Karate students excel at national festival

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Award winners Sean Oulashin, Jordan Johnson and Miranda Dean practice correct form while doing front kicks. At the U.S. Soo Bahk Do National Festival July 19, Oulashin placed first in sparring and second in forms for his age group, Johnson and Oulashin participated in festival demonstrations, and Dean placed second in sparring.

A group of Camas students kicked their way to success at the U.S. Soo Bahk Do National Festival July 19 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Soo Bahk Do is a Korean martial art noted for its explosive style of kicking and hand striking.

Sean Oulashin placed first in sparring and second in forms in the black belt division for 15- to 17-year-olds; Miranda Dean placed second in sparring in the 15 to 17 division; and Oulashin and Jordan Johnson participated in creative demonstrations for festival participants and guests.

They are students at Camas Soo Bahk Do, also known as Camas Karate.

“It was cool to experience the festival for the first time and to see people from across the United States, and even from around the world,” said Johnson.

Soo Bahk Do has been a part of this trio’s lives for many years. Johnson, age 18, has been practicing the martial art for seven years.

Oulashin, 17, began training when he was only 4-years-old. He was guided by his mother, Master Anna Oulashin, who is the chief instructor at Camas Karate alongside Master Charles Smith and assistant instructor Helen Bagnall.

Martial arts also runs in the family for 17-year-old Dean.

“My dad did martial arts,” she said. “Not the same kind, but I wanted to try it. We found this studio in 2006 and I’ve stuck with it ever since.”

Camas Karate was founded in 1990 by Robert Shipley III, who began his Soo Bahk Do study in 1960 while stationed in Korea with the Air Force.

Soo Bahk Do teaches students to wield more than just physical power, it seeks to build character. Students are taught mental control, focus and balance through rigorous training and strong philosophy. Oulashin said there’s much more to Soo Bahk Do than the physical aspect.

“There’s a lot of philosophy that can be applied outside of martial arts,” he said. “One of the most important things I’ve learned over the years is to avoid conflict.”

Oulashin and his fellow students will continue to learn and progress, as they all plan to keep martial arts in their lives for a long time to come.

And, for Camas Soo Bahk Do, its tradition of “building better communities one student at a time” will continue through these teenagers.

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