Laramie resident and UW employee places in Swiss Karate Tournament

Photo Courtesy Ben Froidevaux

UW Martial Artist Medals at Swiss International Karate Tournament (Oct. 29, 2011)

University of Wyoming Karate Club instructor and Outreach Technology Services technician Ben Froidevaux won silver and bronze medals at the recent 2011 Basel Open Karate Masters International Karate Tournament held on October 29-30 in Basel, Switzerland.

Currently training with the Swiss National karate team, Froidevaux (a fifth-degree black belt) represented Switzerland in the Veteran’s Categorie (ages 40+) in both Kata (forms) and Kumite (sparring). Froidevaux was awarded a silver medal (second place) for Kata and a bronze medal (third place) for Kumite.  He was among over 660 competitors from 21 different nations participating at the tournament.

“Martial arts sporting events here in Europe are amazing!  The international tournaments bring together a diversity of athletes from various countries, cultures and religions, and the large number of competitors constantly helps raise the high level of difficulty, allowing for a constant evolution and improvement of athletic performance within the martial arts.  Such tournaments also provide opportunities for athletes from developing countries to perform in an international arena, and thereby receive recognition (and often monetary compensation) to help them in their athletic careers.  The fans are equally competitive in their spirited support for their respective country’s athletes, with shouts of approval (or disapproval) often being heard in 15-20 different languages, and there’s a great enthusiastic atmosphere of friendly rivalry and international camaraderie.”

A UW karate instructor from 2005-2010, Froidevaux now works as a sports instructor and stuntman in Switzerland, regularly competing in karate and fencing tournaments.  He also teaches traditional martial arts that focus on self-improvement, physical conditioning and character development.

“Although competition is not a focus in traditional martial arts, tournament participation is a fun option available to students,” he says.  “As most traditional martial artists no longer need to use their fighting skills on a battlefield (as in ancient times), contemporary martial arts tournaments can provide a great opportunity
to test one’s physical abilities and mental focus alongside peer competitors while putting into application martial theory, strategy and philosophy all in a safe, controlled environment with specified rules as enforced by a panel of qualified referees and judges. Tournament competition is also a great way to help develop traditional virtues such as spirit, discipline, self-confidence, respect and camaraderie.”

Photo Courtesy Ben Froidevaux