Thursday, January 31, 2008

Oates' Olympic dream is fading

A SUCCESSFUL Cynon Valley karate club has picked up silverware at the British Individual Championships.

The Aberdare Shotokan Karate Club saw members Michael Caviell and Alex Labanciw impress at the Karate Union of Great Britain’s Individual Championships.

Michael Caviell (2nd Dan) fought his way through a number of hard rounds, beating fellow members of the Welsh squad and a few of the English squad on the way.

Michael’s victory means the Caviell family now have two British champions – his brother Marc won a few years ago in the junior category.

It was very nearly an all-Aberdare final, as Michael’s club-mate Alex Labanciw (2nd Dan) was narrowly beaten by Kai Stroud in the semi-final and had to settle for third place. This was an excellent performance by Labanciw, who has been getting steadily better over the past few years and is waiting patiently for his major title.

The Aberdare Shotokan Karate Club is the longest-established martial arts club in the Cynon Valley.

In more than 30 years of practice, it has produced more than 50 black belts, numerous Welsh champions, four world and European medallists, and four British champions.

l The Aberdare Shotokan Karate club trains at the Michael Sobell Sports Centre, Aberdare, each Tuesday and Friday from 7-9pm. New members are always welcome.


McDonough tries out mixed martial arts

There are a lot of collegiate sports to participate in, but for SCSU student Adam McDonough, he had to go elsewhere to perform.

McDonough, 22, goes to the American Combat Academy where he trains in mixed martial arts fighting. McDonough fights professionally with Damage Inc. Fighting Team and is in his fourth year as a finance major at SCSU.

McDonough started his fighting career at the age of 5 in Tae Kwon Do, making black belt by the age of 10. He then switched over to wrestling in middle school and high school.

McDonough planned on wrestling in college. He attended North Dakota State, but hurt his knee freshman year and transferred to SCSU, where he came across mixed martial arts.

"It was a whole new style of wrestling. It was intriguing," McDonough said.

His father, Ron McDonough, did not share the same enthusiasm right away.

"I was a little scared right away, but I learned about the rules and regulations about the sport," Ron McDonough said. "I know he'll get a broken nose, but he'll walk out of the ring."

McDonough trains six days a week. He lifts weights in the morning and has live fight training in the afternoon. Each session of training runs an hour or two.

Josh Froelich, 25, trains with McDonough and said he has trained with a lot of guys, but thinks McDonough's dedication and intensity in the gym has made him easy to train with.

"I have trained with a lot of different guys. Some guys don't go that hard during training," Froelich said. "We are not surprised when we get hit during a match because how we train."

Froelich said McDonough has great cage control through grappling, but he is more of a ground and pound style fighter.

"He hurts people to the point were they want to tap out in submission," he said.

Mixed martial arts fighting has also taught McDonough time management. He puts school first over fighting and works at American Family Insurance as an intern as well.

"I take a lot of naps to get by," McDonough said.

McDonough and trainer Cylde Lewis said education comes before fighting. McDonough will not have another fight until exams are over.

"In any athletic endeavors you need an education," Lewis said.

Ron said his son's grades have improved since he started fighting. He attributes the improved grades from the discipline and focus of fighting.

The future looks bright for McDonough in mixed martial arts. Lewis said they will focus on the mid level regional and national events first.

"It is still early in his career, we don't want to get ahead of ourselves," Lewis said. "We need to groom his record and bring him up slow."

McDonough said his goal is to be in the UFC in the next two years. He said mixed martial arts is a humbling sport, so he knows he needs to keep focus.

Lewis wants to get him in either Bodog or WEC in the next 18 months, but nothing major will happen until McDonough gets his degree.

"I have more to learn and I want to keep going at it. I want to take this to the limit," he said.

McDonough will be competing April 17 in St. Cloud in the 170 lb. division of a mixed martial arts tournament.