On Saturday the PMA sent its younger students to compete at the annual Pacific Southwest Association AAU tournament at UCSD. This is a very good quality tournament and serves as a qualifier for those intending to compete later in the summer in the national championships of AAU or Amateur Athletic Union. There is a lot of interest just now in tournament karate as students see the possibility of competing some day in the Olympics at Tokyo in 2020. In the photo Elis Morris is receiving a medal.
The tournament was really well organized and flowed smoothly thanks to the efforts of Alfonso Gomez and Ophira Bergman of the AAU. They had the volunteers, referees and students all in place. There were some really excellent students from the region competing, some of whom already have been to the nationals and won medals there.
Students from LA and Riverside also joined in. The PMA team consisted of Ethan Diep, Eli Morris, Elias Malouf, David Chell and Michael Kaminski who won the black belt division in short weapons, the tonfa. Mr. Chell and Mr. Morris also won a medal in their divisions in kata. Acting as coaches were Yuri Gorokhov and Heather Graves. Our young students performed very well in this first event of the tournament season and are looking forward to our next outside event on March 11th in Lynwood CA up in the LA region.
Mr. Kaminski also took part in the refereeing of the tournament. Master Devine pointed out that developing a solid team of performers usually takes two years and about eight tournaments to develop the necessary expertise. PMA does not focus much on tournaments since we view the philosophy and self defenses aspect more important. Nevertheless, competing in tournaments can be very helpful to progress, athleticism and conditioning, and seeing how the rest of the martial arts world share what we do.
We are planning to take a team of about 12 to the Lynwood tournament on March 11th. PMA always is well respected by other schools at these tournaments. At this tournament Master Devine was singled out and introduced to the audience and competitors by recognizing his pioneering efforts in developing the AAU karate here in San Diego.