Sports

Karate kids place fourth in national tournament

Cory Meek and Patty Hanigan, residents of the Arlington and Marysville area, both won fourth place in the Golden Gate International Martial Arts Championships competition recently. Meek placed fourth in the 10- and 11-year-old mixed category and Hanigan placed fourth in the age 11 and 12 girls category. - Courtesy photo
Cory Meek and Patty Hanigan, residents of the Arlington and Marysville area, both won fourth place in the Golden Gate International Martial Arts Championships competition recently. Meek placed fourth in the 10- and 11-year-old mixed category and Hanigan placed fourth in the age 11 and 12 girls category.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Two north Snohomish County kids won fourth place in the Golden Gate Internationals Martial Arts Championships competition recently and at least one of them plans to go get a national title.

Next year will be his best chance,” said Cory Meek’s dad, Kevin Meek, who is also his teacher, or sifu.

A sifu is a teacher of Chinese-style martial arts, Kevin Meek explained.

Cory Meek, 10, and his partner in training, Patty Hanigan, 11, competed in the same age group but Patty was able to fight in a second division as well, said Kevin Meek, who competed on the circuit throughout his youth.

Patty placed sixth in the 10 and 11 mixed and she placed fourth in the 11 and 12 girls only, Meek said.

Cory placed fourth in the 10- and 11-year-old mixed category, and he was sick with 104 degree temperature, said his dad.

It was their second national tournament. Last year Cory and Patty competed at the Pacific Jewel competition in Vancouver, Wash. He plans to attend four or five different tournaments this year, two of which are national competitions.

“Last year he wasn’t a black belt,” Kevin Meek said.

Kevin grew up on the circuit of martial arts competitions and his son asked him to be his teacher. He said he never really intended to teach his kids, but his son persistently requested it.

“I wanna do what you do Dad,” Cory told his father.

“I only take kids that really want to learn the sport,” he said.

Kevin told Cory they would discuss it after he turned 6, and at 6-and-a-half, Cory convinced his dad to begin teaching him. A friend of Cory’s, Hanigan also convinced the sifu that she was serious about studying karate, so they practice inside the family garage.

Cory and Patty both started studying together at U.S. Taekwondo in Marysville and they were the only ones to stay together to get their black belts, Kevin said.

Kevin prefers to compete in the National Black Belt League because it is open to all martial arts disciplines, including karate, kung fu, taekwondo and kenpo.

“That’s why we picked the NBL,” Kevin explained all the martial arts are a different style of one sport.

“Some are primarily hand work and some focus on foot work,” he explained. His preferred style, kenpo, is about 50-50, he said.

The two students flipped over to pro this year, getting their black belts after attending their first tournament last May, 2008.

The international competitions include participants from across the United States and Canada, from Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras, among other countries. They compete in their own countries for nationals and then meet up at the super grands, Kevin said.

Cory said he plans to attend five tournaments this year to work toward his goal of being a national champion.

Their next event is the Pacific Jewel in Portland in May. They may also go to the Tiger Balm in Vancouver, B.C.

Salt Lake City and Long Beach International in August. The region picks five people with the most points accumulated at end of the year to go to super grand,” Kevin said.

“Cory has 17 points now,” he said.

Cory said the international competition was fun.

“I was a little bit nervous,” Cory said. He is not quite sure why he likes training so well.

“I just like it.”

He did admit, however, that it is a good excuse to go places.

Cory also likes to play basketball and read.

“He’s already read a lot more books than I have in my life. These kids are normal, fun loving kids,” he said. “They are not aggressive kids.”

They are persistent, however, training at least five days a week, when they aren’t sick.

“My kids know you get what you deserve,” Kevin said.

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