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DIRIGO STORIES: Greene dojo sends seven members to international karate tournament

Seven people from JKA Maine Karate Academy were chosen to compete at the Japanese Karate Association World Championships in Ireland next month. It's the most people chosen from one dojo in the country (Courtesy: JKA Maine).

GREENE (WMGE) – A group of athletes at a dojo in Maine is preparing for an international competition they hope sets them up for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan.

Sensei Khim Torres, of JKA Maine Karate Academy, and six students were selected to represent Team USA at the Japanese Karate Association World Championships next month in Ireland. It’s the most members chosen from one dojo in the country.

“Whatever my regiment, my training, they do the same thing,” Torres said.

This is the fourth time the 42-year-old has made Team USA, but it’s the first time he’ll be on the team while his two sons compete on the youth team.

“I think we’re going to do pretty good,” said Rosh Torres, 19. “We’re training pretty hard.”

“They challenge me to get better,” added Yuki Torres, 15, “That’s why I love them. They’re family.”

Joining the Torres trio is 16-year-old Michael Yumayam, 14-year-old Ben Farris, 12-year-old Ariana Touchette-Ruiz, and 11-year-old Mikaella Torres.

“This is like our second home,” said Farris, who will also test for his black belt in October. “There’s only about 25 people or so that get to make it, so the fact that seven us made it is pretty amazing.”

The seven members train seven days a week led by Sensei Khim and his cousin, Sensei Ferdie Torres. Ferdie Torres will join them at the tournament as a coach for Team USA.

“I always wanted to put Maine on the map of karate,” Torres said.

Torres has taught karate in Lewiston for years at a different dojo. The group split off from it last year when the owner died, and they opened a new dojo focusing on Shotokan karate on route 202 in Greene. That style of karate has been added to the 2020 Summer Olympics.

“Eventually people will know the world-class dojo here in Greene, Maine,” Khim Torres said.

The tournament is August 14-20 in Limerick City, Ireland. The better they perform there, the better chance they could have to make the Olympics team.

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