LM Karate turns out top-notch competitors

LM Karate Academy, which has been run for past 23 years by Robert Silverman, is now located just outside the Lake Monticello Turkeysag gate on Route 53. Silverman has been turning out championship competitors for all these years. This year, LM Karate took an astonishing 20 competitors to the National competitions in Reno, Nev.

The National competition determines the athletes that will qualify to represent the United States at the Pan Am games, which will be held in Brazil Aug. 19-25. The top three competitors in each category of competition qualify. The top two go as competitors and the third as an alternate.

LM Karate gained three of these coveted slots. Gage Silverman finished first in the country in the 18-20 year old lightweight Kumate competition. This is the fighting competition that fans are most familiar with. The competitors compete before a total of five judges, one in the ring and one at each corner of the ring, who determine the outcome of the match based on strikes by the competitors.

Silverman finished third in his two prior tries at the National level, and although his father and coach wanted him to coach this year rather than compete, he insisted that he wanted one more try, This time he succeeded, and as a result, he will miss his first week of college to compete in Brazil.

Alexa Lewandowski finished second in the country in lightweight 12-13 age group, also in the Kumate discipline. Sara Day gained alternate status, finishing third in the 14-15-year-old middle weight category.

At Nationals, the LM Karate team garnered four gold medals, five silver medals and nine bronze medals.

Silverman joked that at National competitions other coaches from big metropolitan centers of Karate training such as Chicago, Miami and Honolulu ask, “Where is Palmyra, Va.? I can’t find it on a map.”

Silverman currently has approximately 130 students. These students range in age from Little Dragons, who are 2-4 years of age, to adults. In addition to Kumate, there are classes in Shotokan, Japanese-style karate; Kobodo, which is training with weapons; and Kata, which is training in very precise karate forms of movement. There are also classes in aerobic kick boxing.

Silverman calls his competition-level classes “Team Intense.” Clearly, not all students can achieve a level of competence that allows them to compete at the national level. However, Silverman said that karate training can be extremely valuable in teaching students discipline, focus and fitness. All of these are valuable in later life. He does not emphasize winning matches; instead, he emphasizes being as fully prepared as possible. “If you are fully prepared, you are more likely to win than to lose,” he said.

Silverman takes a number of his Team Intense students to competitions in Virginia and all over the U.S. In local competitions, against other Virginia-based competitors from the Richmond area and the Virginia Beach area, LM Karate competitors have achieved outstanding results, consistently outshining the Virginia competition. From local competitions LM Karate competitors go on to Regional competition, and from those competitions they proceed to the national competitions.

Silverman said that his Team Intense competitors need to find competitions all around the country to keep their skills sharpened.

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