8th TSC Soldier shines, wins multiple karate gold medals
December 7, 2012
FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii -- Martial artists from around the world traveled to Oahu to compete in the 53rd annual All-Hawaii State Karate Championships/2012 Honolulu International Karate Championships, Nov. 17.
Amongst these competitors was Sgt. Randal Kumagai, military intelligence, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, who has been competing and studying Karate for years.
Kumagai was ready to take on the challenge.
"It's about developing yourself, developing character," said Kumagai. "A lot of things you learn about yourself are primarily through hard training and competition. I enjoy the competition … testing of your spirit against another. …Oftentimes, it's like a chess match; you go up against someone who is better, faster, stronger, but you have to find a way to beat them."
And find a way, he did. Each participant competed in three categories: Kobu-do, or weapons; long and short Kata; and Kumite.
Kumagai walked away from the international tournament winning four gold medals and an outstanding male color belt trophy in the competition.
"Karate events like this offer participants a wonderful opportunity to test their skills and determination," said J.B. Mirza, national chairman of the Amateur Athletic Union and USA Karate, and also the honorary tournament president for the 53rd HIKC, during a message to the participants in the tournament's program.
"The quality of athletes and karate-ka at this event are of the highest caliber, and is only surpassed by the hospitality, sportsmanship and budo spirit that resonate throughout," Mirza said.
Karate is not only about finding yourself, but also about helping those around you understand and find their purpose in karate.
Kumagai had his own bit of guidance from an experienced Karate-ka champion.
"Frank Smith, at one point, was called the best karate-ka the United States ever produced, back in the 1960s when he was champion," he said. "A word of advice he gave me was 'training is for life.' For me," Kumagai added, "training isn't just a young man's sport. It's more of a lifelong thing. It's always striving to improve."
Being the founder and president of the International Karate Federation and the Amateur Athletic Union National Executive Committee and Technical Director, Chuzo Kotaka knows well what it takes to be a champion at karate-ka.
"Karate is a lifelong progression of learning and betterment," he said in the 2012 program. "It takes a lot of determination, perseverance and, most importantly, self discipline. These are important qualities of a champion, but they are also the qualities of everyday karate-ka. No matter what your goals in karate are, always remember to keep those qualities dear to your heart, and you will always go far."
These qualities not only follow Kumagai in his karate, but they follow him into his military life, as well.
"Personally, I think karate is a good way to prepare your mind for combat or any high pressure situation," Kumagai said. "A lot of time, when you go to tournament, you're not necessarily competing with someone else; you're competing with yourself. You have to have control and know what to do under pressure. Karate helps you get to that state of mind."