The U.S Open and Junior International Cup 2016 in Las Vegas

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The U.S Open and Junior International Cup are two international competitions that take place in Las Vegas, Nevada. I came here, all the way from Denver, Colorado to see the best karate practitioners in the world, and to show what I have learned in the previous year. The tournament was set to start on Friday, March 25. Two days prior to the competition, Denver was hit by a massive winter storm. Because of this, some team members could not fly out as scheduled, so they decided to drive through the storm to make it their on time. Because of the whole team’s dedication, we all arrived to Vegas on time.

This was only my second time competing in an international tournament, so I was extremely nervous.  The first day of the tournament arrived, and I was already seeing perfect, and really unique styles of karate. But I could not forget about my teammates and friends from Okinawa Dojo, who were also competing this weekend. During the long days of competition, while waiting for our events, we cheer and support each other. We help each other gain confidence, and we lift each other up when we feel sad. These relationships play a big role in our success. Our parents also played a big role in our results.

They had to take us to Vegas, pay for this expensive event, and since we don’t always win, they had to help us through difficult times. But finally, last but not least, there  would have been no competition for us if we did not have our amazing and hard working senseis. Sensei Alex, and Sensei Vitaly work as hard as they can to help us become the best that we can be. They help us achieve our goals, and show us their dedication to karate, by competing in the same competition next to us. Without friends, parents, and coaches, this event would not have been possible. We spent three whole days competing and watching other athletes.

However, the competition was not the entire experience of the trip. We also came to explore and take pictures of Las Vegas, a place like no other. I saw lights everywhere I looked, I saw really cool shows on the streets, and finally I saw the most beautiful hotels that I’ve ever seen. I am extremely thankful to my teammates, parents, and especially coaches, for a chance to compete in an international competition of this level”.

Michael Pogrebitskiy
15 years old, Green Belt, athlete at Okinawa Dojo.

 

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