33rd Annual Sunshine Classic Karate tournament takes place at Arnold

Local Sports

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) – The Arnold High School gymnasium was packed on Saturday for the 33rd Annual Sunshine Classic Karate Tournament.

The World Yoshukai Karate Kobudo Organization has been putting the event on for years in the Panhandle, but had to take a hiatus due to COVID-19.

However, athletes all over the south from five years old to in their 70’s were ecstatic to have it back.

“You come to a competition like this it’s more than just working out in the dojo. You come and you really put effort in it and like you said you don’t have to do much to start sweating,” seventh degree black belt and Bay County Shihan Jimmy Croley said.

Around 100 people took part in the event, some from as far as Texas, all coming to the Panhandle for the opportunity to compete in not one, but several different categories.

“This is a sport karate tournament. You have the point fighting which is a sport karate, weaponry which is Kubodo, and then you have form Katas, which is the formal practice of the martial arts from different styles,” Co-director of World Yoshukai Karate Kobudo Organization Mike Culbreath said.

Organizer’s hope that they can keep bringing this tournament back to Bay County as it’s important to keep the Martial Arts growing in the younger generation.

“Some watch a TV or iPhone for many hours, but karate you use all physical mental and they are using both, left to right, both sides, so it’s good form for the young ones,” Co-director of World Yoshukai Karate Kobudo Organization Hiroaki Toyama said.

While some of the best competitors in the south were out on the gym floor on Saturday, the locals shined in it too.

Croley took home some hardware as he was crowned a grand champion.

“To win the grand champion means a lot because it’s the best of the best of the day, you are competing not only against the division I was in, but now I’m competing against the best, so it does mean a lot when you win,” Croley said.

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