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Martial Arts Club kicks it at local tournament

Amber Schilling , Life Editor
May 6, 2014
Filed under Life

Members of UW-Green Bay’s Phoenix Martial Arts Club competed in Harris’ Karate Tournament of Champions on May 4.

Participants and spectators of all ages gathered from around the state at the Meadows Conference Center in Green Bay to compete in different events and to support their schools and fellow competitors.

Martial artists competed in  team events in sparring, weapon forms, open-hand forms and individual events in board breaking, weapon forms, open-hand forms and sparring.

Seven Phoenix Martial Arts Club members participated in the tournament. Mariah Weibel, senior human biology major, was one of them. She is a purple belt in karate and participated in two events, team sparring and weapon form.

“Tournaments are a lot of fun,” Weibel said. “You get to see how good your skills actually are with new competition. Then you can see what you can work on to get better.”

Lucas Dunks, senior computer science major, is a brown belt in karate and competed in team and individual sparring.

“Tournaments really help you improve,” Dunks said. “You get to compare yourself to people outside your own school. Otherwise you only practice with the same people all the time.”

Sparring is Dunks’ and Weibel’s favorite event to compete in. It’s fast paced and tests participants on their technique and timing. They also experience what it’s like to use their skills in a real fight. Each match is one-on-one and is two minutes long.

Fighters get points for punches or kicks landed on the opponent in legal areas. Punches are worth one point and kicks are worth two. The winner is determined by the competitor who has the most points after two minutes, or if one fighter earns a five-point advantage before the time is up.

The difference between individual and team sparring is that the teams have a combined score of all members. The final score after all the matches between the teams determines the winner.

Open-hand forms are choreographed, pre-practiced attacking and blocking patterns that focus on technique, flexibility and stances. Different martial arts use forms to improve these aspects. In tournaments, participants are judged on how well they execute their form.

Weapon forms are similar to open-hand forms, in that they include attacks and blocks, but use a weapon in the whole performance. These weapons include bo staff, sai, kama, nunchucks, tonfa and eskrima sticks. Some schools also have specific forms using katanas.

Members of the martial arts club are encouraged to go to tournaments. There are several tournaments in the state that UWGB students participate in.

Weibel won first in her weapon form and second in team sparring, and Dunks got first in team sparring and third for individual sparring.

The Phoenix Martial Arts Club meets in the Kress Events Center Monday and Wednesday at 8 p.m. Both experienced and inexperienced students are welcome to practice martial arts. This year, Monday meetings are for sparring practice and Wednesday meetings are for general practice.

Weibel has been involved with the club for four years.

“It’s a good experience for people to learn how to defend themselves and to get good exercise,” Weibel said.

Dunks has been involved with the org for three years.

“It’s a great time. You make a lot of friends and have fun.”

Students interested in the martial arts club should contact Weibel at weibmn02@uwgb.edu for more information.

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