Fox Valley Goodwill Karate Championship – Recap

Fox Valley Goodwill Karate Championship – Recap

Pictured above is Gyda Stoner, of Kim’s Black Belt Academy in Aurora, who turned 70 last Friday. She also did a brief judo demonstration during the Fox Valley Goodwill Championship Karate Tournament on March 24.  (See more pictures on our Facebook page.)

Back in the early 1990s, I took a science class at Aurora University that was taught by Gyda Stoner. Even then, she was a bit of a legend in Aurora.

As a child she had polio. And, I guess, if you had polio back then, you pretty much spent the rest of your life in a wheel chair. But instead of giving up, Gyda Stoner took up learning to use a lasso and trick riding (horses). In fact, she not only overcame polio she got a job with the rodeo. (It’s the type of story that, once you hear it, it sticks with you for 20 years.)

As an adult, she has served on a dozen or more community boards. She’s one of those people who never stops moving and, when you see her name mentioned in the newspaper or somewhere else, you say, “Hey, I know her! What’s she doing now?”

Anyway, she didn’t do a lot of talking during her demonstration. But we did get to watch her toss around her 58-year-old uke (or whatever the Judo-equivalent is). It’s always fun to watch a woman beating up on a guy. It’s double the fun when she’s 70. (EVERYONE was recording this. So I suspect someone will put it up on YouTube, soon.)

Now, for the tournament. Parking was tight, the lot quickly overflowed and cars lined up on both sides of the street outside of the Fox Valley Montessori School. The venue was also a tight squeeze. It turns out, the organizers were actually able to squeeze in three rings plus spectators. It was a snug fit, but it wasn’t really crowded. It was…cozy.

Get this: no score cards on the forms competition. The judges held up fingers. If I understood the process correctly, crossing your hands while showing a score, added a half point.  So they could only do scores like 6 or 6.5. It was old school, yo. (But they had flags for the sparring matches!)

The judges were experienced. And it didn’t look like any of the competitors were confused about where they were supposed to be. I wouldn’t say that things moved quickly, but there wasn’t a lot of standing around in the rings either. So, I’d say things were moving smoothly, but a little on the slow side. (Which, of course, isn’t necessarily a bad thing.)

All-in-all, it appeared to be a good event. It’s a little on the pricey side for its size ($60 at the door for a single event), but still one you should consider adding to your annual schedule.

PS – Don’t forget to check out our favorite pictures from the event, which are posted on our Facebook page. You can tag pictures of people you know and add your comments. (Don’t forget to “like us,” while you’re there so you can keep up to date with other Martial Arts events.)