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Local Competitors Win Top Honors at Martial Arts Expo

By ThisIsReno

by Rory Dowd

In mid-July, a team of martial arts competitors from the Reno area travelled to Little Rock, Arkansas to compete in the ATA World Expo’s Tournament of Champions. The team was comprised of students and instructors from Cancino’s Black Belt Academy, a martial arts school in northwest Reno. Eight medals were awarded to four local students and one instructor.

ATA International is a Little Rock-based martial arts organization that teaches taekwondo. Their annual World Expo draws competitors and enthusiasts from around the world to their conference and tournament. The organization has licensed over 950 independently owned and operated martial arts schools in 21 countries, including Cancino’s Black Belt Academy in Reno. Owner and instructor, Mark Cancino, regularly sponsors a team of students to compete in the Tournament of Champions, typically bringing back multiple awards; this year was no different.

Top honors went to UNR’s Khyle Dayao and McQueen High’s Alysha Cancino who each won World Champion’s medals, for Traditional Weapons and Sparring, respectively. This is Dayao’s second World Title and Cancino’s first.

Leanne Dayao, another UNR student, also took the Bronze in Traditional Weapons. Yani Cancino, at 10 years old, brought home silver medals in Traditional Forms and Traditional Weapons in her age group.

Instructor Mark Cancino was the big winner, adding three more World Champion titles to his collection, for a total of six World Champion titles to his name. This year, his medals were for Creative Forms, Extreme Forms, and Extreme Weapons.

For more information on the tournament or Cancino’s Black Belt Academy, please contact the academy at [email protected] or (775) 746-1203.


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