USA Karate

Statements of Intent

Statements of intent are made available by candidates to provide more information on their background and goals for their nominated positions. Statements of intent are listed alphabetized by nominee last name. 

Statements of intent for wave one of the elections are available below. Statements of intent for additional waves will be provided soon. 

USOPC Athlete Advisory Council Representative

Statement of Intent for Elisa Au:

My name is Elisa Au and most of you know me for the World Championships I have won throughout my career as an athlete. We share a common thread as athletes, and I know from your own personal experience that you understand what sacrifice, commitment and discipline it takes to be a top competitor. You also have felt the highs and lows of competition much like I have. We know what it feels like to stand at the top of the podium and feel the thrill of knowing we were our best on the tatami. Adding on to that the pride of wearing our country’s colors and flag made the moment especially memorable.

Most of you also know the frustration an athlete feels when they fall short of their goal. We often try to understand the factors that stood in our way. Perhaps it was a lack of financial funding, or having the added weight of responsibilities like work and school. While we don’t like to blame others for our own failures, it’s difficult not to let these frustrations creep into our heads.

But sport is all about mindset, and having a winning mindset is what separates mediocre from exceptional. As we look beyond our own athletic careers, I hope you will agree that having exceptional talent and minds on the board of directors is crucial in building an exceptional organization.

I take confidence knowing what you as athletes want, not only for yourselves but for the future generations. We all dream of building a federation that includes a large membership. A federation that has a grass roots program for youth athletes and a high-performance program for the world and Olympic hopefuls. We also want karate back in the Olympics Games, particularly in 2028 when the USA hosts them.

I also know that the organization needs to run like any other strong business. Outside of my time in karate, I work with business owners every day. They are very similar to us. They are competitive, they are driven and the best ones are disciplined. My career as a business advisor has led me to help grow businesses to over $20 million in revenue per year. As a comparison, USA Karate grossed $1.5 million in 2019.

We need to generate the money to pay for the things that you want. We need to set up the structure and systems to ensure that we are supporting the best athletes and helping them to reach their full potential. Quite simply, we need to build a machine that can produce future world and Olympic champions.

But we are not starting from scratch. Those involved in the federation, past and present, have laid critical foundation pieces to make these goals a possibility. We survived covid, we have the governing structure in place, we have world class referees and we have former world champions and Olympians who want to help bring up the next generation of champions. As a nominee for both the USOPC AAC representative and new athletic director position, I know that my experience both in business and as an elite athlete make me a qualified candidate. When karate is represented at the USOPC, we should have a world or Olympic champion as our representative. I have  been to these meetings before and the talent pool is impressive. That is why I feel that I am the best candidate for the position. I will represent karate as your 3x WKF world champion, and your only female to do so.

The newly elected board of directors should also have the same level of talent, both on and off the tatami. The new set-up allows for 33% representation by athletes, because it is important to have our voice at the table. Another 33% is reserved for independents, who we trust will bring us the outside world experience, particularly in business and organizational administration to make our organization stronger. If you elect me as a member of the board, my promise to all USA karate athletes is that I will take my mindset of a world champion and find a way to make us all win. I will seek solutions and use my experience in business and accolades in the WKF to make USA Karate the powerhouse that it ought to be. Thank you for your consideration.

Christina Klinepeter – Statement of Intent
USA Karate Board of Directors, USOPC Athletes’ Advisory Council Representative

As the USOPC Athletes’ Advisory Council Representative on USA Karate's Board of Directors, I will use my background as an athlete to play a key role in contributing to the success and development of USA Karate and our athletes.

I have been an athlete for over 25 years, including as a cadet, junior, and senior. I have been on Team USA in my younger years and again in my 30s and 40s leading up to the 2020 Olympic Games.

As a teenager, I medalled at the Junior World Cup and the Junior World Karate Championships in the 1990s. I also competed in the World Shotokan Karate Championships in 2001 and 2003. I experienced the exciting and historical moment of training at the United States Olympic and Paralympic Training Center (USOPTC) in Lake Placid, New York, with the first delegation of karate athletes and coaches to ever be able to use the facility.

I was inspired by watching our sport develop over the decades, and it’s been my honor to return to karate as an athlete in my adult years. Since 2017, I have represented the United States in numerous international competitions, including the K1 Series A and Premier League as well as the PKF Championships in 2019 and 2021. I have participated in elite training camps both at the USOPTC in Colorado Springs and in multiple countries with athletes from around the world. Leading up to the 2020 (2021) Games, I have had the pleasure of training with many Olympic athletes, medalists, and coaches.

In addition to sport-specific training, as a mature athlete, I have worked with a team of incredible doctors, physios, cross-training coaches, dieticians, neuroscientists, therapists, and specialists to further dial-in what I bring to the mat.

On top of being an athlete, I bring a background in business and design-thinking, experience as an executive at both nonprofit and corporate organizations, and the understanding of being a parent. I am able to empathize with the variety of people that comprise USA Karate’s membership and key stakeholders.

Lastly, I live out my values of authenticity, excellence, character, growth, courage, and stewardship – I choose to do the right thing even when it's hard, I bring purposeful change to situations and systems that close the gap between what is and what could be, and I am always seeking to improve.

In conclusion, I will bring my vast experience as a courageous problem-solver, an authentic leader, and a fierce fighter to the Board of Directors seat to serve the betterment of our sport and athletes in the United States. I care about giving back to karate and would be honored to do that in-part through serving in this role should I be elected. 

All the best,
Christina Klinepeter

I have been a part of USA Karate since I was six years old, competing both Nationally and Internationally for the Jr and Sr National Teams winning both a PKF championship and a World Championship bronze medal. Karate has been my life as a competitor, coach and successful dojo owner of A+ Martial Arts. The A+ Martial Arts competition team, under my leadership, have won many medals and National Championship. My strengths include presenting a positive attitude and promoting team work. Additionally, my culturally diverse background would be an asset to our organization and to advocate for our athletes. I would also be a good ambassador for USA Karate with our International partners.

I thank you for your time and consideration.

Athlete base,

I decided to run for the board at the start of the last cycle to be a voice for those who didn’t feel comfortable speaking up themselves, to advocate for fairness for all athletes, to push for more transparency. I believe I brought to the board value as an athlete rep who can make sound judgements, ask the right questions and is fairly intelligent. I believe I have made every effort to do so and do not regret any stance I have taken over this past term. Rather than speak about what I have done or problems I’ve helped address, I challenge you to ask my peers on the board and experienced athletes what they think of how I have used my position, or even the former AAC reps in Clay Morton and Brian Mertel. I most certainly have not always agreed with everyone on the board or athlete base, but have been able to take a step back and advocate for what I think is right. I know I have done a good job and gotten nothing in return, nor have I asked for anything.

I only ask two things of you all
1) ask some who have worked alongside me in this capacity (any of the board members, the CEO, coaching staff, other athletes that have engaged with me in this role, former athlete reps) their opinion of my capacity and if I would be a value going forward.
2) Challenge and keep in mind the character of who you’d vote for:

  • Is said candidate able to think about the athlete population without their own interest at the forefront?
  • Is said candidate well read, rational, logical, able to own their own shortcomings and frankly unbiased?
  • Do they have a history of success in and out of the ring?
  • I do not know who else, if anyone, is running for this position; but character matters. If you think a candidate ever to be selfish, I can almost guarantee they are a poor fit for this role for many reasons.

I am far from perfect, but I am proud of how I have handled this role. If you choose to vote for me, thank you. If you choose to vote for someone else, just do so for valid reasons. Feel free to ping me with any questions.

Brian Ramrup

Approved Sport Organization Director

October 17, 2021
USA Karate
1631 Mesa Avenue, Suite A
Colorado Springs, CO 80906

To whom it may concern,

My name is Monique M. Fields, and I am writing this letter to express my intent to join USA Karate’s Board of Directors as the ASO Director. As a longtime member of USA Karate who has served in varying roles, I would like to contribute to USA Karate’s continued and ongoing success for all its members.

I have been a part of USA Karate for the better part of two decades, as an athlete, coach, and referee. As such, I have sat back and watched the current administration do many good and beneficial things for its constituents. While USA Karate has made many positive strides forward, there is still much work to be accomplished. Now that the current Board of Directors in being restructured, it is time to take the time to contribute USA Karate in a new manner. It will be a pleasure for me to serve as the ASO Director of USA Karate as a board member.

Feel free to contact me via phone at (618) 401-1986 and email, should you need further clarification of my intent.

Monique M. Fields


I, Senthil Thiyagarajan, a lifetime member of USANKF since 2005 would like to self nominate as a reprenstative of Lone Star ASO for the Approved Sports Organization (ASO) Director position. I am currently serving as the President of Texas Sport Karate Federation(TSKF) for the 2nd term since 2016 and in the field of Karate-Do for 40+ years. As a President and a member of TSKF, I am contributing and providing my service for the growth of TSKF athletes, Officials and Coaches. With the main focus of Athletes and Officials growth, I brought in various Incentives & Development program for TSKF Athletes and Officials.

I strongly believe, if given a chance to serve the USANKF board, I will be a positive and strong support for the growth & development of the Approved Sports Organizations and USA Karate.

Affiliated Organization Director

No statement of intent available. 
No statement of intent available. 

No statement of intent available. 


No statement of intent available. 

1211 Amelia Plaza
Fernandina Beach, FL 32034

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing you today in reference to my nomination for the open board position as an affiliate member of the USA-NKF. My sole interest in the position is for the betterment of the USA-NKF, the selection and treatment of athletes, and the equitable representation of all members of the federation.

I began training in martial arts over 25 years ago in the small town of Saint Albans, West Virginia under the auspices of Hanshi Roger Jarrett. As a small child with a ton of energy, and my family thought it best to enroll me in martial arts to learn self-defense and focus. Little did I know that by stepping into the door of that dojo, I would be starting a new endeavor that would leave an indelible mark on the rest of my life.

As most practitioners, I did not start martial arts to be an Olympic athlete. However, after several years of training and competing, I found that I had not only a natural talent, but a love for the sport. I was fortunate enough to be selected to the Junior US Team for two years, during which time, I fought at the Jr. Pan-American Championships in both Santiago, Chile and Vancouver, British Colombia. Both times earning a silver medal in kumite for the USA. I also had the honor to represent our great nation and federation at the Jr. World Championships in Marseille, France.x

It was a dream to travel abroad to Europe, and I couldn’t believe a small-town boy from West Virginia would be given an opportunity such as this. We had a great delegation of athletes, coaches, parents, and staff. I drew Japan in the first round. Nerves abounding, I stepped onto the tatami, fought hard, and came out victorious. I couldn’t believe this was happening. Although I was anxious, I was ready to start the next round of my division.

As I was changing my gear, I was informed that Japan protested the match. Instantly, I was confused and upset. However, I went back on the tatami to fight the Japanese athlete. They put 30 seconds on the clock and reversed the points I had won. Now I was in a 5-point deficit with little time left. I fought valiantly, but ultimately lost the bout.

I was heartbroken, angry, and adrift in a sea of emotions I did not understand. The delegation did not have video footage to counter the protest, and I was never told what happened or why I had to refight. To top it off, the Japanese athlete ended up winning the gold medal…

I tell this story in a hope to impress upon you that I have firsthand experience feeling what it is like when politics get in the way of athletics. I will fight hard to ensure that politics stay out of the way so that our athletes will be assured even handed treatment.

I am proud of my experience both as a former athlete and current official for this federation. USA-NKF and the sport of karate teaches young people and adults alike that they can come to a sporting event that will instill in them the Olympic virtues of excellence, friendship, and respect. I maintain close relationships with my former teammates, and I know that I can call any of them in times of need. I have great relationships with my colleagues in the core of officials both in the US and abroad.

As an official, I require excellence and honesty in the way I present myself. We must be ever mindful that our organization is one of distinction. We must constantly be striving toward creating a fair sporting environment. This begins with the way we choose to behave in and out of the arena. 

During my tenure away from karate, I pursued a successful career as a Broadway performer. This experience taught me how to confidently walk into any situation and collaborate with my coworkers to create a piece of art that we could all be proud of. This directly relates to the ability to come together as martial artists to create something that we can be proud of; something that our athletes can be proud to represent; and something that parents, sponsors, and spectators can be proud and excited to watch.

Not only do I represent the USA-NKF with passion and integrity, but I am a proud member of USA Martial Arts Federation. In the summer of 2018, I moved to Fernandina Beach, FL to open a USA Martial Arts Federation member dojo. I opened Fernandina Dojo, LLC in January of 2019 and have grown to a student base of 165 students in the last few years (during a global pandemic).

It is clear that my unique skillset in addition to my martial arts ability has led to my success. While most dojos around the world shuttered and ultimately closed, I was able to pivot to an online platform, engage my clients, and continue to provide a service that they love.

I alone cannot claim success. I collaborated with my fellow martial arts school owners, local businesses, and my community to ensure that I was successful. A single person is only as successful as the team with which they surround themselves. Allow me to now be a part of the team that helps the federation grow over the next four years. I will work tirelessly to ensure that we protect our athletes by providing fair and just competitions; that all our members are kept up to date with important information; and that the USA-NKF blossoms into the incredible organization that everyone will want to be a part of.

With Respect Always,
Sean Watkins
USA-NKF member 17325