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Paul Herbert 5th Dan
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2006 ISKF US National Championships
By Susan Jones


The 28th Annual International Shotokan Karate Federation/US National Championship and Collegiate Tournament was held in Anchorage, Alaska, on September 2-3, 2006. The 28th Annual ISKF/US National Championships were originally scheduled to be held in New Orleans, Louisiana in November 2005. Hurricane

Katrina forced the cancellation of the tournament in New Orleans. As Master Okazaki said in his letter of welcome, “Our Martial Arts training teaches us not only punching and kicking, but also to respect nature. As we have no control over nature, we must accept what happens and do what needs to be done to handle unexpected challenges. This was never so evident than how our ISKF/US members came together to assist our family in the Southern Region. Nature dealt them a difficult task, and with the aid of their ISKF/US family, they are able to begin rebuilding their lives and begin training again. Our Dojo Kun and training teaches us to be ready not only for battle, but also to help one another and be good martial artists.”

Alaska hosted 220 competitors from across the nation in divisions from youth through the senior level, beginning through black belt rank. Tournament officials included:

  • Chairman: Teruyuki Okazaki, ISKF Chief Instructor
  • President: The Honorable Paul Ribner, 1st Judicial District, PA (Ret.)
  • Vice Presidents: Everett King and Lance Astrella
  • Chief Arbitrator: Takayuki Mikami, Chief Instructor, ISKF Southern Region
  • Chief Judge: Yutaka Yaguchi, Chief Instructor, ISKF Mountain Region
  • Vice Chief Arbitrator: Shojiro Koyama, Chief Instructor, ISKF Western States Region
  • Vice Chief Judge: Shigeru Takashina, Chief Instructor, ISKF South Atlantic Region

The ISKF/US National Championships is the qualifier for the Pan American Championships to be held in Venezuela and the 11th Funakoshi Gichin Cup World Karate-do Championship Tournament. Overall Best Competitors for females was Amber Nakazawa, Alaska Region and for males Dimitri Papadopoulos, Southern Region. This was the first time an Alaska female competitor took the Overall Best Competitor. Ms. Nakazawa has just completed her BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) from the University of Alaska and a few days before the competition acquired her first job as a nurse for the Alaska Native Hospital. “This was a great little weekend,” said Ms Nakazawa. She took first place in both Collegiate and Womens’ Black Belt Kata and Second Place in Collegiate Kumite. Mr. Papadopoulos, from Tulane University in New Orleans, has taken the Men’s Kumite Championship in 2006 and 2004 and the Collegiate Championship in Kumite in 2001, 2002 and 2003 (along with the Kata Championship). Both competitors were also on kata and kumite teams for their Regions.

There were many other firsts for Alaska competitors, the women’s kumite team took second place, Charles Holness took first in Senior Men’s Kata and the Senior Kata Team took first place. Many of the youth placed in their divisions as well.

Youth and staying youthful through the practice of martial arts was a theme of this year’s competition. The Opening Ceremonies included a Demonstration from a local elementary school, Sand Lake, Tomdachi Daiko, a Japanese Taiko Drumming and a youthful Master Koyama from Western States Region conducted a demonstration of self defense (for a slideshow of the demo photos, please see links below).

Alaska was especially honored to hold the 28th Annual ISKF/US National Championship, welcoming competitors from across the nation to the northern most US Region and to welcome our family from Regions effected by the devastation of last summers storms to a wonderful tournament.

Links for the tournament can be found at the website below.