Shotokan remains true to the original form of karate,” said Turk.
Shotokan Karate was developed in Japan and is widely popular among college campuses across the US. Shotokan Karate consists of a of series kicks, punches, strikes, blocks and teaches both self-defense and self-development.
There are two categories to each tournament. Kata involves memorizing a series of moves.
“A kata can be performed individually or as a group and is judged on the speed, power, synchronization of the moves and with the level of spirit and intensity they are performed,” Turk said. WCU placed third in team kata.
Another type of competition is called sparring, which can only be performed by advanced competitors. Sparring puts two opponents against each other who fight using controlled contact. Individuals are judged on their ability to execute and perform moves.
The team will compete in two more tournaments this year at the College of William and Mary and Penn State University.
Amanda Vernon is a third-year student minoring in journalism. She can be reached at AV642572@wcupa.edu.