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Jul 23, 2012

House of Shotokan takes its karate skills to Guatemala City

The House of Shotokan Karate Academy has already beaten Mexico in karate and over the weekend they headed, for the first time, to Guatemala City. Five Belizean athletes were among three hundred that competed in karate and mixed martial arts categories of the El Gran Jaguar International Competition. In the mixed martial arts, Jameel Smith won top spot, defeating an opponent above his weight class.  And according to Shihan Ray Kelly, he came out of retirement to compete against master level black belt athletes in the art of the sport and placed third and fourth. Both Kelly and Smith spoke of the continuous and intense training that paid off in the end.

 

Shihan Ray Kelly, House of Shotokan

Ray Kelly

“I entered personally coming out of retirement—about six years not into competition which was a great boost to compete against fellow master level black belts there. On the mix martial arts side; here at the house of Shotokan Academy, we teach that to males and females adult and we had representation from one of our fighters here to go over there. Our curriculum system is very rigid, very discipline in the mixed martial arts because it requires a lot of endurance which eventually leads the fighter to fight in a cage, or an open mat where they are actually throwing blows, grappling, going to the floor and submission will determine the winner or ultimately the one who gets the most point will determine the winner in the mixed martial arts setting.”

 

Jameel Smith

Jameel Smith, Mixed Martial Arts Champ, EL Gran Jaguar Int’l Competition

“It was very difficult because the guy outweighed me and he was a solid one-eighty; very ripped. But we did our best. As Shihan said, we trained very hard here and we put in a lot of cardio and it really helped me out there because as you know, Guatemala is about five thousand feet elevation above sea level and to have that extra cardio to kick in and to fight a guy that big, I needed it all the way to take it to the end.”

 

Duane Moody

“Tell us about the strategy that you used going into the competition.”

 

Jameel Smith

“Well as I said, I wasn’t expecting a guy that big. So I just basically tried to use speed and my cardio to outlast him and to counter his strength because I know that I wasn’t as strong as he was, but I was going to be able to move around and probably tire him out.”

 

Duane Moody

“How does it feel to actually top something like this?”

 

Jameel Smith

“Well I mean it feels great because we put in a lot of work here as Shihan said. We do a lot of cardio—sometimes I am here five days a week training. To see that your hard work pays off and the determination that Shihan always puts in; that when you do that little extra every day, it helps right there in the cage.”

 

Kelly says that the House of Shotokan will represent Belize in the upcoming weeks in a karate competition in Tabasco, Mexico.

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