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Martial arts teacher approaching milestone tournament

Keldy  Ortiz

By Keldy Ortiz
July 25, 2013 at 2:25 a.m.

Ralph Jaschke, 62, of Victoria, right, demonstrates how to hit with Goliad's Bryce Ousley, 15, during  practice at the American Karate Institute on Thursday.

Ralph Jaschke enjoys helping kids develop new skills. It never gets old.

The karate instructor has been at it for decades, working with students and hosting his seasonal tournament here in Victoria. All of it is adding up to a special anniversary this fall.

This Saturday will be the 99th time Jaschke has hosted his Texas Four Seasons Karate tournament, playing host to martial artists from around the Coastal Bend and from San Antonio.

"To my knowledge, no one has hosted four tournaments (a year) for 25 years," said Jaschke, who is in charge of the tournament. "I'll do it until I absolutely can't do it."

The sport, though, is old hat for him. He's been a part of martial arts since the late 1960s.

Billy Swinney, a friend of Jaschke who runs a martial arts gym in Refugio, said he tries to bring his students to Victoria for the Four Seasons tournament.

He has been involved in martial arts for 38 years, whether as a teacher or competing himself.

"It's a family environment, more like a family reunion," Swinney said. "It's a confidence builder for students."

The event, Jaschke said, is open to kids 4 and older. Competitors will be separated by age and by fighting form. Students from different stages in martial arts will come and participate.

The event should not, however, scare away those who are just getting started in learning karate.

"It's a great beginners tournament," he said. "It gives kids an opportunity to build their confidence."

Added Swinney: "It's a perfect starter tournament for them. It's a well run, fun tournament."



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