By David Healy
CCN Sports Editor
Jo Anne Wurdemann didn't know what to expect when she walked on the mat last month to compete in the 16th World Kubota Karate Cup Tournament in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Before the tournament started, she was a wreck.
Wurdemann, who practices at the Berryville Community Center, had plenty of success competing at smaller karate tournaments. But she knew this was the World Cup and the competition would be a lot stiffer. Here she would be competeing against some of the best karate practitioners in the world.
To make matters worse, Wurdemann made the trip alone. There were no friends to give words of encouragement or coaches to help settle her nerves.
"As the time drew closer I grew more nervous and I had to tell myself that this is just another tournament," Wurdemann recalled.
But finally she was able to relax, which is the very reason she began studying karate a few years ago. The practice and the years of training had taught her how to handle stress and pressure.
When it was all finished, Wurdemann had surpassed her wildest expectations, taking home three nice trophies from the event. She won two second-place trophies -- one in movement attacks and defense and one in weapons -- and one third-place trophy in sparring.
Wurdemann, 46, defeated many more experienced competitors. A green belt, Wurdemann did better in one competition than a couple of brown belts and a black belt, one of the highest ranks a karate student can achieve.
Along with the trophies, Wurdemann also received praise from her competitors and judges. By the end of the event, she had made a number of new friends.
"It was definitely a great experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat," she said.
Wurdemann's karate instructor in Berryville, Fred Anderson, said he was not surprised to hear that his pupil did so well. "It took a lot of guts for her to go up there all by herself," Anderson said. "Jo Anne has worked really hard and she has accomplished so much in the short time she has been in the sport."
Wurdemann would like to thank everyone who donated money for her to make the trip.