Sports karate

MIT wins spring 2017 International Karate Shotokan Cup

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MIT Shotokan Karate club celebrates their great performance this past weekend in the first ever Harvard-MIT Shotokan cup

This past weekend on Saturday, Apr. 22, the MIT and Harvard Shotokan Karate clubs hosted the first Harvard-MIT Shotokan Cup at the Malkin Athletic Center on Harvard University campus. The tournament drew participants from MIT, Harvard, BU, Tufts, UMass Dartmouth, Cornell, UConn, and the University of Toronto. The tournament included both kata (forms) and kumite (sparring), with skill levels of beginners, intermediate, and advanced divisions.

The MIT Shotokan Karate club had a consistently strong performance across many of the divisions and events. The team had members competing in team kata, team kumite, individual kata, and individual kumite among the beginner, intermediate, and advanced skill divisions. Points were accumulated from each division to contribute to the final score for each college, and MIT was able to secure a win. The team had been training hard throughout the semester to develop not only its advanced members, but also the students with only a few months of Karate experience. In fact, many of the points that helped secure the MIT team win came from students who participated and scored with just a month of Karate training.

Anuhya Vajapeyajula ’18 won first place in white belt kata, and Giuseppe Romano won second place in white belt kata and white belt kumite, Saurabh Gandhi G won third place in beginner kata and beginner kumite, and Anselmo Cassiano won third place in intermediate kumite. For the black belt division, the black belt women of MIT took top three in kata, with Kaymie Shiozawa ’19 in first, Prianka Bhatia ’17 in second, and Avril Kenney ’11 in third. Shiozawa and Kenney also scored secondand thirdin their kumite division. Phil Ferguson G fought his way to an impressive second place in the male black belt division for kumite.

Most impressive was their performance in the black belt division. The team of Ferguson, Bhatia, and Kenney won first place for MIT in the team kumite, and the team of Shiozawa, Bhatia, and Cassiano won first place for MIT in team kata, performing Empi (‘Flying Swallow’). The biggest moment of pride was witnessing the revamped passion for the study of Shotokan Karate in the New England area colleges and beyond. There will be a second, larger installment of the Harvard-MIT ShotoCup in the fall of 2017. Currently, the MIT Shotokan Karate club practices three days a week throughout the semester, IAP, and also over the summer. Beyond this ShotoCup tournament, the MIT Karate club will also be joining the Japan Technical College karate tournament, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year in late November.

Vazrik Chiloyan an instructor and member of the Shotokan Karate club at MIT.