Palisadian Tamar Springer took first in musical weapons, second in musical and traditional forms and third in traditional weapons at the Ocean State Nationals (a North American Sport Karate Association) tournament in Rhode Island in early April.
Springer, the competitor, was back.
She was 43 when she first stepped into Gerry Blanck’s dojo in the 881 Alma Real building. “I wanted a new hobby, something physical,” she said.
She started competing six months later under sensei Chris Wheeles, who was visiting from Alabama. “He called me one day and said, ‘mark your calendar, we’re going to a tournament,” said Springer, and before she could protest, he told her, “Trust your sensei.”
Springer captured first place in her initial tournament. “I did not want it to be a fluke, so I continued competing and kind of got a bug for it,” she said.
She continued for four years, but then just stopped three years ago. This year, Springer coached Skylar Saltzman, 13, Michael Gatto, 10, and Lily Kinnear, 13, at the annual World Martial Arts Championships in February. All placed.
“Training them inspired me,” Springer said. “I did one event there [musical weapons], won it, and that was kind of thrilling. I also connected with a high-level sensei who took notice of my karate, and he encouraged me to continue competing.”
Springer, a psychologist and the mother of two boys, Ariel, 11, and Gabe, 14, said, “I really wanted to up my level, especially as the tournament coach for Gerry’s dojo. In addition to it feeling great to be able to do this at this age (51), it’s very rewarding to work with the kids.
Springer plans to compete in June in the Battle of Atlanta.