Long-Archuleta karate tourney brought hundreds to the Belen High gym

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Hundreds of cheering spectators were in the gymnasium stands at Belen High on Saturday, Oct. 20.

They weren’t cheering for one of the Eagle volleyball or basketball teams, and many of them may only have been encouraging one competitor. The event was the seventh annual Tamara Long Archuleta Memorial Open Karate Championships, which drew 260 participants from 26 martial arts schools, including the host studio, Belen Goju Ryu.

Jason W. Brooks-News-Bulletin photo: J.C. Sanchez of Belen Goju Ryu, right, gets ready to throw a punch against Daniel Beltran of El Paso in the Oct. 20 Tamara Long Archuleta Memorial Open Karate Championships. The seventh annual version of the tournament, held in the Belen High gym, drew 260 participants.

Richard Long of Belen Goju Ryu said trophies were awarded in 120 divisions this year, including some special-needs groups.

The tourney is named for Cindy and Richard Long’s daughter, Tamara, who was killed when her Army helicopter went down in Afghanistan in 2003. They have put on 29 tournaments, and used to do two per year, but have scaled things back to one large annual tourney.

The karate tourney is one of the largest one-day events BHS hosts each year. Vendors were welcomed onto the BHS concourse at the top of the gym, selling products ranging from refreshments to martial arts gear to special swords associated with the sport.

Trophies were awarded in “kata,” or form, and “kumite,” or combat.

There were 69 students competing from Belen Goju Ryu — the only Valencia County studio to enter this year’s tournament. There were 25 other schools, including Cho’s TaeKwonDo of Albuquerque, which brought 34 competitors.

Entrants came from all parts of New Mexico, such as Angel Fire, Farmington, Continental Divide, Santa Fe and Portales. There were several schools from the El Paso area, including Beckmon’s Martial Arts, which sent 13 competitors.

Two people competed on behalf of Phoenix Cho’s Tae Kwon Do in Glendale, Ariz.


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