Karate Club stays ‘locked in’ as they become repeat champs

Hunter O. LyleSports Editor

In his fourth and final year as a key part of the Karate Club, senior business administration major Angel Diaz, was able to claim a tournament victory at Boston University, sealing back-to-back championship wins in his final two years.

Diaz, who holds the title of a black belt, said his excitement and talent for karate started at a young age, training with his family, who all practice the martial art sport as well.

“I first started, honestly, when I was five years old. I was doing [karate] in a parking lot with my father,” said Diaz. “I started [karate] because I used to watch my father practice in the parking lot, so one day I asked him if I could be out there with him and one thing led to another.”

As captain of the karate club, which currently boasts five members and meets every Wednesday and Thursday from 6:30 to 8:30 in the Pelz Gymnasium, Diaz said he looks to lead and support his team in anyway necessary.

“For captain, it comes down to pretty much everything,” said Diaz. “It could be, as far as managing the other members, which could be just as simple just making sure that everyone is okay. The other role that comes along with being a captain is just being that support for everybody.”

Diaz also said that being captain does not mean being the most valuable player on the team.

“People think being captain is you have to be the best player on the team, you have to be the one that’s doing all the glory,” said Diaz. “I don’t see it that way. I see it as it really is that simply, what can you bring to the team outside of the club, and that’s the family atmosphere, just making sure everyone’s okay.”

The club has been in existence for a long time, stretching back over 15 years, and competes with schools across New England, including state rival Central Connecticut State University. At each tournament, Diaz said there are roughly more than ten schools from all over, such as Rutgers, Army West Point, Boston University, and MIT.

At each event, teams contend in two competitions: team fighting and team Kata. When competing for the Kata, or forms, both teams show synchronized forms and get judged accordingly. For fighting competitions, both teams facing off choose five of their own members and match up against the opposition however they want.

While Southern’s karate club typically only attends tournaments during the spring semester, the club is active year-round, using the rest of the year as conditioning.

“Usually we have a lot of tournaments in just the spring semester, so we like to use the fall semester to [train].” said Diaz. “Everyone’s been away, they’ve been doing their thing, so we use the fall semester to just work out the kinks. Get back to the basics.”

Mahasa Jenkins, a senior economics major and the acting secretary and treasurer of the karate club, joined the club during his sophomore year after seeing an event in the Student Center.

“There was an event in the ballroom, and it was just the kind of club for me,” said Jenkins. “One of the people who was in the karate club at the time, I actually trained with at my old karate school. So, they asked me to come by and join, and I did.”

Jenkins said that joining the karate club helps members prosper.

“Some benefits, I would say is, discipline,” said Jenkins. “We try to teach our students and our members discipline and just hard work in general.”

The karate club is open to any and all newcomers, regardless of age or skill level.

Diaz said as long as they are focused, they are welcome.

“We have a little motto on our team, it’s ‘You got to be locked in’,” said Diaz. “When we’re in practice, we’re always screaming, ‘lock in, lock in, it’s time to lock in,’ and that’s just to remind us [that] we have a goal here, and that goal is to win championships. That’s always what it’s about. We have fun, but we always say it’s fun to win.”

Photo Credit: Abigail Velez 

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