James Lee’s Karate cleans up at USKA Nationals
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
James Lee’s Karate students were a common sight at the recent United States Karate Alliance Nationals.
Between the school’s two studios in Glenwood Springs and Eagle, some 68 students qualified for the March 29-April 1 event, which was held in Albuquerque, N.M.
And they weren’t just happy to be there.
Thirteen national championships and a slew of high finishes made for a highly successful weekend.
Brian Radtke, Tamara Radtke, Logan Radtke and Gabe Hale took first place in sparring.
Brandon Boettcher, Chris Hale, Ruby Baca, Logan Radtke, Tamara Radtke and Walt Porter were all golden in kata (forms).
Brian Radtke and Logan Radtke were first in weapons, and Gabe Hale won the chambara (padded weapons) championship.
Mix in a number of top-four finishes and Jeff Kennedy, sensei and head instructor of the James Lee school in Glenwood Springs, couldn’t be much happier.
“What really stood out to me was the way the kids were focused,” he said. “There is a lot of pressure, especially during kata. They way they got up there in front of everybody was amazing. They got one shot to do forms, in front of the judges, and then 37 other kids do it. The way they focused and fought through the nerves was awesome.”
And the competition was fierce.
“There were martial artists from all over the country,” Kennedy said.
One four-person family – the Radtkes – took home nine trophies between them.
Full-family participation is a common thing at James Lee’s Karate, Kennedy said.
“It’s always a cool thing when that happens,” he said. “Usually, the kids join the school and the parents sit here for a year and watch the kids and think, ‘I can do this.’ And then they end up joining the class.”
To qualify for nationals, competitors had to place in the top four at a qualifying tournament.
James Lee’s Karate will be hosting a USKA tournament later this month at Sopris Elementary School in Glenwood. Spectators are welcome for the April 28 event, and the action begins at 10 a.m.
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