Even though she didn’t win, making it to the world karate championships in Australia was an accomplishment for Amber Kuipers of Hayward, Calif.
Kuipers, a member of Christ’s Community Christian Reformed Church, represented the U.S. at the Shotokan Karate World Championships in Sydney, Australia.
Forty-five countries sent 1,400 participants to Sydney for the competition held every three years.
Kuipers competed in kata (fighting movements in a specific order and direction) and kumite (free sparring). She qualified at a tournament last March and was one of two females in her age range (18-39 years) to represent the U.S. at the world championship.
This was Kuipers’s second trip to world competition. In 2006, she was eliminated in the first round with a concussion. This time was a bit better. Kuipers said, “I didn’t get hurt. To me, that is the important part. Italy finally beat me out in sparring, and I lost to China in kata.”
Kuipers has been practicing karate for 13 years, since she was 16. In preparation for this event, she trained everyday by studying books, rehearsing moves, correcting details, and sparring with friends.
She said karate also helps her focus in faith. “Every class when we line up we have the opportunity to meditate—center yourself for class. It’s a way to focus on the class, to leave your problems at the door and solely concentrate on what is at hand. During that time, I just say a little prayer. ‘God, give me strength, energy, and patience. And no matter what happens, remind me that you’re here and that you never left,’” said Kuipers.