BY RAY VAN COR
The Greenville Standard
The 21st Annual South Alabama Karate Open tournament was better than the year before. It was standing room only with the walls adorned with competitors and spectators alike.
This tournament had competitors from as far away as Kentucky that made the trip to test their metal. The tournament has been said to be one of the most sought after competitions in the Southeastern United States and it did not disappoint.
No less than seven states were represented and many different martial art styles presented, such as Yoshikai, Keichu, Taekwondo, Jujitsu, Isshinryu, Uechiryu and Shotokan just to mention a few.
Tournament director Mark Rudd said, “The talent that was at this year’s tournament was absolutely incredible, I’m glad I didn’t have to judge.”
Young Evergreen native Rhys Stanford of the Sekkin Sen Karate dojo of Greenville placed sixth in Kata competition from out of 21 competitors in the 8-7 year old Division in his first outing.
Cody Davis of Andalusia’s Isshinryu Dojo was the fighting Grand Champion and is a student at Auburn University, Allen Butler was the Adult fighting Grand Champion of Opp’s Pierces Dojo and a student of The University of Alabama.
Camille Holley of Dayton Tennessee’s Bryan College Martial Arts Academy was the Woman’s Grand Champion. Two impressive young men, Cotton Sherrer and Jase Hines of Conley’s Keichu-Do dojo in Enterprise squared off against each other in the race for Grand Champion with Cotton taking the victory but by an excruciating micro difference that decided the win.
Southside Baptist Church of Andalusia delivered up concessions with greeting smiles and laughter, enough to make the weariest of travelers smile. The sentiments about the tournament were echoed amongst competitors and spectators alike, they thoroughly enjoyed it, worth the trip.
One spectator stated “The tournament is professionally put together and they should be proud, a class act, no doubt.”
Fifth Dan Isshinryu Instructor, from Bryan College, David Holcomb attended this year’s Annual South Alabama Karate Open to observe some of the Academy’s students and this year’s new scholarship recipients in action.
Bryan College is a four year fully accredited Christian college nestled in the foothills of Dayton, Tenn., just above Chattanooga with its own martial arts academy.
Holcomb holds a Master’s Degree in History and is the Bryan College Scholarship Fund Director.
Several young martial artists from south Alabama have received scholarships from Bryan College such as Kila Thompson of Andalusia, Kiersten Copeland of Evergreen and another young man from Geneva’s Taekwondo Studio.
Holcomb has been married to his wife Diana for 22 years and they are proud parents of Isabella and Anastasia. They live in Dayton.
Holcolm is passionate about integrating the strength and power of martial arts with a top notch education. The Bryan College Martial Arts Academy is a Varsity sport with scholarships attached and Holcomb believes that by learning the art of self-defense and applying the principles in life, we can be true “Peacemakers.”
In addition to his family and work, Holcomb enjoys building quality relationships with the community around him. “Life is not about things, but people and how we can love people well when we interact with them, whether that is daily or in just one encounter,” he said.