The upcoming WKC World Championship martial arts tournament awaits six hardworking students from Revolution Martial Arts in Trenton, who are looking for sponsors and donors to help make the trip possible.
The annual martial arts competition, to be held October 8-13 in Killarney, Ireland, will challenge the six youngsters from Downriver again against competitors from around the world.
Students who qualified for the competition include: Ryder Adams, 11, of Rockwood; Owen Adkins, 16, of Trenton; Brett Akens, 15, and Trinity Akens, 20, of Woodhaven; Scout Higgins, 15, of Trenton; and Kaylee Marsh, 14, of Taylor.
Revolution’s martial arts office manager, Danielle Tuite, said their training led to an international competition like this.
“They had to win in two other tournaments to qualify for this tournament,” she said. “There’s a regional qualifier where they had to qualify first, then they had to qualify domestically, and then the top four domestically go to Ireland.”
She said the categories are delineated by age groups and ranks, with black belts, for example, being grouped together. Each will compete individually.
Tuite said their students practice American Xtreme Martial Arts.
“It’s a bit of a mix of everything,” she says. “There are your traditional bands, but there are your extreme martial arts that you see more on TV and in movies.”
Tuite said it was a mix of traditional discipline and creativity.
“They will be doing creative forms, where they have to create their own form, usually between 30 seconds and a minute, to compete, and it has to be choreographed to music,” she said. “So it really extends from traditional forms to creating an entire one-minute form with or without a weapon, choreographed to music.”
Dawn and Vito Angileri, the owners and head trainers, have sent students to international tournaments before.
Dawn Angileri said on the first day of the tournament, students will compete to see who will advance to the medal round, with the top four competitors in a given category progressing.
She said that 15 countries will be represented this year.
Dawn Angileri said the students practice almost every day and it is difficult to reach this level.
Vito Angileri said they have been training since January to prepare for international competition.
“You have to have good discipline, you have to be successful and have a good attitude,” he said. “Discipline, attitude and you also have to be hungry, and you can’t be afraid to work hard and put in the hours.”
Vito Angileri said the competition is fierce and competitive.
“We can show them what to do here, but it’s up to them to take what we show them and move on,” he said. “If they don’t, they’re not going to do really well.”
Trinity Akens, the oldest member of the team, said martial arts helped her become more confident, that she liked it and wanted to know how to defend herself.
“A lot of the life skills we’re learning here – like the word of the month right now is ‘perseverance’ – you use them outside here, and it helps you get a really long way in life,” she said.
Marsh said martial arts has also influenced her life in many ways, from how she stood to helping her overcome her fear.
She said it will be her first world tournament, as well as her first time abroad. She said her martial arts friends were like family to her.
For Adams, the youngest member of the team, the others are also like family – like big brothers and sisters.
“I love it, I’ve been here a while and all these people are my family,” he said. “I spend all my time here.”
Higgins said she also spends a lot of time at the studio.
“When we have classes six times a week, I’m here six times a week,” she said. “It helps me tremendously in all areas of my life – with my mental health and trying harder things in school – it’s a very supportive community.”
Higgins said if she had a tough day at school, Revolution Martial Arts was the place to blow off steam and improve her mood.
She said her training will help her improve her life in many ways.
“I already see how it helps, going to advanced grades – I’m better prepared and I have the discipline to respect my teachers, and I think going forward, going to college and on the workplace, those attributes are going to continue and be very helpful,” Higgins said.
Brent Akens said he was excited about their upcoming trip.
“We’re going to be able to support our country, and that’s really great,” he said.
Brent Akens said he enjoyed the friendships he made and the life skills he learned.
Adkins, who has been learning martial arts since he was six, said it makes him happy.
“It’s my favorite thing to do and I love the people here,” he said. “It’s a really positive community.”
Adkins said it also helps a person stay fit and learn self-defense.
Dawn Angileri said students are expected to maintain their grades and be upstanding citizens.
“Random acts of kindness and all of those things go together,” she said.
Dawn Angileri said she was looking for corporate sponsors to help fund their students’ trip to the international competition, and they set up a GoFundMe page, under gofundme.com/f/revolutionmartialartsmi.
The $15,000 goal will help cover their overseas airfare, competition uniforms, competition fees, accommodations and other expenses.