Local Karate Champs Looking at Olympic Participation

Seiden Kai Karate School hopes to follow up their recent gold medals at a national championship with gold medals at future Olympic games. From left are Leonardo Castro, Zianya Louie, Sensei Ruben Canedo, and Julio Romero.
By Mario Conde

Seiden Kai Karate School hopes to follow up their recent gold medals at a national championship with gold medals at future Olympic games. From left are Leonardo Castro, Zianya Louie, Sensei Ruben Canedo, and Julio Romero.

The Seiden Kai Karate School in Calexico is known to win championships and medals in every competition they enter.

The 2017 USAKarate National Championships and Team Trials were held in Greenville, South Carolina from July 19-23. The three students from Seiden Kai participated and won three gold medals and one bronze medal. “The Olympics is one of our goals of this school, and I know we will do well, but obviously it’s going to take years of practice,” said Zianya Louie, 14, sophomore at Calexico High School.

Julio Romero, 15, a student at Calexico High School, also participated and placed 5th in weapons at the Karate Nationals and enjoyed the experience of being there. “Being able to represent my family, my school, Calexico, it was amazing just being there and feeling all the love and support from your family,” Romero said. “Every champion has lost and had victories at some point, but they never give up, so I look forward to participate in the Olympics in a few years.”

Calexico High School graduate Leonardo Castro was another participant at the nationals. He won a medal in kata and weapons. Castro attended the Center for Employment Training and graduated in 2016 with a certificate in accounting.

“Karate has taught me to be humble, respect everyone, and become a leader in life,” Castro said.

Seiden Kai Karate School is known to participate in various tournaments and win gold medals and trophies. Sensei Ruben Canedo, resident of Calexico, said that the training and preparation students have before the tournaments is what makes the difference in the athletes.

“Normally when my students go to a tournament like the nationals, I demand from them to train three hours a day for a minimum of three months,” Canedo said.

One of the goals of the school is to prepare students to participate in the Olympic Games now that karate will be included. Canedo said he wants to prepare his students to participate in the Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028 games.

“For us, Paris will be an excellent time to participate in Karate since most of our students will be in their twenties and will be able to participate,” Canedo said.