by Mark Cramer 

Houston, Texas – The USA-NKF National Championships and Team Trials were held here on July 18 – 20 to select our national champions for all divisions and to select the USA Team for the Pan-American (PKF) and World (WKF) events. Four members of the GKK Sport Karate-do Team competed in these events which were sponsored by the US Olympic Committee’s National Governing Body for karate-do.

Alec Vaughn competed in the 11 year old male (brown belt) intermediate division in both kata and kumite. There were thirty boys in the division and Alec did a commendable job. In kata he placed 8th, and in kumite he placed 5th, winning four matches and losing two.

David Hale competed in the Team Trial kata division. He preformed a very good Seipai but lost a tough match to the bronze medalist. This was a very competitive division since the USA representative to the World Championships was selected from this division.

John Barnes competed in the male 50 year old (black belt) advanced division. He performed an excellent Suparinpai and won the gold medal. Two weeks ago, he won the silver medal at the Canadian National Championships in New Brunswick.

Mark Cramer entered four events in the advanced divisions and medaled in three of them. He won the gold medal in male 55 year old kata, the silver medal in male 35 year old long weapons, and the bronze medal in male 35 year old short weapons. He also placed 5th in male 18 to 34 Okinawan kata. Mr. Cramer also served as a referee in the kumite events.

The WKF World Championships will be held in Tokyo, Japan this November 13 – 16, and the USA Team Trials were held to select which individuals would represent the USA in this prestigious and competitive event. The finals for the WKF divisions were fantastic. First the audience was entertained and energized with a 30 minute Japanese drum performance; then came the kata events. Eimi Kurita won 5 to 0 with a very nice Chatanyara Kusanku. Clay Morton won a 3 to 2 decision. His Gogushiho Dai was much more technically clean than the more aesthetically pleasing Chatanyara Kusanku of William Bradford.

Kata was followed by kumite. All of the matches were very close and extremely exciting. The results are as follows:

Men's Kumite;  Billy Finegan + 80 kg; John Fonseca - 80 kg; Adam Older-75 kg; Brian Mertel -70 kg; George Kotaka -65 kg; Brian Ramrup -60 kg; John Fonseca - Open Weight

Female Kumite;  Elisa Au Fonseca +60 kg; Cheryl Murphy -60 kg; Ashley Hill-53 kg; Elisa Au Fonseca - Open Weight