Area martial artists earn awards at state tournament

Posted: Monday, June 09, 2003

The Kenai Peninsula was skillfully represented May 30 and 31 at the Alaska Open Martial Arts Champio-nship in Anchorage. Students from Peninsula Martial Arts and Soldotna School of Martial Arts proved how serious they are about self-defense and discipline.

More than 200 attended the martial arts tournament, and competitors from Fairbanks, Anchorage and Soldotna put their skills to the test.

"To come up here and mix it up helps the martial arts student put into practice their own form,"said Robyn Barker, whose husband and son train at Soldotna School of Martial Arts. Barker's son competed in Friday's tournament.

Bud Draper, third-degree black belt and owner and teacher at the Soldotna school, is a former teacher from the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District. He spent 25 years teaching and knows the applicable benefits studying the martial arts can give children.

"I've seen the positive benefits that the martial arts develop in children," Draper said.

"Our emphasis isn't on the awards we win. Our emphasis is developing good martial artists.

"People are just beginning to understand the value of the martial arts and the lessons they teach young people," Draper added.

"The tournament is a good opportunity to get in front of a crowd and interact with strangers," Barker said.

As far as the future of martial arts is concerned, "I would like to see more of a recognition of the value of the martial arts in themselves, the students and the parents," said Draper.

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