by Kassy Van Dyk
On Saturday, June 25, Team SWAT traveled to Tulsa, OK, to compete in the 22nd Annual Whirlwind Karate Classic sanctioned by the Oklahoma Karate Association. Martial artists from Kansas City to Austin, TX, and Wichita, KS, to Little Rock, AR, gathered to compete in what has become a great tournament of champions.
The tournament started with an impressive opening ceremony. Pioneers and martial arts greats that where present at the ceremony were honored and recognized for their years of dedication and contributions to the world of martial arts and sport karate.
Competitors got right to compete in their respective divisions which was kicked off with the Adult Black Belt Forms divisions that showcased some awesome talent and skill. Then the Extreme/Creative Musical Forms divisions followed. These CMX competitors entertained the crowd with all of their flips, twists and mix of choreographed martial arts and gymnastics accompanied by music. Kevin Mahurin from Neosho, who represented Team SWAT, won the Adult Black Belt Forms Grand Champion Trophy.
Next the youth and adult underbelt competitors exhibited their skill and passion for the traditional platform of Karate, Tae Kwon Do and other styles of martial arts. Competitors performed their traditional weapons forms and patterns as well as their open hand forms. Point Sparring was next on the schedule of the day and these guys did not disappoint the crowd, wowing them with awesome fights. The last events of the day were the Adult Black Belt Point Sparring divisions full of talented fighters with World Champion Larry Wells Jr. winning the Adult Black Belt Sparring Grand Champion Trophy.
Team SWAT was well represented at the tournament in the youth and adult divisions. These talented competitors practice so hard and are getting better at each tournament they attend. All their hard work paid off again by the amount of beautiful awards they received.
Jordan Runkle placed 1st in Youth 5 and under Traditional Weapons.
Jacey Swopes competed in the Youth 6-7 Novice Divisions and placed 3rd in Traditional Weapons, 2nd in Open Hand Forms and 4th in Girls Point Sparring.
Katelyn Mahurin, Mason Gardner and Hunter Malensek competed in the Youth 10-11 Divisions. Katelyn placed 2nd in Intermediate Traditional Weapons. Mason placed 2nd in Novice Traditional Weapons, 2nd in Novice Open Hand Forms and 4th in. Novice Point Sparring. Hunter placed 1st in Novice Traditional Weapons, 1st in Novice Open Hand Forms and 1st in Novice Point Sparring.
Rebekah Thompson competed in the Youth 14-15 Novice Division and placed 1st in Traditional Weapons, 1st in Open Hand Forms and 3rd in Point Sparring.
Mr. Logan competed in the Adult Novice Division and placed 2nd in Point Sparring. Bill Willis competed in the Adult Advanced Division and placed 1st in Traditional Weapons and 2nd in Point Sparring.
Brenda Kuykendall competed in the Adult Woman Black Belt Division and placed 1st in Open Hand Forms.
Kevin Mahurin competed in the Adult Men Black Belt Division and placed 1st in Open Hand Forms.
With their respective wins in the Black Belt Forms divisions, Mrs. Kuykendall and Mr. Mahurin earned a spot in the Black Belt Forms Grand Champion Division which was stacked with talent. After all Black Belt competitors performed their winning forms again in the Grand Champion Round and after scores were added Kevin Mahurin came away with the win and the Black Belt Grand Champion Trophy.
A big thank you goes out to Master Larry and Denise Wells for hosting a great tournament.
Thank you to all Team SWAT competitors for bringing your best and thank you to Mr. Jim Riggs and Willy Parks for coaching our team on Saturday.
TEAM SWAT COMPETES IN OKLAHOMA – (Front row from left) Jordan Runkle, Mason Gardner, Rebekah Thompson, Jacey Swopes and Hunter Malensek; (middle row from left) Katelyn Mahurin, Brenda Kuykendall, Kevin Mahurin and Master Jim Riggs; (back row from left) Mr. Logan and Bill Willis.