WINTERHAVEN – Â Quechan Casino hosted the 18th annual Â Shorin-Ryu ShorikanÂ Cal South International Martial Arts Camp for karate students from around world this past weekend in Winterhaven.
Over 200 students of all skill ranks registered for this year’s camp according to 8th degree black belt Nabil Noujaim, creator, organizer, and MC of the camp as well as the local instructor in El Centro.Â This year’s camp turnout was slightly smaller than last year’s, but that didn’t disappoint Noujaim.
“When I see the results, it’s worth all the hard work,” said Noujaim, “People sometimes only see the product, but they don’t see the process.”
The camp brings in students from all around the country and the world for three days of learning and fun.Â Dojos from the United Kingdom, Argentine, and Canada were present as well as 12 states.Â The camp consisted of a two whole days of instructional classes, two different tournaments including the first weapons one, and a dinner to cap off the event.
Students learned from several different instructors, including three from the Humbolt Dojo in Okinawa, Japan; Kinjo Kempo, Tetsuo Shimojo, and Satoshi Kinjo.
Also included in the instructor line up was 7th degree black belt Art Garcia, the instructor of Brawley’s Garcia’s Dojo.
“It’s a good discipline for them, for their lives, relations, and school,” said Garcia, “You could see the students couldn’t wait to go back to the dojo to pick up where they left off this weekend.”
Twenty- three students from the Brawley dojo attended the camp, and they were not disappointed.
“It’s a great chance to learn and to meet new friends and to meet old friends,” said River Johnson from Brawley about his third camp experience, “It shows me how big our organization actually is, and it’s a great chance to meet the people from the Humbolt dojo and see their teaching style.”
“It is great to learn new techniques that we don’t get to utilize from Brawley,” said Debi Lemert on her second camp, “Just new experiences with the different Kyoshis here.”
This camp is a long running tradition that started back in 1994 at Central Union High school by Noujaim with 100 students.Â It has outgrown its valley home to spread out into the Quechan in Winterhaven and has become much larger from its roots in the valley.