Aiming to keep national title

Mission’s Reid Lofstrom heads to Montreal next month for a national competition.

Mission’s Reid Lofstrom heads to Montreal next month for a national competition.

A Mission karate student is returning to the nationals next month after placing third provincially.

Reid Lofstrom, 16, will accompany the Karate B.C. team to Montreal, Que. in March where she hopes to hold on to her national sparring title, and shake off her last performance in January where she lost her first fight in well over a year.

The Mission Secondary School black belt, a well-composed and confident competitor, had a momentary lapse in her last bout where one too many penalties resulted in her losing the match and taking home third place Jan. 23 at BCIT.

To prepare for next month, the seasoned fighter is refining some techniques and combinations, but focusing more on bringing up her intensity level.

Lofstrom’s skills were recently rewarded after Karate B.C. named her the top junior female for sparring, which is given to those exhibiting exceptional competitive spirit and sportsmanship.

The isshin-ryu practitioner has been studying karate for 10 years and has held her shodan (first level of black belt) for four years.

“Karate is something I love because you have to know yourself,” she explained. “It teaches confidence, discipline and self-respect.”

Lofstrom said the ancient martial art allows her to express herself, but on a simpler level, admits with a smile “I just love fighting.”

The Grade 11 student trains four days a week with the Burnaby Karate Academy under the direction of Senseis Sandeep Gill and Nicole Poirier, and teaches at the Mission Isshin Ryu school on Saturdays.