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The Burlington Post, Sports Section
March 3, 2011
Shikomu club garners eight medals at Grand Prix
Fourteen athletes from Burlington's Shikomu Karate Club brought home 11 medals, including three golds, from the recent Karate Ontario Grand Prix Tournament at Humber College.
Shihan Kal Helppi is the club's founder and primary instructor.
Medal winners included:
Edward Spalding - bronze Kata, bronze Kumite; Leelan Govender - gold Kata; Martin Badger - bronze Kata, bronze Kumite; McKenzie Zarnke - bronze Kata; Nikolas O'Connell - gold Kata, bronze Kumite; Lili Draetta - gold Kata - silver Kumite; Steve McIntyre-Smith - bronze Kata. There were also strong performances by Beatrice Costello, Danielle Stolte, Connor Pringle, Josh Matteson, Emma Whale, Bobbi Matteson and Noah Gaudun-Ungar.
The Hamilton Spectator
(Nov 18, 2008)
ON THE MAT
-- Karate Ontario held its second Provincial Grand Prix Tournament at the F.H. Sherman Recreation Centre Nov. 9,
Boys: Caleb Jurak, yellow belt - gold in kata; Nikolas O'Connell, orange belt - gold in kata, bronze in kumite; Noah Gaudun-Ungar, orange belt - gold in kata; Reilly Rutgers, blue belt - bronze in kata, bronze in kumite.
Girls: McKenzie Zarnke, orange belt - gold in kata, gold in kumite; Bobbi Matteson, orange belt, bronze in kata
Adults: Sheryl Jurak, blue belt, silver in kumite
Shikomu Karate Club is a not-for-profit club teaching adults and children aged 7 years and older. The club is located in The Fitness Firm on Plains Road West in Aldershot.
Santoni delivers surprise gold medal
Burlington club member wins national intermediate kata title
Published on Jul 16, 2008
Kal Helppi still remembers the first time the Shikomu Karate Club's first national champion walked into his class.
"She'll last two weeks and she's gone," he thought.
Two weeks later, Theresa Santoni was still there. In fact, she was at the Plains Road West club every day, never missing a class.
Five years after that first class, the 46-year-old found herself standing with fellow competitors and listening to announcement of the medal winners in the intermediate women's kata division at the National Karate Championships in Saint John, N.B.
She had been working with Helppi for six months for this one event, putting in long hours of training and then driving 1,500 kilometres for the event. Still, her goals were modest.
"I really just wanted the experience," she said. "I thought if I was lucky enough to medal, it would be a bronze."
So when the bronze, then the silver, were announced, she thought her chances of bringing home medal were finished. She was pleased to know she had delivered the strong performance she had been working toward.
"You put your heart and soul into it," she said, "and sometimes you're on your game and everything comes out right. That's how it was that day."
Still, for a mother who had taken up karate after watching her son Joseph's class, she never even entertained the thought of what she was about to hear.
When the gold medal was announced, Santoni heard her name and immediately thought, "Did I hear that right?"
"It was thrilling. I was amazed -- over the top. It was just amazing. I'm still in shock," she said a week after hearing the announcement.
For Helppi, it wasn't as much of a surprise. He had soon realized after his initial assessment that Santoni "was a keeper."
"She's got a spirit that won't quit," he said. "She trained through injuries and pain. It was all self induced. She's so driven. It really shows what the spirit can do if the body is willing."
Santoni's initial impression of karate also missed the mark after watching her son's class.
"I thought it looked fun. I thought it looked easy," she said. "I was half right."
Santoni signed up for an adult class and soon learned that easy was not the right adjective.
She also began to feel a great sense of accomplishment. For someone who never considered herself to be an athletic person, she found she had a knack for karate.
"I enjoy the fact that it's challenging, that there is always something new to learn. The camaraderie between people all trying to achieve the same thing and you're learning from everyone, the white belts, the yellow belts."
Santoni has worked her way up to brown belt, though Helppi believes it won't be long before she trades that in for a black belt.
"She's an inspiration to others," he said.
NATIONAL CHAMPION: Theresa Santoni, right, proudly displays her gold medal at the National Karate Championships in Saint John, N.B. With Santoni is Bill Carr, a sixth degree black belt and national-level referee. Santoni won the intermediate kata division
The Burlington Post, Sports Section
January 27, 2008
TheSpec.com - Local Sports - Amateur Sport
The Hamilton Spectator(Dec 4, 2007)
ON THE MAT
-- At the recent Karate Ontario Grand Prix Event held at Humber College in Toronto, students from Burlington's Shikomu Karate Club competed against clubs from all over Ontario and brought home silver and gold.
Yellow belt McKenzie Zarnke and blue belt Alexander Roney brought home silver and gold medals respectively in each of the events in their class.