Ross Martial Arts team eyes multiple state championships

Published 4:03 pm Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A team of eight Ross Martial Arts & Fitness Academy taekwondo practitioners and kickboxers captured 11 first place trophies Saturday, Aug.10 at the Alexander Open Karate Championships in Madison.

The team of competitors brought home a total of 20 trophies and swords from the forms, weapons, point sparring and kickboxing competition hosted annually by the Alabama Karate Circuit.

According to Ross MA instructor Jay Russell, the outstanding performances of several of his students put them squarely in the lead to possibly claim multiple state championships at the season’s end. State titles will be decided at the AKC State Championship Tournament in September.

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“This was the third of four open martial arts tournaments for us this year,” Russell said. “As it stands, we have three team members looking at multiple state championships and several more who are in the running for single titles.”

Competitors are awarded points for placing within the top four in their divisions, and these points are added up after the final tournament to decide state championships. Winners are announced and awarded certificates and championship jackets at the AKC banquet in November in Huntsville.

Russell said the Ross Fight Team led off the Madison tournament with the Tiger Cubs (4, 5 and 6-year olds) competing in open-hand forms and point sparring. Joanna Duke won first place in forms and second in sparring, while Dylan Russell claimed a first in forms and a second in sparring as well.

Youth continuous fighting divisions came next with Tristen Fitz-Gerald, Sam Breightling and Brett Schroeder competing. Continuous fighting is simply kickboxing on a gym floor rather than in a ring. Schroeder won first place in the 10-11 year old tall division, and Fitz-Gerald claimed a second in the 15-17 year old group, losing by split decision in the championship match to a black belt competitor from Alexander’s Karate in Huntsville.

Other wins recorded by the team were:

•Jake Duke, first places in men’s intermediate point sparring and underbelt men’s continuous fighting as well as second place in forms

•Nikki Smith, first places in intermediate women’s point sparring, forms, and continuous fighting

*Fitz-Gerald, first places in intermediate 16 and 17 year old point sparring and forms

*Schroeder, first place in intermediate boys 10 and 11 point sparring and second in forms

•Breightling, second place in beginner 10 and 11 forms and third in point sparring

•Charlie Duke, second place in beginner boys 7-year old point sparring and third in forms.

“Every single member of the team performed exceptionally well at this event,” Russell said. “However, I’ve got to give the biggest props to Tristen for how well he fought against a very talented black belt in that kickboxing match. It’s really impressive for an intermediate martial artist to step in there and go toe-to-toe with an advanced athlete like that.”

Russell said Fitz-Gerald, Schroeder, Jake Duke and Charlie Duke all have the opportunities to win multiple state titles, but nothing would be definite until after the final tournament.

“We’ll see how things go in September,” Russell said. “Until then, we’ll be preparing our team and training hard.”

Before then, the team at Ross Martial Arts Academy, 1014 Highway 80 East in Demopolis, will be switching gears in preparation for the Strikehard Grappling tournament in Alabaster on Aug. 24 and the Alabama Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation tournament in Birmingham on Sept. 7.