WINSTON-SALEM — The Sidekick Karate Dojo of Mount Airy has placed among the top three schools in the State Amateur Athletic Union Karate Tournament for the third consecutive year.
The school swept all medals in the novice division with many participants in kumite and kata winning multiple medals. The state event was held in Winston-Salem this year. Sensei Emad Aly appears to enjoy seeing his students’ progress validated in tournament competition but insists this does not detract from the purpose of his school.
The school first earned top three AAU honors in 2011. Its performance this year qualifies the entire school to participate in the May 11 Super Regional Tournament in Goldsboro. Aly explained that winners in the regional will advance to the nationals set for June 26 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Winners of the nationals advance to the Junior Olympic level.
“We are not focused only on winning the big championships,” said Aly. “It is also important for students to be good citizens and do well in school. We are building the kids up to have a good life. Practice so all you can do is win gold is vain. I firmly believe in the power of sports to take children’s attention off of crazy things.”
Aly did admit he has enjoyed seeing his students get recognized in competitions because of their efforts. He said many of the AAU announcers call Sidekick Karate students by name at tournaments.
“I am so proud of how hard these kids have worked and it shows when you see how many of them won medals in both the form (kata) and kumite (combat) divisions,” said Aly. “We were the large group there this year. I work hard as well, but my payback is seeing these kids become good champions, do well in school and have good behavior. That’s all I need. What more could you want in life?”
Aly said he has seen the students gain more confidence and poise in tournament competition after each year.
“This year the medals were proof kids were much more confident,” said Aly. “They have earned their recognition and they know they have the real power inside of them.”
He said the school was started in Mount Airy on Oct. 27, 2009, and its official name is Sidekick Karate Black Belt School of Discipline. The school specializes in the Shotokan form of karate and Aly is a fifth-degree black belt. He is also a world champion in Shotokan karate and is a certified karate instructor with 17 years of teaching experience.
Aly said the school’s success has come in part by its “Raise Them Right” program. He said benefits of this program and Shotokan include discipline, self-defense, self-esteem, responsibility, anger control and stress relief, coordination, responsibility and even helps students get better grades.
The school teaches a variety of ages starting with the Little Kickers class for ages 3-4 and continues with an adult and teen class for ages 14 years and older. The school also offers a women’s fitness, kickboxing and self-defense class.
Students who earned gold medals in the state tournament include Ashlee Coad, Jackson Smith, Hudson Collins, Jessi Delacruz, Owen McMillian, Ian Nester, Kobe Nester, Alex Hege, Joshua Taylor, Mowpheth Datlton and Briana Coad. Silver medalists included Ryley Martin, Colton Marion, Ryan Swanson, Ashlee coad, Saul Moran, Benjamin Delacruz, Joshua Taylor, Alex Hege and Justin Landry.
Bronze medalists included Jaden Taylor, John Juno, Ryley Martin, Colton Marion, Ryan Swanson, Owen McMillian and Ian Nester. Those who received the award of merit were Hunter Bombe, Nathan Narehood, Seth Beasley, Isaac Griffin and James Plumback. Aly said students Ryan Swanson, Ashlee Coad, Ryley Martin and Colton Marion swept the novice division earning all medals in that division.
Reach David Broyles at email@example.com or 719-1952.