By Emily Gallagher
Times West Virginian
Local martial artists have been making a name for themselves.
Students at the Mushin Do dojo in Fairmont participated in two karate tournaments in September.
On Sept. 14, 37 students from the dojo traveled to Monongahela, Pa., to compete in the 2013 Mon-Valley Open Karate Championships.
Sensei Garry Freeman said Mushin Do dojo students brought home 71 trophies from the tournament, ranging from first place to third place.
“There were close to 300 martial artists there,” he said.
On Sept. 28, the dojo took 42 students to the PMAA Fall Brawl 2013 Martial Arts Tournament in Newry, Pa. That tournament also had about 300 competitors.
“I’m going to say we won over 90 trophies at that tournament,” Freeman said.
Freeman said students from the dojo have participated in six tournaments since April, including a national tournament sponsored by the USA National Karate-do Federation (USANKF) where four Mushin Do students combined to bring home six medals.
With the two September tournaments, Freeman said he couldn’t be more proud of his students. The dojo also brought home the trophy for Most Supportive from the past two tournaments.
“Those mean the most because that shows what we’re teaching, which is to support one another,” Freeman said.
Freeman said when the students came back from the tournaments, those who won trophies did not talk about themselves but congratulated others.
“Every tournament that we go to, the first class after that we talk about not the trophies we won but the knowledge that we gained,” he said. “When a student talked, they talked about what another one did.”
Sensei Pat Wilson said other schools were noticing Mushin Do’s sportsmanship at the tournaments.
“We got a lot of comments on how our students supported other students,” he said. “The biggest thing people talked about after the tournaments was the fact that they learned something that they could not only use at the next tournament but use in life.”
Going to tournaments and practicing martial arts is all part of what Mushin Do dojo is about. Freeman said it gives children, teens and adults an outlet.
“God has blessed me to start a school here years ago and our No. 1 goal is to get the children off the street,” he said. “And teach them discipline, self respect and better themselves — that’s our goal.”
Freeman said once the students start listening to the senseis, they begin to better themselves.
“They have to listen to us in order to receive the instructions we give them,” he said.
Freeman said every student is an athlete, but karate is different from other sports.
“Everyone here is a starter,” he said. “There’s no substitutes. Everyone has their own division and age groups — we’re a family, but we still fight individually.”
Wilson said the next tournament the dojo is getting ready for is the Ultimate Force Martial Arts Championship at the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pa.
“It’s in December, and that’s going to be a big tournament,” he said.
Wilson said after the event in December, students will compete in a qualifying tournament for the national competition.
“There are certain tournaments that are offered that are considered qualifying tournaments,” he said. “Depending upon the tournament, some you have to score a certain number or place high.”
Wilson said the qualifying tournament for the national event will be in February 2014.
To become a student at Mushin Do dojo, call 304-612-6869.
Email Emily Gallagher at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter@EGallagherTWV.