Shudokan Students head to Wado-Kai World Cup

Local Karate Students Head to World Cup - Longmont Times-Call, 7/31/2010

By Magdalena Wegrzyn
© 2010 Longmont Times-Call

Gus Brockmann — training at Wado-Kai Shudokan Karate, 325 Main St., in Longmont — is one of 10 who will represent the United States in the Wado-Kai World Cup in Nagoya, Japan. Photo by Joshua Buck, Longmont Times-CallGus Brockmann — training at Wado-Kai Shudokan Karate, 325 Main St., in Longmont — is one of 10 who will represent the United States in the Wado-Kai World Cup in Nagoya, Japan. Photo by Joshua Buck, Longmont Times-CallLONGMONT — At karate practice, Gus Brockmann maintains steely concentration, slicing through martial arts moves with razor precision.

But despite his focus, the 33-year-old Longmont resident has humble goals for his international debut in a few weeks.

"I’d like to win a couple fights, but more so I can get the experience of fighting a couple times," he said.

Brockmann is one of four karate students from Longmont’s Wado-Kai Shudokan Karate who will compete in the Wado-Kai World Cup in Nagoya, Japan. Athletes from 49 countries are scheduled to compete Aug. 14-15 at the World Cup, according to the tournament website.

Brockmann and Westminster resident Gabe Ramberg, 29 — who also trains at the Longmont studio — earned spots on the seven-member U.S. team during the national trials this April in Denver. The U.S. team includes two members from Denver studios and three from Arizona.

Each studio that offers wado karate — a style that stresses harmony and fluid, natural movements — also can send two high school-age representatives to the World Cup. Sensei Hiroyuki Tanabe, 56, who opened Wado-Kai Shudokan Karate in 1988, chose Rachel Van Court, 17, and Jesse Mooney, 14, to represent Longmont internationally.

"I hope they have a good experience, meet people from other cultures and enjoy themselves," said Tanabe, who is from Chiba, Japan.

At the World Cup, judges evaluate athletes on sparring and a series of martial arts movements called kata. There are many kata routines, all based on ancient traditions.

Van Court, who will be a senior at Niwot High School, said she’s trying not to let her nerves ruin the kushanku kata routine she has perfected.

"I would like to not completely disgrace the dojo," she said. "Basically, I want to do well and not totally mess everything up."

While Van Court said she is looking forward to the kata, Mooney said he’s ready to spar.

The Niwot High School freshman said he’s usually nervous days before a fight, but on competition day, he’s ready.

"My dad says sparring is what separates the pretty guys from the good guys," said Mooney, who also wrestles.

Ramberg competed in the 2005 World Cup and made it to the quarterfinals. This year, he said, he’d like to go further, but he is just happy for the experience.

In Japan, a panel will evaluate Ramberg and Brockmann to determine if the men can advance to third-degree black belts.

That guidepost would reaffirm why Brockmann says he loves the sport.

"If I’ve had a really good day, it’s fun to go and be with my friends," he said. "If I’ve had a really bad day, by the end of karate class, I forget my day."