In late July, Canadian Martial Arts Academy (CMAA) sensei Frank Clayton travelled to Japan to receive a distinguished service award for his contributions to the art of Okinawan karate and weapons.
“My instructor founded the Ryukyu Kobudo Tesshinkan Kyokai, which means Old Okinawan Weapons Association, 20 years ago,” said Clayton. “Three other students and I have been involved since the beginning, and we were invited to Okinawa to celebrate the association’s anniversary. People from around the world came to take part in demonstrations and attend the celebrations.”
Clayton has been teaching karate since 1982, and has lived and taught in Powell River for 11 years. His approach to karate focuses more on the art than the sport.
“Karate is a physical art, like dance,” he said. “There’s no wrong vision in art, just an individual’s interpretation of the mechanics.”
Part of Clayton’s job is to help people get what they want out of learning karate.
“Some people are curious about martial arts, some people are interested in Japanese culture, and some people want an avenue for personal growth with physical and emotional benefits,” said Clayton. “The biggest compliment I get is when people who have trained with me somewhere else move to Powell River, and the first thing they do is bring their kids to the dojo. It’s rewarding to know karate has been so positive for them that they want to share it with their children.”
While more than 150 people practice at CMAA, a small number also compete at the local, regional and international level. The tournament team is made up of 21 youth competitors (ages seven to 17) and one adult competitor. This season, they attended five competitions and won more than 150 medals.
The team started the season at the Campbell River Shito-Ryu Karate Tournament in October 2018, coming home with 17 gold, 19 silver and 25 bronze medals.
The Pacific Northwest American Athletic Union (AAU) District Championships took place in Seattle in March 2019, where 12 team members won four gold, six silver and five bronze medals.
At the High River Open Martial Arts Tournament on May 11 in Alberta, four team members won four gold, five silver and one bronze medal. Dylan Clark, the adult member of the team, also won grand champion.
Battle of the Dojos on May 25 saw 17 tournament-team members and 19 CMAA members travel to Chilliwack to compete against four other BC karate schools. Tournament-team members won 14 gold, 14 silver and 13 bronze medals, while other members also won medals.
The team ended the season in Ontario at the Windsor Open Karate Championships on June 8. In a field of more than 200 athletes, the 12 CMAA team members won 16 gold, 11 silver, and seven bronze medals. 14-year-old Delaney Long also won grand champion.
CMAA is located at 4300 Joyce Avenue. To find out more about the programs offered, go to facebook.com/CMAAPowellRiver.