Karate Tournament draws competitors of all ages

27th annual Midwestern Open Karate Tournament
Karate Tournament draws competitors of all ages
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A martial arts tournament brought people of all ages and walks of life together.

Liliana Diaz has been practicing Wushu — a form of traditional Chinese martial arts — for a few years now.

Liliana Diaz, Broken Arrow, Okla. resident:”I just love learning it. It’s so cool, there’s so many different weapons and things you can learn how to do, and it’s really fun. Also I just love the people.. they’re so nice.”

She’s been learning the practice at the Midwest Wushu Chinese Martial Arts Center in Jay, Oklahoma.. and hopes more people will pick up the form.

Diaz:”It’s not really popular around this area. It’s more of an older style.. if you go to more populated areas you’ll find more of it, but yeah we’re starting it up.. trying to get it bigger.”

Wushu was just one of many different martial arts styles on display at the 27-annual Midwestern Open Karate Tournament in Joplin.

Jim Riggs, Dir., Southwest Association of Tournaments:”They’re competing in all sorts of different events.. creative music extreme forms and weapons forms, and tradition forms and weapons forms and we do have a very wide range of schools that have come in from the four states, and it’s just been a great turnout.”

And everyone, no matter the age, says it’s about more than just winning trophies. It’s about growing as a person and member of a larger community.

Stephanie Sanders, Neosho resident:”A couple of [my kids] were quite shy and had trouble just being in front of people, and communicating and just.. they needed help with their self confidence and it really has helped them grow, and now they can stand out on these mats in front of people and be fearful and they can look people in the eye.. they’ve really grown.”

Riggs:”It helps them learn good attitudes towards self defense and when it’s necessary and when it’s not, and you learn not only a set of skills, but also a set of discipline, mental discipline and physical discipline, as you continue to advance.”

It’s because of that, and all the fun she has, that Diaz hopes more people will continue to join the martial arts community.

Diaz:”I just hope that other people will see it and they’ll want to join what we do because it’s really awesome.”

Students from more than 20 different martial arts schools attended the tournament.