Karate Athletes Set to Compete at the 2019 USA Karate National Championships

  • ISKC Competitors gather for a group photo after training for National Competition at ISKC Dojo in PalatineISKC Staff

    ISKC Competitors gather for a group photo after training for National Competition at ISKC Dojo in PalatineISKC Staff

Updated 7/11/2019 8:06 AM

In just twelve months, karate will make its official Olympic debut, but martial arts supporters don't have to wait until 2020 or buy a ticket to Tokyo to watch some of karate's most talented athletes go head to head.

This weekend, more than 2,000 karate athletes from across the United States will converge at the Schaumburg Convention Center in Schaumburg, IL to compete at the 2019 USA Karate National Championships and Team Trials. The four-day spectacle, which begins on Thursday, July 11, will boast a record-breaking number of athletes, all of which are vying for the chance to be named a National Champion.


Also at stake is the opportunity to qualify for a spot on the United States Junior and Senior National Karate Teams. This elite group of competitors will have the privilege of representing their country at prestigious international tournaments, such as the Pan American Karate Federation (PKF) Junior Championships and the Junior World Championships. Meanwhile, the top six competitors in the senior divisions earn the opportunity to attend the US Team Trials at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado. Many of these high-caliber competitors are also Olympic-hopefuls who aspire to represent the United States at the 2020 Olympic Games.

More than 400 of the 2,000 athletes that are slated to compete at this weekend's USA Karate National Championships are students of Illinois Shotokan Karate Clubs (ISKC), which has programs in more than 70 park districts across the state. ISKC's weekly classes held at the park district facilities, have allowed its students to build and fine-tune their skills throughout the year. Come summer, Illinois Shotokan offers additional training sessions to help prepare for the high profile tournament.

ISKC founder and Chief Instructor, John DiPasquale and his coaches Dominic Noia, Brian Mertel, Peja Bajic, Noah Frisvold, Alysa Berenson, Eric Tornabene, and Ryan Brown have been busy preparing their competitors for this event over the last several months. DiPasquale said he is optimistic about their performance and is eager for the weekend's competition to begin.

"I feel our students have worked very hard to prepare for this event and I am anticipating good results," said DiPasquale. "But the most important thing is that students get a chance to participate in a high-level competition right here in their own backyard."

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Though the Nationals Championships and Team Trials takes place every year, this is the first time it has ever been held in the Chicagoland area.

"We've never had the opportunity to host the Nationals in Chicago," said ISKC Coach Brian Mertel. "So, this opens the doors for students who may not have been able to travel to the tournaments in the past and I'm excited for more of our students to experience competing at this level."

Spectator passes to come watch this weekend's event can be purchased at the Schaumburg Convention Center. For those looking to join in on the action, Illinois Shotokan's fall karate classes start in September. Head to www.ISKC.com or call 800-458-9797 for more information.