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Ippon Karate Dojo takes home 28 medals from provincial tournament

“Our mentality is to try to push people as far as they can go, and create a community of success and goal-setting so that people can really perform.”
Athletes from Cochrane's Ippon Karate Dojo took home several pieces of hardware from the Karate Alberta Provincial Tournament that took place earlier this year.

Martial artists from Cochrane’s Ippon Karate Dojo proved their skills are top notch, after competing in the Karate Alberta Provincial Championships in Calgary earlier this spring, and bringing home 28 medals.

Chief instructor of Ippon Karate Dojo, Adam Wackershauser, said the 13 local athletes who went to compete in the provincial meet in April took home 13 gold medals, 10 silver medals, and five bronze medals.

“Out of all the clubs in Alberta, we were number one, [from] this little Cochrane town,” Wackershauser said. “Also, they tracked the top 10 athletes in the province, and six out of the 10 were from our club, and the top three tied for first place were all from our club.”

The competing athletes included Zac Raymond, Kyla Fritz, Owen Cousine, Max Squires, Karna Komame, Indiana Carlyle-Byford, Trinity Yaremichuk, Piper Keegan, Vince Thottungal, Lina Komame, Cole Berry, and Yuki McNeil.

The team also included co-head instructor, Hidemi Uchiage, and Kata coach, Ervin Tong.

“Everyone performed well,” Wackershauser said.  “We had people who beat national champions and national team members, so we had people perform well, and [we] had such an improvement over last year.”

From first running his dojo out of the basement of the Cochrane Legion nearly 18 years ago and leading them to where they are now, Wackershauser said his experience competing at the provincial and national level helped his dojo secure championships over the years, while continually attracting new club members.

“Right now, we have one of our largest groups we’ve ever produced,” he said. “Half our dojo’s from Cochrane, the other half are people who represent Cochrane, but they travel from Calgary and Airdrie.”

Wackershauser said prefers to do things a little differently than other dojos when it comes to having his students gain as much experience as possible. Whether it is a local event or something bigger, he said experience in competition is the best way to learn.

“This season so far, I had three of my athletes compete at the West Coast Open which is in Seattle, Washington,” he said. “You can go to Turkey, we have them go to Venice, Italy, Newfoundland, Richmond, Vancouver, then we had provincials.”

Alongside heading to various far-flung destinations to compete, Ippon also hosted its own tournament earlier this month, which saw various competitors come to Cochrane from across the province, alongside one competitor from Ontario.

“I just want them to get as much time on the mat as possible,” Wackershauser said. “So that’s just my kind of philosophy outside of training. We want them to get as many matches in a tournament as possible before nationals.”

Boasting an elite team of competitors, Wackershauser said that although he hopes to see more of his students from Ippon compete at the national level, he said his true passion as a coach is to take people as far as they can go in karate, regardless of who they are and where they started in the sport.

“Our mentality is to try to push people as far as they can go, and create a community of success and goal-setting so that people can really perform,” he said.

With provincials under their belts, Wackershauser said Ippon plans to take to the national stage this summer at the 2023 Karate Canada Tournament. That tournament will be held in Laval, Quebec from July 7 to 9.

Daniel Gonzalez

About the Author: Daniel Gonzalez

Daniel Gonzalez joined the Cochrane Eagle in 2022. He is a graduate of the Mount Royal University Journalism program. He has worked for the Kids Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta and as a reporter in rural Alberta for the ECA Review.
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