When the PMA is present at many of the big open tournaments, we are often refreshingly referred to as the ‘tree people’ because our crest has the pine tree and we are always unique in our good protocol and courtesy and performances.
PMA just finished the two final events of the season. One was the national AAU championships in Raleigh, NC. Our trio spent a week there with Margaret entering seven different black belt events and coming away with several silver medals and other good performances. There were close to thirty top female athletes competing. The highlight though was the work of her, Heather Graves and Michael Kaminski doing the coaching clinics and earning high certificate ranks in the professional referees clinics. They all spent long days refereeing with Mr. Kaminski gaining an A level and running some of the top rings in black belt competition. In addition to this, the trio spent many hours behind the scenes helping organizers set up minute things such as tables, ribbons, signs and what ever it takes to present a top venue for 1500 competitors.
The other major event was the first ever West Coast AAU junior Olympics for the 18 and under top performers. There were lots of top juniors from all over California who gathered in Whittier for the event. Our team did very well and took numerous medals as brown belts. They did not win the gold but that is for next time. This young team has a great competition future ahead of them next season if they continue with their enthusiasm and effort. Sincere thanks to Michael Kaminski, Heather Graves and Margaret Izotov for the coaching at the event and also for literally being so important in running the tournament and refereeing. It is nice for me to see you getting this recognition from the top AAU officials. Team members this year are Elias Malouf, Eli Morris, David Chell, Ethan Diep, Rohan Shinkre and Aarya Mishra.
Master Devine attended this tournament and was pleased with the efficiency of the event and the high caliber of the students performing. Times have changed over the years and the sparring was very run well and controlled. Safety and non contact were on the minds of the referees which was good to see. Mr. Alfonso Gomez of San Diego was the chief director of the event that was well attended by some top teachers from the karate community. James Tawatao came all the way from Las Vegas in support. Sensei Cigar was the host sponsor for this event.