For the students of the Ultimate Karate and Fitness center in east Cobb, it’s a style that has helped them win national championships.
Ultimate Karate and Fitness sent eight competitors to last month’s USA National Karate Championships and Team Trials in Greenville, S.C., and came away with 14 medals — eight golds, four silvers and two bronzes.
Jon Payne, the coach and team captain, was joined in Greenville by coach Melanie Ziegenmeyer, Harshita Khazanchi and Myleene Santos Mena, as well as Mena’s children, Alex and Andrew.
“We have been in the Marietta community for 11 years,” Ziegenmeyer said in an email. “The head instructor at the school, Shihan ‘Sean’ Lamei, is a seventh (degree) in Shotokan and has instructed over 5,000 students.”
Payne took home silver in the style-specific kata as well as in all-around kata, while Ziegenmeyer won gold in style-specific kata and kumite.
Khazanchi, an 8-year-old competing in her first national karate event, earned silver in beginner kumite.
Mena and her sons, 7-year-old Andrew and 9-year-old Alex, combined to capture nine of the team’s 14 medals. They won gold in the family kata beginner-novice division, while Myleene Santos Mena also won gold in style-specific beginner kata and all-around beginner kata.
Alex Mena took home gold in the style-specific novice kata and bronze in all-around novice kata. His brother grabbed silver in style-specific novice kata and bronze in all-around novice kata.