KAHULUI - For the second time in three years, Lahaina Dojo karate athlete Maybell Benito was voted the "Most Outstanding Female Competitor" at the 2013 Japan Karate Association Fall Tournament held recently at Kahului Elementary School.
Xander Domingo, also from the Lahaina Dojo, won the inaugural Spirit Award at the event, and nine-year-old DJ Metzler of the Maui Karate Association won the "Outstanding Male Competitor" award.
Fifteen-year-old Benito, a Lahainaluna High School sophomore, has been practicing karate for three years. Domingo, 8, a third-grader at Princess Nahi'ena'ena Elementary School, has two years of training under his green belt.
Xander Domingo won the Outstanding Spirit award, and Maybell Benito won Outstanding Female Competitor honors for the second time in three years at the 2013 Japan Karate Association Fall Tournament.
Benito took first place in both kata (forms) and kumite (sparring), while Domingo was recognized by tournament officials as the competitor who most exemplified "the true spirit of karate and sportsmanship."
Japan Karate Association Hawaii Chief Instructor Hiro Maeda began the tournament with an inspirational speech. He was followed by Kahului District County Councilman Don Guzman, who led the Oath of Sportsmanship with the group, adding, "The success of the children is highly dependent on how much encouragement and support is given to them by their parents."
The panel of official judges for the tournament included Sensei Hiro Maeda and Sensei Bob Spear of Oahu, Lahaina Dojo Chief Instructor Walter Chihara, and tournament host officials from MKA led by Chief Instructor Sensei Deron Furukawa, Sensei Ted Kesaji, Sensei Ricky Supnet, Senpai Stephanie Metzler and Senpai Kit Zulueta.
Other participants from the Lahaina Dojo included instructor Senpai Glen Delatori, who won the gold medal in adult advanced kata for the second consecutive year; Randy Ginoza, who placed second in kata; Roman Czerwinski, who placed second in kumite; Michael Doan, who finished first in kata and third in kumite; Adrian Benito, who took first in kumite and second in kata; Rocio Cano Cruz, who placed second in kata and third in kumite; Yuna Lee, who placed first in kumite and second in kata; and Andrea Alvarado Cruz, who came in third place in both kata and kumite.
In the youth intermediate competition, Xander Domingo finished second in kumite and third in kata; Kaelan Potter took third in kata; Kai Shively placed first in kata and third in kumite; Quentin Starbuck finished second in kata and first in kumite; Inoka Balinbin finished second in kumite and third in kata; Shaun Kana placed third in kata and fourth in kumite; and Kaio'o Aquino placed third in kumite and fourth in kata.