On Finals Sunday of the JKA World Cup on August 20, 2017 in Limerick, Ireland, Team USA fought hard, showing strong technique and good spirit, as Dimitri Papadopoulos of New Orleans and Ryo Goto of Miami represented the country in kumite (sparring) and kata (forms), respectively.
Since team trials in April, five competitors from the New Orleans area have been training diligently, preparing their best to represent America and Sensei T. Mikami. New Orleans/Metairie team members include Cathy Jarushi (6th dan), Dimitri Papadopoulos (5th dan), Ray Semana (5th dan), Harry Rahn (3rd dan) and Abdullah Jarushi (2nd dan). Coaching the team from the region also included Jerry Kattawar (7th dan), Kyriakos Papadopoulos (7th dan) and Johnny Caluda (6th dan).
The JKA World Cup (a.k.a. the 14th Gichin Funakoshi Shoto Cup) is held every 3 years and hosted by the Japan Karate Association, the largest and most influential Shotokan karate organization in the world. Sensei T. Mikami serves as its Senior Technical Advisor, and our dojo, LKA is the national headquarters for the United States. The event aims to promote world peace and karate excellence, fostering goodwill and strong spirit through fellowship and competition.
All of Team USA fulfilled this vision by training hard, fighting with vigor and showing good spirit. LKA’s Ray Semana fought smart to best strong opponents from Brazil and Canada. In the Top 16 round, she narrowly lost to the UK champion but, as usual, showed strong technique and finesse.
For men’s kumite, in the Top 16 round, Dimitri faced a skilled fighter from Brazil. In double overtime, he won the match with a perfectly timed mae geri (front kick), earning his spot in the Top 8 for Finals Sunday. This is Dimitri’s 3rd time to fight his way to Top 8 at the World Cup.
In the first match of the division, Dimitri faced Japan’s Okada Yasunori. Both fighters began by feeling each other’s timing. In the first clash, it looked as if each fighters’ techniques landed with focus simultaneously. Japan was awarded a half-
point. With Japan in the lead, Dimitri needed to create an opening. After fighters reset, Dimitri skillfully ‘closed the distance’ to the opponent, but was not awarded a point. Japan won. Nevertheless, Dimitri did us all proud, showing the world the product of dedicated training and strong spirit.
Congratulations to the following team members who placed and to all of Team USA for a strong showing!
Dimitri Papadopoulos - Men’s Kumite - Top 8
Ryo Goto - Men’s Kata - 7th place
Ray Semana - Women’s Kumite - Top 16
Kym Torres - 19-21 yr old Men’s Kata - 4th place
Emily Nagatomo - 16-18 yr old Girl’s Kata - 3rd place
Grace Marulanda - 16-18 yr old Girl’s Kata - 3rd place
August Tierney - 15 yr old Boy’s Kumite - 2nd place
Sammi Yeung - 15 yr old Girl’s Kata - 7th place
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