CHIEF LOGAN STATE PARK — If you’re a fan of karate and jujitsu, you’re going to want to be at the Chief Logan Rec Center this Saturday for the Fourth Annual Southern West Virginia Karate and Jujitsu Tournament.
The tournament is directed by Master Carlos Turner of Omar. Turner has been training martial arts in Logan County for several years and the tournament is a labor of love for him.
“I love martial arts,” Turner said. “I’ve been involved in martial arts since I was 13 years old. It gets bigger here in this area every year. I want to see it grow to be as big as it is north of Charleston.”
The event starts at 9 a.m. and will feature some of the best young martial arts competitors from all across West Virginia, Turner said. There will be at least five martial arts schools battling in the tournament.
Like last year’s tournament, Turner expects there to be a big crowd and a lot of fighters.
“It was a success last year and we are hoping for bigger and better things on Saturday,” Turner said. “The interest here keeps growing.”
Turner said the event will have judges just like Olympic boxing.
“This is sport karate and sport jujitsu, which is a level down from Mixed Martial Arts,” Turner said. “We’ll have some top-notch judges this year and we’re trying to do that for the kids.”
Turner said each year, more kids get involved in the martial arts.
“The interest keeps growing and this training carries over to other sports, because it helps with their coordination,” Turner said. “You use everything in martial arts, whether it be kicking or punching or jujitsu with the locks and holds. You have to be in great shape.”
Turner said the Chief Logan Rec Center is a great place at which to hold the tournament. He said the facility is perfect for the tournament and the entire rec center is there to promote good health, which is another aspect of martial arts.
“You have to be in tremendous shape,” Turner said. “And we’re trying to promote fitness here.”
According to Turner, who was recently named a martial arts master, the training also creates good discipline in kids.
“I have a lot of my students who are very successful in life,” Turner said. “This builds confidence and some of these kids, when I got them, had no confidence at all. This causes them to do better. It helps make good kids. It gives them discipline.
“I’ve got a program going right now called the ‘A Team’, where you have to keep better than a B average in school to be on the team.”
Turner said not every kid can play football, baseball or basketball. But, he said mixed martial arts is a sport that anyone can do.
“Some kids are not good running backs and some can’t dunk the ball. Some kids can’t throw a fast ball, so this is one of those sports that everyone can get into,” Turner said.
Master Turner has now been involved in martial arts for 37 years.
Turner said the kids competing in the tournament aren’t actually fighting like in a UFC ring. They will do katas, which are pre-set martial arts moves and the kids also compete by using points sparring, which means they don’t go for the kill, they just try to score points instead of KOs.
“Points sparring is a little like Olympic boxing,” Turner said. “You don’t go for the knockout or to hurt anybody, you go for good, clean controlled points. You have judges on each side, and the center ref, who controls the match.”
Turner said he hopes to spur interest in martial arts in Logan County through the tournament and his classes that he leads at the Chief Logan Rec Center.
“Martial arts is big all throughout the world. We’re just trying to bring it here to this part of the world,” Turner said. “I want to see the interest continue to grow.”
Turner said he expects a bigger crowd and a lot more competitors at this year’s tournament.
“I think it will be even bigger this year,” Turner said. “We’ve got schools coming from all over West Virginia, so it should be a great tournament.”
For more information, call the Chief Logan Rec Center at 304-855-8591.