Peoria Hosts International Karate Tournament

By Joe Bennett

June 19, 2011 Updated Jun 19, 2011 at 10:23 PM CDT

Martial artists from all over the world fought for a championship title in a Karate federation founded in Peoria.

The United States Karate-Do Kai hosted it's 27th annual championship at the Riverplex.

Phillip Koeppel formed the USKK in 1982, inviting international members and contenders.

He says despite a low turn-out from the poor economy, the competition has grown since the early days of American martial arts

"When I came here in 1960 no one even heard or knew what the word was, and through the Bruce Lee era and everything it's become quite popular today," says Koeppel. "Competition gives the student the opportunity to present what he knows and do it as well as he can and be judged by his peers."

About 200 members competed, but Koeppel says there should be twice that amount.

Today's black belt grand champion took away a trophy and a $500 award.

To submit a comment on this article, your email address is required. We respect your privacy and your email will not be visible to others nor will it be added to any email lists.