While training may be limited and competitions remain at a halt, here at USA Karate we wanted to reminisce about some of our favorite parts of competition. One being those who help us get competition ready! Our sparring partners are essential to our training, they help keep us motivated and remind us that even when things get tough that we can persevere, continue training, and grow into the best karateka we can be. We reached out to some of our athletes to see who their favorite sparring partners are and why.
Please see below for our submissions!
Do you have a sparring partner you want to shout out? Shoot over an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or tag us on social media with a photo and brief description to be added to this page!
. . .
Submitted by Anika Trotman:
“Here is my favorite sparring partner, Taylor Chung. What I love the most about training with her is that she compliments me almost perfectly - her weaknesses are my strengths and vice versa. It’s not hard to keep making progress and getting better with a partner that pushes me as much as she does. And at the end of the day, on the mat or off, we’re still the best of friends.”
Submitted by Shawn Wong
“Some my favorite partners are Brandon and Aiden Nakajima-Wu from Shotojuku in New York. For the past 2 summers, I trained with them prior to Nationals and Pan Ams”
Submitted by Erik Coon
“My favorite sparring partner is my coach Sensei Chris Jarrett. Chris is always my go-to sparring partner because he knows me better than anyone. It’s always a challenge sparring with him because he knows what I do and all my tricks so I have to always be switching it up and trying new things to make myself better. He’s an amazing fighter who’s been on the Jr. and Sr. Team multiple times so always getting to spar with him makes me better every round.”
Submitted by Kiera MacKenzie
“One of my favorite sparring partners is Carson Schene. Not only does he push me past the limit I set for myself on the tatami, he is always ready for an extra sparring session! He never fails to message me before big events, and always has my back!”
Submitted by Sabrina Arevalo
“Alison DiMuro is my BFF who also happens to be my favorite sparring buddy and alternate in my division. We are both from Scottsdale Martial Arts Center in Scottsdale, Arizona.”
Submitted by Chase Polley
Sparring Partner Shout-Out: Edgar Torres & Justin Milanes
Submitted by Aiden Nakajima-Wu
“Here is a photo of me with my favorite sparring partner, my older brother Brandon Nakajima-Wu. I enjoy training with my big brother because I've always looked up to him. He's always watching me and helping me improve my techniques and abilities. I have lots of fun with him practicing and keeping things light at times as well.”
Submitted by Evelyn Adan
“Hi my name is Evelyn Adan and this is my partner Diana Sanchez. Since we haven’t been going to tournaments we’ve been trying to work on techniques that we need improvement on. We’ve also been focusing on our condition. We've trained together for many years and know what we need to concentrate on. We know how to push each other and we've even had some friendly competition along the way.”
Submitted by Justin Milanes
“My name is Justin Milanes, and my favorite Sparring Partner is Tom Scott. He is also my idol.”
Submitted by Daylan Berger
"This is hands down the best group I have ever trained with. We pushed each other so hard, every single day, leading up to Junior Worlds. This group is my family and I love them very much. I couldn't possibly put a picture of just one person for this. We are a team and I am grateful to know each and every one of them."
Submitted by Kaiet Coraizaca
“I am Kaiet Coraizaca (14-15 Kumite -63kg) and my sparring partner would be my mom. Throughout this quarantine, she has been there with me training every day and helping me improve my techniques and she is a wonderful partner to spar with. One thing I like about her is that she likes to push me hard every single training and I thank her for that because I know that’ll make me stronger for the future and benefit me in future tournaments.”
Submitted by Brandon Nakajima-Wu
“Before COVID-19 affected our world, our Shotojuku dojo competition team often trained several times a week. We have members that would often commute over an hour each way to get together to train together. Although we haven’t been able to physically train together in many months, Jonathan Merola is one of my favorite sparring partners.
Jonathan’s an easy-going kind of guy that can be silly at times but turns it up to serious and gives his best efforts for everyone when we train. His good nature personality also keeps things from not being too intense. We have fun while we’re training hard.”
Submitted by Riley Smith
“My older brother Jared Smith. He’s a great fighter and continues to help support and push me to improve. We are brothers so we’ve fought both on and off the mat but he’s always got my back. We take pride in one another’s achievements because we need each other to succeed! Thanks for everything bro, we’ve still got a long journey ahead!”
Submitted by Xiamara Drummer
“My favorite sparring partner is Joey Tolentino he always pushes me and helps me get out my comfort zone when sparring.”
Submitted by Enzo Floresca
“My favorite sparring partners are Logan Turney and Daylan Berger. They are the best sparring partners because they are so competitive and so tough. I’m always out of breath when I fight them because they bring the best fight out of me. They are also my favorite sparring partners because they are my bros. We always have a good time in training because we hype each other up, have a good laugh and train to our fullest potential. Without these guys, I probably would have not made it so far in my karate career.”
Submitted by Cayla Gapusan
"One of my favorite kumite partners is Jacob Ruiz. Ever since I was little he always took me under his wing and got me to where I am today. He was a rough partner on the mat but a big brother off the mat. He has never failed to either put a smile on my face or sweep me just because he could. Even though he may not be competing anymore, he never fails to come back home to be an amazing partner."