Staff Report

Five students from the Sunshine Martial Arts karate school recently competed in the United Traditional Karate Alliance’s (UTKA) Florida State Championships. All five came home with gold medals. The UTKA honors traditional karate with very strict competition rules. This was the first time that Sunshine Martial Arts had participated in a UTKA event.

Teri Smith of Plant City captured the gold medal in 10-12 year old Novice Kata (forms) as well as a bronze medal in Kumite (fighting). Leif, Alec, and Kirk Tvenstrup of Riverview took home the gold in Team Kata, a synchronized version of the individual Kata competition. Kirk also took a silver medal in 10-12 year old Intermediate Kata and the bronze medal in Kumite.  The boys’ father, Brian Tvenstrup, took the gold medal in 35+ Novice Kata.

Associate Instructor, Steve Johnson said, “While competition is not the primary focus of the instruction provided at Sunshine Martial Arts, it is an important part of the student’s progression. It allows them to experience different styles, make new friends, and to see how their abilities align with others in their age group and rank level. The UTKA provides a very strict, traditional, and safe environment, much like one you would see in an international karate tournament. This was a first for our school and we could not be prouder of our students.”

Students will soon begin preparations for the UTKA National Championships in October to be held in Venice, Fla. 

Sunshine Martial Arts is located at 9426 Balm Riverview Rd. in Riverview, next to Four-Paws Veterinary Clinic. The school features training in American Tactical Goju karate, jujutsu, and aikido with an emphasis on self-defense and life skills. It is lead by master instructor Shihan Jim Chambers and his staff of associate instructors. 

Classes are held Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 6:30-8 p.m. and Saturday morning from 10:30-11:30 a.m. for ages eight and above. Interested parties are invited to stop by the school, observe a class, and speak with one of the instructors.

For more information, call 671-9867 or visit

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