Yokota, Japan kids compete at base tae kwon do tournament
U.S. children studying tae kwon do at Yokota Air Base competed against each other as well as some Japanese counterparts at a mini tournament held at the base’s Youth Center on Dec. 8. Thirty Americans and 12 Japanese took part in the competition.
The Americans are students in the tae kwon do class offered twice weekly at the Youth Center by Kei Sakakibara, a former Japan national and two-time university champion in the featherweight division.
Tae kwon do is an official Olympic sport that features dynamic kicking rather than punching.
The winners from Yokota are as follows:
Kids B class:
1st place - Daniel Myrick
Kids D class:
1st place - Declan Denny
2nd place - Charles Denny
3rd place - Terrell Augurson
Kids E class:
2nd place - Masatora Veazey
Kids F class:
1st place - Karr Seina
2nd place - Katima Burton
Kids G class:
3rd place - Giancarlos Ocasino
Kids H class:
1st place - Keemari Bruce
2nd place - Anala Sassenberg
3rd place - Keyera Bruce
Sakakibara started to teach on base about two years ago, and now instructs a total of 30 children. About one year ago, he opened a tae kwon do center near JR Fussa Station for American adults.
Sakakibara previously held a tournament at Yokota in June which attracted 200 U.S. and Japanese participants. The competitions on base are intended to improve the skills of his students, but also to encourage friendship between American and Japanese practitioners of the martial art.
He has taught tae kwon do for 10 years around Hachioji city and now operates eight dojo, with about 200 students.
The Yokota Youth Center offers tae kwon do classes for children age five and up on Monday and Friday from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. for beginners and 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. for advanced students. Tuition is $70 per month, with discounts available for multiple family members, including Mom and Dad. For more information, contact the Youth Center at 225-7441.
Adults wishing to take lessons at Sakakibara Tae Kwon Do Dojo should call 080-1035-5015.