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The Whitecourt Wado Kai Karate Club held a tournament at the Allan & Jean Millar Centre on Saturday, April 1. With 42 black belts and over 200 competitors from across Canada, the event was not only exciting to take part it, but also to watch.
“It’s an open event for our Shintani organization so anyone who is registered in Shintani can attend,” said local competitor and black belt, Bernnie Jervais, adding that “it’s a huge honour having everybody here.” Competitors came from several provinces as well as Sensei’s including one from the Northwest Territories.
The tournament has been taking place for 15 years and features several levels. Throughout the day there was Junior Kyu Belt, Shindo, Adult Kyu Belt, Black Belt, and Open Supplementary Kata competitions.
“We all do a kata first. A kata is a fight with an imaginary opponent using our techniques and our style of karate. You’re by yourself in the ring and you are fighting imaginary opponents how you see the specifics set of techniques in order, as in a real fight. You are then judged accordingly on your technique, your power, your flow, and a whole bunch of other things,” explained Jervais who has been in the organization for 10 years.
When asked what prompted her to originally join, Bernnie said with a laugh, “My son wanted to be a ninja turtle! So, we found karate. Once he joined, it was painful sitting on the sidelines and watching everyone else have fun. So, the whole family joined.”
In fact, her oldest daughter is on the National team and recently went to Japan last September. “The organization has a National team that is developed from the members of Canada that represent Canada all around the world. There are lots of places for kids to travel to as well as opportunities for them.”
Anyone interested in joining the local organization which currently has over 70 members is invited to call Sensei Shelley McGregor at 780-778-8824.
“It’s a sport that we can all stay active in throughout our mature life and start when we are young. It’s great for self-knowledge and self-growth,” said Bernnie, adding that “it’s also an awesome environment to release the frustrations of life and to be able to grow and have a good time doing it.”