Del Student Has Summer to Remember Representing Ontario and Canada in Karate!
This summer, grade 12 student Liesel Munar accomplished the incredible achievement of representing both Ontario and Canada in Karate.
Below is Liesel's reflection on the summer, enjoy:
Backstory on me as a Karate athlete:
My name is Liesel Munar. I’m a 17-year-old elite Karate athlete and am currently a 2nd degree black belt. I’ve been doing Karate since I was 7 years old and have been competing since I was 10. Karate has granted me so many opportunities such as: being part of a sports reality TV show, being interviewed by a Filipino TV news channel, working at YMCA as a Karate instructor, and many more. I’m so blessed to have this sport and to be able to do what I love.
Competitive Karate is broken up into 2 disciplines: Kumite and Kata. Kumite is when 2 athletes are fighting against each other and sparring. Kumite divisions are involving age, weight, and gender. Kata means “form” in Japanese and is a routine of a series of patterned movements fighting imaginary opponents involving a bunch of attacks and blocks in all different directions. I specialize and compete in Kata. Kata divisions involve age and gender.
To become a member of Team Ontario, Karate Ontario holds team selection tournaments every season. There are around 5 – 6 qualification tournaments that start in September and go till around February/March. I’ve been part of the provincial team roster since 2017.
To become a member of Team Canada, you must medal at the Karate Canada National Championships. I’ve been part of the national team roster since 2019.
Karate Canada National Championships:
The Championships are once every year, usually around Spring/Summer, and spread over 3 days (Friday – Sunday), but each province flies into the host province around 2-3 days earlier to adjust to the time difference (if there is one) and to join in provincial team trainings. On the first day, there was opening ceremony where all the athletes (other than those competing right after the ceremony) get to participate in and walk with their provincial flag. On the evening of the last competition day, there is a banquet/awards ceremony. There’s dinner and dancing and some distinguished athletes and coaches get recognition for their contributions and efforts to Team Karate Canada.
This was my 3rd Nationals (I qualified to go in 2017, but I was too young) and it was the first once since the hiatus due to COVID. This year, it was held in St. John’s, Newfoundland! I competed in 2 divisions for Elite Kata: Junior U18 (16-17) Girls and Senior Women’s 16+. I’m very proud to say that I got 2nd in my Junior division (helping me earn my spot on the National team once again and secure my ticket to the Junior Pan American Karate Championships) and 7th in my Senior division.
Pan American Karate Championships:
The Championships are once every year, in the Summer, and spread over 3 days (Thursday – Saturday), but each country flies into the host country around 2-3 days earlier to adjust to the time difference (if there is one) and to join in national team trainings. On the second day, there was opening ceremony where some the athletes (other than those competing right after the ceremony) get to participate in and walk with their country’s flag.
This was my 1st Pan Ams (I was qualified to go in 2019, but I aged out of my division). This year, it was held in Mexico City, Mexico! I competed in my Junior U18 (16-17) Girls division for Elite Kata. I’m happy to say that I placed 9th!!
- Athletes get to trade their country’s shirts with athletes from other countries
- I got shirts from Columbia, Peru, Brasil, USA, and (of course) the host country: Mexico!
- Country cheers are created and it’s so cool to hear them going back and forth throughout the venue
- We had one athlete represent Canada at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and they’re from Ontario!!
- There are 10 degrees of black belt!