Local Karate club makes impact in national tourney
by Andy Collier
Nov 07, 2013 | 685 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Stephen Davenport, Chief Instructor of the Cleveland Shotokan Karate Club, couldn’t be any prouder of his group.

Eight members of the Cleveland Shotokan Karate Club fought in the 2013 Japan Karate Association American Federation National and Collegiate Tournament at New Orleans, La. Saturday. All total the squad brought home five gold medals, seven silver medals and two bronze medals for a total of 14 total medals.

Davenport has had his fighters compete in state and regional tournament, but this is the biggest event for the karate club.

“For the first time, I’ve actually taken a group to a larger tournament,” Davenport said. “It was a first experience for me as an instructor. It shows them the quality of what they’re learning and they also get to meet people that have the drive and the desire for the same thing that they do. They one thing brought us all together and that’s the martial arts.”

For Cleveland Shotokan Karate Club, Joseph Patridge, 16, earned double-gold as he finished first in fighting and first in forms. Johnson Okiroji, 12, and Crusher Simpson, 11, each finished first in fighting and second in forms, while Miracle Okiroji, 8, placed first in forms and second in fighting. Lucas Braswell, 17, brought home double-silver by finishing second in fighting and second in forms, while Stephen Davenport, 5, and Allex Okiroji, 15, each brought home silver and bronze medals by finishing second in fighting and third in forms. Joey Patridge, 42, competed in the senior division for the Cleveland Shotokan Karate Club.

The martial arts fighters from Cleveland got to show their skills in front people from all over the world and compete against people from different parts of the country.

“We had people visit from Great Britain visit,” Davenport said. “We had a couple of people from Japan competing. In their (Cleveland’s) division, there were people from North California, Miami — the big clubs that have large numbers. You had a lot of people that couldn’t even speak English that they competed with and they had real strong competition.”

Davenport was proud of his competitors and said the accomplishments are a great example of the hard work they put in to martial arts.

“I’m happy for them to see the fruits of their labor,” Davenport said. “I honestly feel blessed to have good strong students that can tolerate me as an instructor because I’m not easy and not quit.”