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Lahaina karate students win gold medals at fall tournament

By Staff | Sep 22, 2016

Christopher “The Dragon” Salem (left) and Jacob Akebono Arakawa with their Outstanding Male Competitor and Outstanding Spirit Awards following the completion of the tournament held on Sept. 10-11 at the Kahului Elementary School cafeteria.

LAHAINA – The Lahaina Dojo of the Japan Karate Shotokai had another outstanding performance at the annual Maui Karate Association Invitational Fall Tournament held over the Sept. 10-11 weekend in the Kahului School cafeteria.

The event, sponsored by MKA – a Japan Karate Association affiliate – featured competitors from the Kahului-based club, JKA Hawaii students representing Oahu, and Lahaina Dojo members in the traditional martial arts tournament format.

The competition included matches in kata (forms) and kumite, the sparring aspect of the Shotokan style, divided into age and rank categories.

Leading the way for the West Side club were Shodans (first-degree black belts) Christopher “The Dragon” Salem and Jacob Akebono Arakawa, as Lahaina totaled 42 medal-winning efforts.

Salem, with first place performances in both kata and kumite, was also recognized as the tournament’s Outstanding Male Competitor.

Arakawa won a gold medal in forms and a bronze in sparring. He was also honored with the Outstanding Spirit Award as he competed in the day’s featured black belt kata and kumite events.

Kieren Murphy was also a double gold medal winner, and he was joined by fellow Lahaina Dojo youth members Kona Day, Josiah Baybayan, Keanu Medo, Edgar Ortiz, Emilio Olea, Jena Baybayan, Keliikoa Tihada, Sacha Salem, Andrea Alvarado Cruz, Jason Monnett, Xavier Puckett, Dania Oleiwan and Samantha Monnett on the medal-winning podium. Also placing in their events for the Lahaina Dojo were youth members Hanan Oleiwan, Jay Abreu Drazkowski, Aleksander Olvera Lucas, Vince Apilado and Afnan Oleiwan.

In the adult divisions, Roman Czerwinski took second place in the black belt kumite competition, and Gina Parola won silver medals in both kata and kumite. She defeated husband Clint Parola in both events, as he settled for bronze awards for their family trophy case.

Lahaina Dojo members and families expressed their sincere appreciation to MKA Chief Instructor Deron Furukawa and his staff, including Ted Kesaji, Ricky Supnet, Kit Zulueta and Stephanie Metzler, for their organization and presentation of the tournament.

Also recognized were JKA Hawaii Chief Instructor Hiro Maeda and assistants Matt Arakawa and Donn Natori for their leadership and officiating expertise for the tournament.

All three clubs will now look forward to upcoming Dan and Kyu (color belt grades) examinations. They will also begin plans for the JKA Hawaii Spring Tournament that takes place In April of next year.