Announcing Winners in National Karate Tournament at the Cordova Family YMCA

posted Apr 19, 2013, 10:54 PM by Steven Ethridge   [ updated Apr 20, 2013, 11:01 AM ]

Kids and families win as families practice karate together at a local communinty YMCA
All Tournament Winners
PRLog (Press Release) - Apr. 19, 2013 - CORDOVA, Tenn. -- Rebekka Schmidt, age 10, won first place in the children's division of a national karate tournament this past Saturday, April 13.  

The event, held at the Cordova Family YMCA, was Memphis Shotokan's Third Annual Sparring (Jiyu Kumite) Seminar and Tournament.   It was hosted by Memphis Shotokan's affiliate school, Cordova Shotokan Karate, which holds classes at the Cordova Family YMCA.  

Rebecca has been training at Cordova Shotokan Karate for about a year and a half.  Her karate instructors are Dojo Leader, Steve Ethridge and Assistant Leader William Ragin.  Both Steve and William are Black Belts in Shotokan Karate of America (SKA).  SKA ( is the oldest karate organization in America and one of the best respected in the world.

Christina Leschhorn, age 9, placed second in the children's division.  Her sister, Daniela Leschhorn, age 8, placed third.  They train in karate, along with their parents, Charles and Karen Leschhorn, at Memphis Shotokan.  "We've been taking karate classes together as a whole family for about three years.  Training in karate together as a family will help you build a strong, healthy, happy family," said Charles.

Two local area adults also placed in the top two in their divisions.  Charles Leschhorn, the father of Christina and Daniela, placed second in the men's White and Brown Belt Division.  Keith Kirk placed first in the Men's Black Belt Division.  Like Charles, Keith’s wife and two daughters have also trained in karate with him for many years. “Karate will help you raise kids to have strong character” And that’s something our society needs more of today,” Keith said.

"Rebekka Schmidt has a natural talent for karate and she is very focused and determined to excel," Steve said.  "She is a joy to teach and is exciting to watch when she competes.  I couldn't be more proud of her as a karate student," he said.  Her parents are John and Teresa Schmidt.  Her dad, John, and siblings, Samantha and John, III also have trained in karate together.

This was a national tournament attended by 38 participants from 9 states. Adult winners qualified to participate in SKA's annual international karate tournament as part of the Nisei Week festivities during early August in Los Angeles.  SKA is a world-class organization that has affiliate schools in over 100 U.S. cities and has affiliate schools in 117 countries.  

"Our local tournament has grown each year and has become very popular among both participants and spectators," said Bobby Bird, Dojo Leader of Memphis Shotokan, who is a Fourth Degree Black Belt (Yodan) in SKA.  "We really appreciate getting to hold this exciting and important event in Cordova Family YMCA's excellent facility," Bobby said.

The address of the Cordova Family YMCA is 7950 Club Center Cove Cordova, TN 38018.  For more information about karate classes held at the Cordova Family YMCA contact Cordova Shotokan Karate at 901-331-7026 or online at  For more information about classes held in Collierville contact Memphis Shotokan at 901-230-7063 or online at


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National Tournament, April 12-13, 2013

posted Feb 28, 2013, 9:09 PM by Steven Ethridge   [ updated Apr 6, 2013, 4:28 AM ]

NEWS RELEASE                                                                        

Contact Name: Steve Ethridge

Contact Phone: 901-331-7026

Ancient Japanese Cultural Event Comes to Cordova Traditional Martial Arts Karate Tournament

(Press with cameras welcome)

(Cordova, TN, April 6, 2013)   Just imagine: ancient Japanese warriors — skilled martial artists — battling it out, in hand-to-hand combat.  And you get to watch up close, without any harm to yourself.  That's what you'll get to see, hear and feel when you come to watch Memphis Shotokan's Third Sparring (Jiyu Kumite) Seminar and Tournament, April 12 and 13, 2013 at the Cordova Family YMCA (for related video click here.).

Come and see high level Black Belts from across the country train and demonstrate their realistic, fascinating fighting skills.  See their fearless mental focus.  Hear the sounds of their powerful, empty-hand combat.  Get a feel for real, traditional Japanese martial arts.

Cultural arts groups in metro areas like Memphis often pay “big money” to bring in cross-cultural events to broaden the education and international relations of its citizens — at high ticket prices to the viewing public.  Yet, this rare, ancient Japanese cultural event will be free to the viewing public.

This tournament will be sponsored by local affiliates of one of the oldest and best respected karate organizations in the world, headed by the first karate master to bring karate from Japan to the U.S. and start an official karate school (dojo) in 1954, Mr. Tsutomu Ohshima.  Mr. Ohshima is world renowned as one of the few remaining top students of the founder of Shotokan karate, Master Gichin Funikoshi.  In 1957 Mr. Ohshima received his Fifth Degree Black Belt (Godan) rank from Master Funakoshi, the highest rank awarded by Master Funakoshi and still the highest rank achievable by Mr. Ohshima’s nonprofit organization, Shotokan Karate of America (SKA).  Black Belt Magazine describes Mr. Ohshima as "a legend in his own time.”[1]  Karate/Kung Fu Illustrated Magazine agrees, calling him "a living martial arts legend."[2]  Shotokan Magazine says he is "one of the most senior Shotokan masters in the world."[3]  SKA has schools (dojos) in over 100 U.S. cities and affiliate schools in 17 countries worldwide.  All SKA Black Belts are directly ranked under Mr. Ohshima. 

This exciting event will be conducted by two of SKA's local affiliate schools, Memphis Shotokan and Cordova Shotokan Karate.  The event will be led by Memphis Shotokan's Dojo Leader, Fourth Degree Black Belt (Yodan), Robert Bird.  The event will be hosted by Cordova Shotokan Karate and its Dojo Leader, Black Belt Steve Ethridge.   

The tournament will include separate competition divisions for children, adult females, and adult males, ranging in rank from White Belt beginners to the most advanced Black Belts.  While the seminar and tournament are both free for members of the public to come and view, participation in the seminar practice and tournament will be limited to include only current Members of SKA.

The event will be at Cordova Family YMCA on April 12 and 13, 2013.  The seminar will begin at 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. on Friday, April 12. (Friday night is optional for out-of-town participants).  The main practice will begin Saturday April 13 at 10:00 a.m.  The tournament will be from 2:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m.   The address is 7950 Club Center Cove Cordova, TN 38018.  For more information contact Memphis Shotokan (901-230-7063, or Cordova Shotokan Karate (901-331-7026, or

[1] Sulak, Tom, (July, 1975), “Tsutomu Ohshima,” Black Belt Magazine.

[2] Beaver, William, ( “Kata, Tournaments and Personal Honesty: An Interview with Funakoshi student Tsutomu Ohshima,” Karate/Kung Fu Illustrated Magazine.

[3] Cheetham, John, (Issue 85, October, 2005), Editorial in cover issue of Shotokan Karate Magazine, titled: “Tsutomu Ohshima, ‘Strict Eyes,’ A Lifetime Dedicated to the Preservation of Traditional Karate-Do.”

Second Annual Sparring (Jiyu Kumite) Practice and Tournament

posted Jan 18, 2012, 9:16 PM by Steven Ethridge   [ updated Jan 18, 2012, 9:17 PM ]

Cordova Shotokan Karate will be hosting Memphis Shotokan's Second Annual Sparring (Jiyu Kumite) Practice and Tournament March 9 and 10, 2012. Spectators are welcome. Please click on the following flyer for more details.

August 13, 2011 Memphis Area SKA Exchange Practice

posted Aug 3, 2011, 9:09 PM by Steven Ethridge   [ updated Aug 3, 2011, 9:10 PM ]

Cordova Shotokan Karate will host an Exchange Practice between our dojo and Memphis Shotokan on Saturday, August 13 at the Cordova Family YMCA.  Practice will be held from from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon (with appropriate breaks). While the practice is open only for students of Cordova Shotokan Karate and Memphis Shotokan, the members of the public who are interested in karate may observe. Black Belts will be available afterward to answer visitors' questions.

Memphis Area Black Belt Practice

posted Aug 3, 2011, 9:02 PM by Steven Ethridge   [ updated Aug 3, 2011, 9:13 PM ]

Cordova Shotokan Karate's local affiliate SKA dojo, Memphis Shotokan, will host a Black Belt Practice on August 20, 2011 at Christ the Rock Church, 8800 Winchester Road. Practice will be from 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

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