Coxsackie natives Dillon and Jordane Hynes traveled to Raleigh, North Carolina to compete against 1,600 athletes from across the nation at the Amateur Athletic Union Karate National Championships recently and didn’t come home empty handed, with the sibling tandem earning bronze medals.
Dillon competed in Kumite — freestyle sparring — and placed third amongst 28 others in the Age 13 Division. Recently turning 13, Dillon’s fellow competitors were close to turning 14 and had a distinct size advantage on the Coxsackie product, but that didn’t slow him down.
Competing in five rounds of Kumite, Dillon lost just one round to secure himself a bronze medal.
As for Jordane, 10, she competed in Kata, which is a prearranged series of basic techniques designed around an perceived confrontation with one or several opponents. She competed in the Age 10 Division and placed third, as well, taking home a bronze medal of her own.
“I am so proud of them,” Lisa Hynes, Dillon and Jordane’s mother, said. “I was just happy for them to even want to do that, to take on the challenge and go down to somewhere where they are not familiar with. There’s nobody else with them, they had no coaches with them, no schools and they were competing at this high level and then to even come home and medal, it was amazing.”
After competing in individual Kumite, Dillon’s time at the National Championships was far from over.
The 13-year-old was asked to compete in Team Kumite by a student from Sensei Fumio DeMura’s Dojo who worked as Mr. Miyagi’s stunt double and worked with Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris. Dillon agreed.
This is the first year Team Kumite was introduced as an event at the AAU Karate National Championships. Team Kumite is three fighters sparring for six minutes and the team with the most points at the end wins. Despite Dillon’s team losing, he competed well and proved his worth by scoring three of five points.
The journey to Raleigh for Dillon and Jordane started at the Regional Championships. Jordane competed in the Niagara Regionals and Dillon at the New Jersey Regionals.
At Niagara, Jordane captured a silver medal in Kata and also competed in Kumite, where she took home a bronze medal. Capturing two top three finishes, she punched her ticket to the National Championships in Raleigh.
Dillon traveled to New Jersey to compete in Kumite and took home a silver medal to qualify for the National Championships.
“We were jumping up and down, my husband and I. Jumping up and down and cheering for them,” Hynes said of the moment her children qualified for the National Championships. “We were so happy for them, just to see their faith and hard work. It shows that their hard work all year, and all of these years, just proves that they have what it takes to compete at such a high level of competition.”
The hard work started eight-and-a-half years ago when Dillon was just four-and-a-half years old.
“We live in Coxsackie and there was nothing for him to do around here until he was school age,” Hynes said. “My husband was looking for a place where he used to train, but they had closed down in Ravena, but they still had their dojo in Albany and it was the same teacher that taught him when he was 13 years old. He was still in business, so he was like, ‘Oh let’s go see if he would like to try this.’”
Dillon’s introduction to US Budokai Karate Association and Hanshi William J. Reid was a match made in heaven, and he immediately fell in love with the sport. The two have been training together for the last eight-and-a-half years and because Dillon loved it so much, Hynes and her husband decided to have Jordane join when she was five.
Just like her older brother, she fell in love with the sport, too.
Dillon and Jordane train at US Budokai two-to-three times a week, which is a stark contrast compared to the athletes they were competing against at the National Championships. Dillon discovered that athletes from teams such as Hawaii and Romania practice seven days a week and are not allowed to compete in any other sports. However, Dillon and Jordane play a variety of sports year-round.
Dillon plays baseball, basketball and football as Jordane competes in basketball and softball.
Despite their obligations to other sports, that will not prevent the brother-sister tandem from striving for excellence in karate, especially Dillon, who has big goals he’d like to achieve in the sport.
“Dillon’s goal is, now that karate has been added to the Olympics for 2020, that’s where he would like to go next,” Hynes said. “They’re already planning on working hard and training even harder to go back to Nationals next year, which will be held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.”
Up next for Dillon and Jordane is competing at the AAU Junior Olympic Games in Karate from Aug. 3-5 in Novi, Michigan.