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Local woman displays golden form

Cynthia Soszka won the gold medal in intermediate Kenpo forms at the International Karate Championships in Long Beach.
Submitted pic |

Cynthia Soszka began studying at Grass Valley Kenpo Family Karate in 2011, shortly after the school opened, and currently holds the rank of Green Belt.

Soszka is an unlikely first time student; she initially started in the school’s ladies cardio kickboxing class just to get in shape. She quickly became curious about studying Kenpo Karate.

“It was kind of funny, she started asking us how old the average student was when they began taking karate, we told her 10 years old, but anyone can start at any time,” said David Garcia, owner/head instructor of Grass Valley Kenpo Family Karate. “You could tell early on that Cynthia has a tremendous drive to challenge herself, not everyone has the drive to take this all the way, it’s a long road, a lot of hard work and can be very intimidating. She has a lot going on, a beautiful family and a career, which makes her commitment even more impressive. We always joke that you have to be a little strange to put yourself through this, but she definitely has what it takes.”



Soszka showed just how far she has come this past weekend at the 50th Annual International Karate Championships.

The IKCs were first held in August 1964 by Kenpo Grandmaster Ed Parker. Many great tournament fighters earned their stripes at this tournament, including Chuck Norris, Joe Lewis, Benny “The Jet” Urquidez, Billy Blanks, and “Superfoot” Bill Wallace, to name but a few. The Long Beach Internationals is also where Bruce Lee was first introduced to the martial arts community in August 1964.




This was Soszka’s first International competition and she competed in the Intermediate Kenpo forms division against men and women. She initially tied for first place and had to do a runoff for the gold medal.

“There was a lot of pressure and it is exhausting to do a form at that level, both forms were clean and strong,” said Jakki Garcia, co-owner/instructor at Grass Valley Kenpo Family Karate. “She did a great Job, we are very proud to have her represent our school.”

This was Soszka’s second tournament; the first was in 2013 at the Scott Halsey Karate Championships in Redding, where she took first place in fighting and second place in forms.

Soszka will be doing her gold medal form at the Nevada County Fair where Grass Valley Kenpo Family Karate is schedule to do their third annual demonstration at 7 p.m. Friday on the dance pad.

This submission was provided by David Garcia who owns and operates Grass Valley Kenpo Family Karate.


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