March 19, 2014 at 1:41 PM
On March 18, Westfield Mayor Andy Skibitsky honored four local martial arts students for their recent achievements in excellence -- earning National Championship titles.
These karate kids, all from Westfield's public schools, train at Karate N Motion on South Ave. Since January, these Karate N Motion students have earned high accolades from the martial arts community -- by being named "National Champion" and/or winning first place titles in national tournaments.
Sean Canavan (pictured far left), a 6th grader from Edison Intermediate School, was named the 2013 National Champion in the 10-11 year old, intermediate-level division in Creative Forms by the North American Sport Karate Association (NASKA.com), an esteemed international martial arts circuit. Since January 2014, Sean has won 14 first place championship titles in national karate tournaments held in Atlantic City, Chicago, Norfolk, Va., Philadelphia, and Ontario, Calif.
Joe Retinger (pictured 2nd from left), a 5th grader from Wilson Elementary School, was named the 2013 National Champion by NASKA in the 10-11 year old, beginner-level division in Sparring and Traditional Forms.
Julia Plawker (pictured 2nd from right), a 7th grader from Roosevelt Intermediate School, won 2 first place NAFMA national championship titles in Atlantic City and 2 first place titles at the Karate Rating Association of New England’s (KRANE.org) Triple Crown national tournament in Warwick, RI.
Maddy Covington (pictured far right), a 7th grader from Roosevelt Intermediate School, also recently won 2 first place national championship titles at the KRANE’s Triple Crown Warwick, RI tournament and 3 more at KRANE’s Connecticut Nationals at Foxwoods, Conn.
"I respect the hard work, training and discipline of these Westfield karate champions," said Mayor Skibitsky. "Not only are these kids martial arts champions, but they're also excellent students -- which speaks volumes about their focus, determination and pursuit of excellence. If this is what they can achieve in the first 3 months of the year, I can't wait to hear how the rest of their 2014 goes!"
These karate kids are students of Shihan Alan Simms, grandmaster of Karate N Motion. “Sensei Alan,” as he’s known to his students, is a member of both the World and International Black Belt Halls of Fame, and is a frequent guest lecturer and presenter on many martial arts related topics. He holds the Ju-Dan rank, 10th degree black belt in American Goshi Shun karate and Honshi Dan, 10th degree, from the Japan Aiki-Bujutsu Federation. Sensei Alan has owned Westfield’s Karate N Motion since 2000.