On Sunday, Oct. 21, Julia Plawker, 11, from Westfield, and Christopher Holder, 10, from Watchung, earned first place titles in their divisions in The Battle of Baltimore, a national-ranked martial arts tournament featuring hundreds of competitors who represent the “best of the best” in karate from around the country. For both Julia and Chris, who are karate students from Westfield dojo Karate N Motion (KNM), this was their first national-level tournament. They have previously competed in tournaments in the surrounding N.J./N.Y. area.
“I’m very proud of the hard work, patience, perseverance and persistence of KNM’s karate competitors,” said Grand Master Alan Simms, 10th degree black belt, head instructor and owner of KNM. “Our dojo sent six competitors down to Baltimore and all reached the finals, and/or won their events.”
Julia, a sixth-grade student at Roosevelt Intermediate School in Westfield was awarded a first-place title in sparring.
“I was nervous but very excited to compete against schools from around the country,” said Julia. “This was a great experience and overall a great day. I’m also very happy for my dojo friends who all represented KNM well.”
Christopher, a fifth-grade student at Green Brook Middle School in Watchung, also won first place in sparring. “The competition was really tough and impressive,” said Chris. “I just kept telling myself to stay cool and stick to my strategy. That’s what our KNM teachers tell us to do – and it worked.”
Also placing in their respective divisions at the The Battle of Baltimore were:
· 9-year-old Meredith Rosenthal, from Jefferson School in Westfield, who took 2nd place in sparring,
· 10-year-old Sean Canavan, from McKinley School in Westfield, took 2nd place in weapons,
· 11-year-old Joey Echols, from Terrill Middle School in Scotch Plains, took 3rd place in weapons, and
· 12-year-old Tristan Challis, from Lincoln School in Garwood, also took 3rd place in sparring in his division.
Many of KNM’s karate students train five or six days a week with national karate champions as their instructors. “Sensei Alan” as he’s known to his students, a member of both the World and International Black Belt Halls of Fame, is a frequent guest lecturer and presenter on many martial arts related topics. He holds a 9th Degree Black Belt in Karate and a 10th Degree in Jiu Jitsu, from the Japan Aiki-Bujutsu Federation. Sensei Alan has owned Karate N Motion since 2000.