In fact, Kate Roin ’06 can do much more than explain these aspects of karate. Having studied the sport for 11 years, Roin is the reigning national champion in both divisions of karate. This past July, Roin took first place in the 18-year-old age division in both the Kumite and Kata divisions at the U.S. Nationals in Salt Lake City, Utah.
While Kumite is a two minute match between opponents, Roin describes Kata as a set routine similar to ice skating or gymnastics. Roin’s finish in Salt Lake City was strong enough to land her a spot on the Adult National Team and, consequently, a trip to St. Petersberg, Russia in June 2003 to compete in the World Championships.
Despite a number of honors and awards and traveling to various places such as Hungary, Japan and Spain to compete, Roin has found moments outside competition as lasting as the ones on the mat. When asked about her greatest moment in karate, she didn’t name any of her individual national titles but instead spoke of a time when she witnessed the smiles of children from Kosovo. Roin was competing in Hungary in 1999 when the war between Kosovo and Yugoslavia was ending.
“The kids from Kosovo wanted to take pictures with us. They kept cheering for us,” she said. This behavior touched Roin because she said that she has found many countries which harbor anti-American sentiments. “The Kosovo children just wanted to be with us; it was very different,” she said.
Roin loves the individual side of her sport. “If you mess up you know it is your fault. I love the mental aspect of it,” she said. “It gives you focus and discipline that you cannot find in other places.”