Eight Fort Bend ISD students helped form a 16-member athletic team that competed at the 2017 Texas National State Karate Championship and Qualifier in May, with individual members placing in the top three positions of their divisions. They were among 290 athletes from throughout the state to enter the competition, regarded as the largest and most prestigious karate tournament in Texas.

The FBISD athletes were among those, age 4-60, to compete in various divisions of Kata (the essence and foundation of karate that focuses on form), Kumite (face-to-face combat that incorporates attack and defense techniques) and Kobudo (the weapon systems of Martial Arts).

FBISD students earning top awards were:

  • Charlize Lopez, 5th grade, Settlers Way Elementary (Gold, Kata and Kobudo Kata)
  • Tyler Lopez, 1st grade, Sullivan Elementary (Gold, Kata and Kobudo)
  • Nalika Nana, 2nd grade, Oyster Creek Elementary (Gold, Kata and Kumite)
  • James Goodman, Jr., 5th grade, Palmer Elementary (Gold, Kata; Bronze, Kobudo and Kumite)
  • Elaina Lan, 8th grade, Quail Valley Middle School (Silver, Kata)
  • Jayden Goodman, 3rd grade, Palmer Elementary (Silver, Kobudo; Bronze, Kata)
  • Akira Santoso, 4th grade, Commonwealth Elementary (Silver, Kata; Bronze, Kumite)
  • Kaito Sengoku, 4th grade, Austin Parkway Elementary (Bronze, Kumite and Kobudo)

Other team members to receive awards include: Devashish Akhare (Bronze, Kumite), Christina Korman, (Gold, Kobudo; Silver, Kata); Rylan Garza (Gold, Kobudo; Bronze, Kata), Sensei Andres Sanabria (Gold, Kumite; Bronze, Kata), Sensei Cassie Pham-Korman (Gold, Kata and Kobudo), Sensei Rommel Gargoles (Silver, Kata; Bronze, Kobudo) and Sensei TJ Lopez (Gold, Kata). Also competing was Sensei Clarissa Villanueva.

The winners of the competition, all of whom are aspiring Olympians, will represent Texas at the 2017 USA National Championships and Team Trials, to be held July 19-23 in Greenville, South Carolina. With karate being one of the five new sports confirmed for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, these winners are all aspiring to compete as U.S. Olympians at the event.

All of the athletes mentioned trained at the Traditional Karate Center under the instruction of Sensei Ramon Veras (Chief Instructor), Sensei Nizar Albagdadi (Senior Instructor), Sensei Nathan Work (Senior Instructor), Sensei Cassie Korman, Sensei Pedro Gutierrez and Sensei Andres Sanabria.

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