Young athletes qualify for international meet

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Two rising young Marco YMCA karate stars are set to head for Hawaii this November to compete in an international championship.

Chase Polley and Bryant Martinez, who train with Sensei Nick Lemke at his Shima Dojo Karate School at the Y, will participate Nov. 18 in the 58th All Hawaii State Karate Championships/2017 Honolulu International Karate-do Championships.

And right now, in between training six times a week – sometimes twice a day – they’re collecting money to cover their costs of about $12,000.

The two athletes’ eligibility for the championships is based on district, regional and state performances throughout the year. Earlier this year, they excelled at the annual AAU National Championships in Raleigh, NC.

“It’s gonna get harder and harder,” Martinez said of the training regimen leading up to the Hawaii championships, which are under the umbrella of the International Karate Federation.

 “It’s pretty awesome,” Polley said of the opportunity to perform on a world karate stage. But at the same time he said he’s not going in with overconfidence or unrealistic expectations.

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Lemke agreed. “They’re just going to go in and do their best,” he said. “We’ll be doing some sports sparring (the kumite discipline), and keep training six times a week. You can’t do it if you train just twice a week.”

Both youngsters hold black belts in karate, and will compete in that division for the first time.

Down the line, Lemke said, both youngsters have said their dream would be to participate for their country in the 2024 Olympics.

Lemke launched the school in 2010, and offers classes at all levels for students aged 6 to adults. He has studied karate for nearly a quarter of a decade, some of which has been in Okinawa, the island about 400 miles south of Japan, and the “home base” of karate.

Anybody interested in helping the trio fund their trip should visit gofundme.com/shimadojo.

To learn more about the Greater Marco Family YMCA and its wide variety of activities and programs for youth and adults, visit marcoymca.org.

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