Youth Center to hold tae kwon do tournament for kids
The Youth Center at Yokota Air Base will hold a mini tae kwon do tournament on Dec. 8 at 3 p.m. Everyone in the base community is welcome to attend .
Thirty American children and 12 Japanese kids will take part in the tourney. 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.
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.
He 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.
Sakakibara 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.