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Local karate stand-out Dianna Sipper collects medals at Alabama Karate Open

Dianna Sipper, at 8 years old, “eats, sleeps, and breathes karate,” according to her mom Vickie.

“She’s getting between me and the T.V. to practice all the time,” Vickie Sipper said, “and keeps my tablet and is constantly watching videos of [kids practicing karate], trying to do what they do.”

Sipper has medaled at three competitions so far in 2018, most recently taking home two golds and a bronze medal from the Alabama Karate Open in Birmingham.

The young martial artist took first in the weapons competition using a bō, first in forms (open-hand kata), and third in a competition using the iaito.

Vickie Sipper said her daughter is especially enthusiastic about training with the iaito, a sword without a cutting edge that resembles a katana.

Her trainer, Grandmaster Larry Webb, is a 10th degree black belt who has a dojo in Montgomery and has taught classes at Georgiana School and, most recently, W.O. Parmer, a class she helps instruct.

Vickie Sipper says Dianna was “ecstatic” after succeeding at the Alabama Open, and glad her daughter gets to see time spent training pay off at the competitions.

“At Pike Road [competition], one of the judges went and found [Webb], and asked him to introduce him to me, to tell me how good she is,” Vickie Sipper said.

“This is a judge at a major karate competition, that did not know us from anywhere, and he wanted to come let me know how good she is.”

At the Alabama Open, Sipper faced kids nearly twice her age in sword kata, earning third place and a standing ovation from the audience.

Because she medaled at the state competition, Sipper can now move on to a national tournament, which will be in Greenville, South Carolina on a to-be-determined date.

In the meantime, she will continue training and traveling to competitions, including an international competition in Orlando.

“She really does work hard,” said Vicki Sipper.