By Geydy Martinez
Did you know CI has a Karate club? If you do, congratulations because you’re one of few. If you don’t, that’s okay because The CI View has got you covered on bringing you the details on all the amazing clubs and organizations we have on campus. This month, we are shedding light on the Shotokan Karate club.
The CI Shotokan Karate club has been around for roughly 6 years. It was started back in 2013 by some students in Dr. John Guelcher’s English class. Dr. Guelcher was a former CI English professor and one of the first advisors for the club. He has been practicing Shotokan Karate for 10 years.
Shotokan Karate originated in Japan. It is a traditional type of martial arts. It emphasizes one strike kill meaning, “to focus your attack with such commitment and force to end the altercation on your terms,” said Guelcher. When asked why karate was the chosen art form for the club he replied, “karate focuses on improving the person both externally and internally. In that way, it compliments other important elements of a college student’s lifestyle.”
Makeda Simmons – Best, the current president of the club, explains why she joined the Shotokan Karate club. “I’ve always wanted to learn martial arts. It makes me feel safer going places on my own knowing that I can defend myself,” said Simmons – Best. Despite being a small club, the club has come a long way since 2013. “Many of the Club students have gone on to advance to high levels of Shotokan,” said Guelcher.
A recent graduate, Lisette Gutierrez started out as a white belt and by the end of her college career, managed to level up to purple belt. In addition, Alfredo Martinez (class of 2016) leveled up from white to solid purple and Will Slade (class of 2018) leveled up from white to purple with a white strip.
When the club was first established, practice would be held at the campus recreation center but now they have access to a proper dojo where they get to train with other trainees at varying levels. The club practices with the guidance of senpai Shawn Danaher, 5th-degree black belt and CI alumni.
The Karate club doesn’t only practice techniques in the dojo, they also actively participate in competitions. One of their most exciting competitions happens in the spring, the Ozawa Cup: International Karate Tournament. This tournament attracts competitors from all around the world to compete in Kumite, sparring, and Kata, choreographed exercises. This competition takes place in Las Vegas.
If CI students are thinking about joining the club,they do not have to have any experience at all as long as they have the passion and commitment.
To find out more about the club check them out on CI Sync or get in contact with them through their social media pages. This semester, the club meets Mondays and Wednesdays from 8 – 9 p.m.