BHS will be site of karate tourney

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This year’s Tamara Long Archuleta Memorial Open Karate Championships will involve trophies for 125 divisions, hundreds of competitors and spectators and at least three laser printers.

Three laser printers?

News-Bulletin file photo: Kevin Jaramillo, left, battles Brian Christopher in last year’s Tamara Long Archuleta Memorial Open Karate Championships. The seventh annual version of the tournament is set to begin at 10 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 20 in the Belen High gym.

“I went to get a different printer, and that didn’t work, so I had to get another one,” said Cindy Long of Belen Goju Ryu Karate. “Then, I decided to switch brands.”

Goju Ryu is the host studio for the Long Archuleta tournament is set for Saturday, Oct. 20 in the Belen High gym. It’s named for Cindy and Richard’s daughter, Tamara, who was killed when her Army helicopter went down in Afghanistan in 2003.

Registration starts at 8:30 a.m. with the opening ceremonies at 10 a.m.

Last year’s tournament had about 230 participants, and about the same amount in 2010. This will be the 29th tournament Cindy and Richard have produced, although they scaled back from two tournaments to one, beginning several years ago. The tournament allows Goju Ryu to team with Belen High and several area businesses, to whom the Longs are grateful for their collaboration.

“In 1993, we made all the agreements with handshakes, and paid the janitor in cash,” said Richard Long. “Times have changed. Now, we have to have a $1 million insurance policy. But what’s still great about small-town America is we still have those kinds of relationships, like having A&W and other local businesses advertise in our program.”

New air conditioning and flooring has the BHS gym looking and feeling like an even better facility, and the karate tourney is one of its largest one-day events BHS hosts each year. The seventh annual version of the Long Archuleta tournament will have trophies for 125 divisions, ranging from child beginners to armored continuous fighting. There will also be a special-needs division.

“In some divisions, we’ll have 15 or 16 kids,” said Cindy Long. “So we’ll actually break down an intermediate division into beginning advanced, middle intermediate and advanced intermediate.”

A brand new collector’s sword, made by True Swords, a partner new to Belen Goju Ryu, will go to the champions in some divisions. One sword will be raffled off.

Belen High graduate and Goju Ryu black belt Molly Chavez will sing the national anthem, with High Desert Pipes and Drums participating in the opening ceremonies as well.

Chris Montaño and Rutilio’s are handling the supplying of breakfast burritos, and food and other vendors are welcomed onto the BHS concourse at the top of the gym.

There will be judging for “hard” and “soft” karate styles, and since the tournament has been considered “open,” is it not obligated to follow USKA rules or styles or points structure, as many other tournaments tend to do.

There are “kata” and “kumite” or form and combat, competitions.

The tourney tends to last until at least the early evening hours. Richard Long said he starts the armored-continuous ring early on, while the youngest groups are still on the mats, so there can be about seven bouts or competitions going at one time.

Richard Long said he expects somewhere in the neighborhood of 250 total participants, some of whom come from other states. He said between 50 and 60 Goju Ryu students participate.

“We found 250 is kind of a nice number,” he said.


-- Email the author at jbrooks@news-bulletin.com.