James Lee School of Champions wins two dozen national karate titles | VailDaily.com

James Lee School of Champions wins two dozen national karate titles

EAGLE — James Lee's School of Champions rolled into Albuquerque, New Mexico for a national karate tournament and rolled out with enough trophies, medals and hardware to outfit a brass factory.

The Eagle-based martial arts school brought back 21 division titles, two grand champion titles — Nolan Emrich and Julian Higgins — and a special award for Joseph Lee, who is undefeated for the last four years.

"James Lee's students always do well in forms, fighting and weapons," said Cathy Davis, one of the national directors for the United States Karate Alliance. "His students will place, if not win, in their divisions."

The United States Karate Alliance is the successor to the oldest organization that governs martial arts in the United States, and is open to all styles of martial arts. It governs multiple state and regional competitions, including the national tournament in Albuquerque.

champion in the making

Not only has Joseph Lee won all his fights at nationals for the last four years, he has also won all his fights at worlds, Davis said.

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To qualify for the Albuquerque national tournament, competitors must finish in the top four in state and regional tournaments.

For the Albuquerque tournament, division title winners compete for grand champion.

Emrich won his grand champion title in kata, or forms.

Higgins won his two grand champion titles, also in forms.

For dispatching all comers for four years, Joseph Lee was presented the James Hawkes Memorial Award, named for the co-founder of the United States Karate Alliance.

There's no secret to getting this good, James Lee said.

"Joe has been training hard, five days a week, two to three hours a day," James Lee said. "He's excited to be a national champion."

The goal is to qualify for the U.S. national team and hopefully, one day, compete in the Junior Olympics, for competitors 12-17 years old.

James Lee started his school in 1998 in East Vail. Since then the school has expanded and grown, migrating to Eagle in its current location in Eagle Ranch.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

Local Results from the 2017 United States Karate Alliance National Championships

Albers, Lauryn

1st 8-9 M/F Beginning Kata

2nd 9 and under Weapons

1st 8-9 Girls Beginning Kumite

Barthuly, Dalton

2nd Black Belt Men Kata

2nd Ippon Ippon

1st Black Belt Men Kumite

3rd Black Belt Men Weapons

Batson, Charity

2nd Novice Women Kumite

2nd Ippon Ippon

1st Novice Women Kata

Batson, Christopher

2nd 9 and under Weapons

Beckwith, Mishko

1st Chanbara Chanbara

2nd 6-7 M/F Beginning Kata

2nd Ippon Ippon

Bourke, Zachary

4th 10-11 Boys Beginning Kumite

Bradshaw, Britt

3rd Chanbara Chanbara

Brown, Barrett

3rd Special Needs (non-point) Special Needs

3rd Special Needs (non-point) Special Needs

3rd Special Needs (non-point) Special Needs

Brown, Emma

4th 10-11 Girls Beginning Kumite

Emrich, Nolan

3rd Ippon Ippon

1st 10-11 M/F Beginning Kata

1st Chanbara Chanbara

Grand Grand Champion Kata

1st 10-11 Boys Beginning Kumite

Felan, Samantha

2nd 10-13 Youth Weapons

2nd 10-11 Girls Advanced Kumite

Fields, Ric

2nd Black Belt Men Weapons

Garduno, Max

3rd Ippon Ippon

3rd Chanbara Chanbara

1st 6-7 M/F Advanced Kata

2nd 6-7 M/F Advanced Kumite

Higgins, Julian

3rd Chanbara Chanbara

1st 10-11 M/F Intermediate Kata

2nd 10-13 Youth Weapons

Grand Champion Kata

1st Ippon Ippon

1st 10-11 Boys Intermediate Kumite

Hooper, Carson

2nd Chanbara Chanbara

Hooper, Finn

2nd 8-9 Boys Beginning Kumite

Leach, Annika

1st Ippon Ippon

2nd 12-13 M/F Advanced Kata

3rd 12-13 Girls Advanced Kumite

Lee, Amanda

2nd Black Belt Women Kumite

3rd Black Belt Women Kata

Lee, Joseph

1st Ippon Ippon

1st 12-13 Boys Advanced Kumite

1st 10-13 Youth Weapons

3rd 12-13 M/F Advanced Kata

Lee, Savanna

4th 10-11 Girls Advanced Kumite

2nd 10-11 M/F Intermediate Kata

Margerum, Serenity

3rd 8-9 Girls Beginning Kumite

3rd Chanbara Chanbara

3rd 8-9 M/F Beginning Kata

1st Ippon Ippon

Mihaylov, Vasil

4th 10-11 Boys Intermediate Kumite

Mitzel, Mahlon

3rd 14-15 Boys Advanced Kumite

Packer, William

2nd Chanbara Chanbara

Reilly, Ginger

2nd Ippon Ippon

4th 8-9 Girls Beginning Kumite

Shull, Maddox

3rd 10-11 Boys Intermediate Kumite

3rd 10-11 M/F Intermediate Kata

Stone, Ansley

1st 14-15 Girls Advanced Kumite

2nd 14-15 M/F Advanced Kata

Stone, Tobin

4th 14-15 M/F Advanced Kata

3rd Ippon Ippon

2nd 14-15 Boys Advanced Kumite

Witt, Paul

4th Ippon Ippon

4th Black Belt Men Kumite

3rd Black Belt Men Weapons

Witt, Sebastian

2nd 14-17 Teen Weapons

1st 14-15 Boys Advanced Kumite

2nd 14-15 M/F Advanced Kata

1st Ippon Ippon

Worley, Zoey Hyatt

1st 10-11 Girls Advanced Kumite

3rd Ippon