Western Mass Open Karate Championships May 3, 2015
By Lester Cote Sunday, May 3, 2015
Photos by Lester Cote & Amy Laferriere
Johnson’s Red Dragons presents the 21st Annual Western Mass Open Karate Championship Krane “AAAAA” Sunday May 3, 2015. This competition is held at the Springfield Central High School. Event coordinators, sponsors, staff and volunteers tirelessly prepare all aspects needed to make the event run smoothly. Unbiased judges are assembled to calculate the efforts of each competitor. Finally the day has come and participants from all over New England, at times internationally, gather to test their skills.
Mr. Johnson, a humble man, shares with me what Krane is about, tells why he does this event and expresses his hopes for the future. I was happy to hear it was not about money, pride or fame; it is about making a positive difference in the lives of people throughout the community. The Krane System is a local martial arts point system to score each competitor’s proficiency of technique, skill and use. The system enables competitors to gain points at each meet they participate in during the course of a year. At the end of the year, points are totaled and awards are given based on achievement. Black belt competition awards are issued immediately to allow participants to either cheer on their teammates or, if finished, conclude their time at the event. With no official awards ceremony, this keeps the time of each event more streamlined to less than a half a day of competition. As a side note; when I was a child I played baseball. After each game our coaches and parents would treat us all to ice cream to reward our effort. Organizers of this event feel the same way. A list of area attractions (such as Six Flags, etc) are given to coaches, participants and their families before the event. Event coordinators Tony Cogliandro & Don Rodrigues and Tournament Director Shihan Paul Johnson provide this with the hope that, win or lose, coaches and/or parents will bring the children as a way to encourage reinforcing the positive experience of the event.
With a world filled with negative stories, this is one positive I am happy to report. This kind of uplifting dedication to making right what our smoggy governments don’t is a breath of fresh air. Help take kids off the streets by giving them positive places to go. Please keep these organizations in mind as your tax refunds come in this year, it will be money well spent.