BOZEMAN — The air at Bozeman Karate was calm on Monday night. By looking around, you would never have an idea that this team was about to compete in the biggest event of their lives.
Of the 14 karatekas heading to the USA Karate National Championship in Reno, Nevada, only two of them have competed before, and they happen to be sisters.
“I am a higher belt this time. I was in intermediate last year, which is the second lowest, and now I’ll be in the second-highest division,” Piper Marcella said.
Things are a little different this year. Marcella and her sister will both be competing at a higher level, which ultimately means fiercer competition.
“When you get there, you see more competition,” Paige Marcella said. “I think everyone has the same odds, I think it’s about how much you prepare to get there.”
“Yes, I am excited,” Piper said, “because it’s a really big tournament and it is really competitive. I just like going there and knowing how well I can do.”
The competition is held in Nevada this year and features three events: Kata, Kumita, and weapons. Aaron Boyd, owner of Bozeman Karate, says nationals is important because the athletes will be competing against the best of the best.
“Nationals is always a challenge because it’s not your average tournament,” Boyd said. “Everyone who has won all the other tournaments are coming to nationals.”
Luckily, he has two of the best on his team, and they consider themselves to have been very different people if it weren’t for the sport of karate.
“The team worked really hard to get where we are,” Paige said. “I’m excited to see how we do. Everyone worked really hard for it.”
“I think its important for people to know that this dojo is a lot more than a bunch of kids training for nationals,” Piper added. “We are a family and a lot of us have been doing this together. It teaches us so much stuff, there’s no experience like it. It’s taught us a bunch of stuff and we would probably not be the same people without it.”