By Laurie and Josh McGrath
Sensei Roger Steckly of Kick ‘n Sport Karate Club in New Hamburg has been training an elite group of athletes in preparation for the 2012 WKC World Championships in Quebec this fall.
Seven students were selected to train specifically for point sparring matches three times a week in addition to attending regular karate classes Monday to Saturday. These students pledged to try their hardest at all times, show good sportsmanship, attend a minimum of five tournaments annually and to support and cheer on other teammates.
The Canadian Championships
While Canadian citizens of all belt ranks can try out to qualify for the Canadian Championships, it is recommended that only Advance belts or Black belts do so as the sparring divisions are classified by age and weight.
Regional events are held across Canada for those wishing to qualify for the Canadian Championships in Montreal. Recent qualifiers were held in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Northern Ontario, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick. On April 21st the elite athletes from Kick ‘n Sport Karate Club travelled to London, Ontario to try and earn trips to the Nationals. Kurtis Proksch and Zach McGrath both won Gold at provincials. Jordan Sooley, Kayla Stumpf, Jacob Schumm, Lexi Stumpf and Claudia Schumm also placed as top eight fighters earning them spots at the upcoming Nationals.
The WKC Nationals were held in Quebec over three days with all participants guaranteed two rounds of competition. The scores from both rounds were added together to determine the top six who then advanced to the gold medal round and determination of the best fighters in Canada.
The World Championships
Kick ‘n Sport Karate Club recently sent three elite students as well as its Sensei and two instructors to represent Canada at the World Championships. Zach McGrath won gold in the U12 under 50 kg division; Jordan Sooley won silver in the U12 under 50 kg division; and Jacob Schumm placed fourth in the 16-17 age bracket under 70 kg division. Sensei Roger Steckly won two gold medals in the continuous sparring and speed fighting divisions for fighters over 48 years of age and under 75 kilograms; Chris Steckly won bronze in the 18-34 age bracket under 75 kg; and Wendell Schumm placed fourth in the 35-42 over 85 kg age division.
It is very impressive that several of these competitors placed in top spots against black belt fighters despite being at lower belt levels. Zach McGrath is an intermediate (red belt), Chris Steckly is a blue belt, and Jordan Sooley and Wendell Schumm are brown belts. It shows that their focus on their training has paid off. Now these athletes get to represent Canada at the 2012 WKC World Championships being held in Montreal in October where they will be challenging for gold in their divisions. Congratulations to all the athletes.
The elite fighting team, which includes Kurtis, Zach, Jordan, Kayla, Jacob, Lexi and Claudia, will continue to focus and train together. While Jordan, Jacob and Zach are committed to representing Canada in Montreal this year, they are all looking ahead to representing Canada on the National Team at the 2013 Worlds.