Kicks and punches were dished out by three martial artists from Port Hardy’s Bushido Shotokan Karate-do Academy at the 2018 provincials.
15-year-old Isabella Schmidt, Nince Richardson, and her 13-year-old son James Wallas competed in the International Shotokan Karate Federation (ISKF) 2018 Provincial Tournament which took place in Port Moody April 14.
“It can be intimidating to go to these tournaments, but it’s really good to challenge yourself and do it,” said Colleen Hemphill, who has been doing karate since 1997, and is also Acting Coach for the tournaments.
Hemphill explained she functioned as Acting Coach because Bushido Shotokan Karate-do Academy’s two Sensei’s, Ivan DeToro and Jennifer DeToro, were judging the competition.
Richardson and Wallas each came in third place for their respective categories in Kata (form) and Kumite (sparring).
Hemphill also noted that a stand-out moment from the tournament was when Isabella Schmidt, who is a high-level brown belt, faced off against black belts for the first time.
“She held her own and she had the other person on the defense most of the time,” said Hemphill, adding that Schmidt had not done much free sparing before the tournament.
“She had speed, accuracy, and technical ability – she was very strong. The other person was lucky enough to get the punch in that won her the competition, but we know if Isabella goes back again that she is not going to let that happen,” said Hemphill, adding, “She has got amazing kicking abilities.”
Jennifer said she wasn’t able to watch as she and Ivan were busy judging the other ring, but when they heard what happened they were “super proud of her.”
“We feel very happy with the type of training that we get from Jennifer and Ivan, they are extremely strong in the martial art,” said Hemphill. “They both bring incredible technical expertise to us in Port Hardy. We know that our students, no matter what, are going to do their best and they will make us proud when they perform, and they all did.”
Hemphill said she hopes more students get the opportunity to go to tournaments in the future, as it’s a great experience for anyone in karate.
She also added they have been training hard in Kumite since they returned from provincials.
“We have been training hard each class,” laughed Hemphill, “Watch out Vancouver when we return!”