Kamdean Saager won the bronze medal in kumite (sparring) in the 10-year-old advanced division at the World Union of Karate-Do Federations International Tournament July 4-8 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The five-time AAU National Tournament winner has been training with shihan/master instructor David Lybbert at the Karate Center in Walla Walla since he was 4 1/2 years old, “and loves it,” says his mother, Michelle. Saager.
She said sparring consists of timed matches with points accumulated throughout. The techniques are based on speed, precision and control.
Body areas are off limits and will be clogged if touched. The first to score 3 full points wins the game, which lasts 1 minute 30 seconds to 2 minutes, said Michelle Saager.
“You can also be the victim of a fault if you do not engage or put yourself in danger. The kumite rounds depend on the number of competitors,” she said.
Kamdean competed against 26 other people in his age group from countries including Poland and Romania, his mother said.
The event drew over 700 American attendees and over 2,600 in total.
Kamdean is a brown belt with two more tests until he reaches black belt, but he has been competing at the black belt level for two years.
He trains 1-2 hours a day, five days a week, said his mother, who also coaches him.
“We train in open hand kata and kumite (combat) and weapons. Daily training is important. But it’s a way of life that teaches discipline and dedication,” she said.
They live in Milton-Freewater with Kamdean’s father, Rick Saager, and they travel as a family to all his competitions.
Kamdean will be entering fifth grade this fall and is an honor roll student at Oregon Charter Academy Online.