On Friday, July 11, a young girl from Paonia won a national championship in karate in Reno, Nev.
Carly Horn, steady as a rock and facing enormous pressure, tackled each match, eliminating her rivals in unanimous decisions by the judges every time, and winning a gold medal.
Carly performed Kanku Dai, a kata or form originating in Okinawa and dating back to the 1700s. Kanku dai is a very advanced kata which contains all the elements intrinsic to Shotokan karate, the style of karate taught at North Fork Karate in Paonia under Shihan Rick McGavin.
Carly drove to Reno with her mother. The 14-hour drive seemed long to her, but not as long as the months of training before the tournament. To get to this level, Carly trained five to seven days a week. She also prequalified by winning gold at the regional level in Colorado in May.
After checking into the hotel Carly was able to work out with the International Martial Arts Association team (www.imakarate.com), led by Cyrus Madani, Shihan McGavin’s teacher. She even practiced in the hotel hallway by herself to get ready. Light training in the days right before the competition helped with nerves and put on the last coat of polish. Next year, she would like to have a whole team from Paonia go and compete, too.
And what was Carly’s reaction to her win? “I’m still pinching myself, Mom!” she said. But a couple of hours in the hotel pool with all the friends she made at the venue helped turn her back into a girl again, one who is ready for middle school to start.
Three black belts also went to Reno from Paonia to attend as officials. Jennifer McGavin, Dory Funk and Doris Danielsen all tested to their next referee level in front of the national panel. In fact, Jennifer received the highest national referee rating, double AA. In this way, adult black belts can give back to the sport and help develop young athletes to be their best.
North Fork Karate in Paonia was established in 2005 as a dojo which directly follows Hanshi Madani, who was trained in part by Nakayama Sensei, a student of Ginchin Funikoshi, founder of Shotokan karate in Japan. Rick McGavin has been studying for over 20 years and is an excellent teacher of children and adults. Call Shihan McGavin at 527-5477 for information on classes or visit the website, northforkkarate.com, for a class schedule and other news.