December 14, 2010 — University of Wyoming Karate Club instructor and Outreach Technology Services technician Ben Froidevaux won a bronze medal at the recent 2010 Basel Open Karate Masters International Karate Tournament held on December 11–12 in Frenkendorf, Switzerland just outside of Basel. There were over 560 competitors from 15 countries participating at the tournament, including National team members from France, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Luxembourg, Russia, Turkmenistan and Switzerland. Now training with élite members of the Swiss National Karate Team, Froidevaux (a fifth degree black belt originally from Neuchatel, Switzerland) represented his native country in the Veteran’s Division (ages 40–50) in both Kata (forms) and Kumite (sparring). Froidevaux was awarded a bronze medal (3rd place) for Kumite and also placed 4th in Kata.
“It’s very interesting and educational to experience the differences of martial arts competition in Europe and the USA”, says Froidevaux (a 3-time State Games of America National karate champion) who also holds multiple regional and Wyoming state titles in karate and fencing. “Like in the USA, the European tournament organizers and referees are strict, with well-enforced rules for the safety of the participants, which limits the numbers of injuries that can happen”, according to Froidevaux. “Although the karate styles are similar to those in the USA, the choice of Katas in competition is standardized and the level of difficulty and performance is very high, which makes for great spirited competition, international camaraderie, and an enthusiastic fan-based atmosphere of friendly rivalry much like that at a good football or basketball game.”