Martial Arts competitors from across the Four State area were joined by competitors from as far north as Minnesota, south from Texas, east from Tennessee and west from Central Kansas all gathered in Ozark this past weekend to compete in the Heartland Open Martial Arts Tournament.

Stephen Kish

One of our very own local martial artists, young Stephen Kish representing Van Dyk’s Karate Academy competed amongst a talented group of competitors.

Stephen representing Van Dyk’s Karate Academy and the Southwest Missouri Karate Association Youth Team competed in the Boys 8 – 9 Year Old Novice Division. Stephen competed in three different disciplines at this tournament. Judges had a tough day of placing a talented group of competitors in this competition. Despite being the rookie in a talented group of youngsters, Stephen still managed to place in the top five of all three of his divisions. Stephen first competed in the 8-9 Year Old Youth Traditional Weapons Kata Division where his skill with the Sai earned him a well deserved second place trophy. Next up was a stacked and talented pool of novice boys duking it out on the tatami (competition floor) showing the judges their best representation of their Traditional Open-Hand Kata. Having put in hard work and good practice since his last tournament in fine tuning his kata for this tournament, young Stephen bested his peers and won a well deserved first place trophy for his effort. Next was the Sparring Division where Stephen had to battle against giants, well to him they were, but still managed to hang in there and still earn a 4th place medal in what was a tough 8 – 9 Boys Sparring Division. Later in the day when most all of the individual divisions has run its course all the forms divisional winners compete for the Grand Championships. With winning his Open Hand Form Division, Stephen would also compete for the Youth Novice Forms Division Grand-Champion. This is always a tough competition as you are competing against all the age groups in the Novice Grand-Champ Division from ages 5 to 17 and is no easy task. But keeping his cool and not folding under the pressure young Stephen still managed to place third in his respective Grand-Champion Division.

We want to say thank you to Sensei Richy Osborn Jr. for hosting this wonderful tournament and congratulate him on having a great turnout as well. Congratulations to all competitors and thank you to all judges, referees and all time-keeper/score-keeper staff. Without you, none of this would be possible.