PORTSMOUTH — Bobby Cooper sees fitness and defense as one in the same at Coopers Karate Center, where he coaches people ages 5 and up on karate and self-defense.
Recently, he sent a selection of his students to Unioto High School in Chillicothe, Ohio to compete in the AKJU Nationals, where many placed in high ranks.
Taylor Culbertson, adult male novice 35 over, 3rd place Kumite; Braden Yost, 14-15 year-old novice division, 1st place Kumite, 1st place Kata; Taylor J. Culbertson, 14-15 year-old division novice, 2nd place Kumite, 2nd Kata; Riley Yost, 12-13 year-old novice division, 2nd in Kumite, 2nd in Kata; Riley Knighten, 9-10 year-old novice division, 1st in Synchronized Kata, 1st in Kumite, 2nd In Kata; Colten Peach, 1st in Synchronized Kata, 2nd in Kumite, 3rd in Kata; Andrew Cooper, 2nd in Kumite, boys 6-7 year-old division; Kyleanne O’Keefe, 2nd in Synchronized Kata, 2nd in Kata, 2nd in Kumite, Girls 6-7 year old division; Benton Ketter, 6-7 year-old novice division, 3rd place Kumite, 3rd place Kata; Zeidon Osborne, 8-9 year old novice division, 2nd in Synchronized Kata, 2nd in Kumite, 2nd in Kata.
“We prepare by conditioning and doing a lot of sparing,” Cooper explained. “We do drills, but lots of sparing. We train about two hours a week, and most are pretty faithful to at least that.”
Cooper claimed seeing the results of the competition is a rewarding experience for him.
“It is overwhelming,” Cooper said. “When you teach someone something, and then see the finished product of them going out and executing it, is absolutely awesome.”
Placing at the AKJU Nationals opens the door for many to travel to London, England for the 23rd Irish Cup, which Cooper himself has competed for before, and will be returning to do again.
“The students who placed will be welcomed to compete, should they go. I will be going, along with my two grandchildren who qualified,” Cooper said.
Cooper has competed for the Irish Cup five times.
“It is a great trip, when you travel abroad for competition,” Cooper said. “We will be traveling for world championships soon, but international is something different.”
Coopers Karate Center is at 618 Third Street. Cooper is taking new students, children and adult, for $60 a month.
“These practices date back thousands of years. The greatest benefits come from health and exercise through sparing and cardio,” Cooper said. “It is good for staying in shape and for self-defense, should you need to do something.”
Reach Joseph Pratt at (740) 353-3101, by email at [email protected], © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved