Local Martial Arts Team Represents USA in Canadian Championships

Left to right: Kennedy Cartagena, Maximo Torres, Diego Trigilio, Cole Brandon. Image: Martin Amba

Two Amba Martial Arts teams, comprised of instructors and students, represented the United States at the BC Open Martial Arts Championships (BCOMAC) in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on Saturday, April 21.  The featured showcase of the event was two set team matches between competitors from the United States versus Canada.

BCOMAC is a 13 Point “AAA” rated National Blackbelt League and 24 Point “AAA” rated Sport Karate International League (SKIL) rated event, drawing competitors from all over Canada and North America. The Amba Martial Arts junior team roster included Kennedy Cartagena (16), Maximo Torres (14), Cole Brandon (13), and Diego Trigilio (12). This USA junior team was made up of intermediate and advanced belts. Impressively, they won their matches over Team Canada, which was comprised entirely of blackbelts.

The six-person United States adult team featured competitors from Hawaii, Oregon, and three from the North Valleys area of Reno: Amba Martial Arts’ Martin Amba, M.J. Amba, and Kennedy Cartagena. A last-minute replacement for the adult team, the capable 16-year old Cartagena competed on both the junior and adult teams.

Amba Martial Arts’ Junior Team. from left to right, Diego Trigilio, Cole Brandon, Kennedy Cartagena, Maximo Torres. Image: Martin Amba

MJ Amba, along with his four students, also competed in individual forms and sparring divisions as well as their Team USA matches, earning further accolades. Here are their results:

  • MJ Amba – Gold and Grand Champion Finalist – Sparring
  • Kennedy Cartagena – Gold and Grand Champion – Traditional Kata; Gold – Advanced Sparring; Bronze – Black Belt Sparring
  • Maximo Torres – Silver – Advanced Sparring; Gold – Black Belt Sparring
  • Cole Brandon – Gold – Traditional Kata; Gold – Advanced Sparring; Silver – Black Belt Sparring
  • Diego Trigilio – Silver – Traditional Kata; Gold – Intermediate Sparring; Gold – Black Belt Sparring

“It was an honor for us to represent the United States. Our school has competed throughout the United States, but this was different, definitely more pressure involved. I’m relieved that we were able to come back with the win,” said MJ Amba, Amba Martial Arts Head Tournament Team Instructor.

Amba Martial Arts is located in the Red Rock Plaza in Reno and is run by a family of martial artists. The curriculum features various martial arts but its emphasis is Goju-Shorei Karate and Sport Martial Arts (the tournament application of martial arts). Classes are Mondays through Saturdays and the school accepts students from four years of age to adults. For more information on Amba Martial Arts, go to ambamartialarts.com or visit their Facebook page.

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