Local Autistic Athletes Receive Gold and Silver Medals at the USA Open


Autism Awareness Month wraps up today, and in honor of it’s significance we highlight some of the most successful athletes in the valley. In fact, many athletes aspire to earn a gold or even a silver medal at a national or global competition. Here, in La Quinta, Seidan-Kair J.C. Dojo has racked up hundreds of medals that were earned by autistic athletes who are thriving in karate.

“They are definitely the stomping grounds to showcase that there are no limits for students with autism,” Sensei Tamara Canedo told NBC Palm Springs.

Seidan-Kai J.C. is a dojo where athletes with all abilities redefine the impossible each and every day.

“Here, there are no labels, there are no disabilities here, we don’t have gender differences. We don’t have race differences. We are one human race and we all prevail together as a family.

As it stands, ten athletes went to the USA Open this month for karate, and all came back with a medal.

“I mean, you have to consider that the USA Open has 38 countries that checked in this year. So to see them have the ability to prove everybody on a global scale wrong…and to see them walk into the tournament, nervous and afraid…and to see them walk out their very own best friend is so inspirational and so beautiful.”

Esman Gomez, the father of Gloria Gomez, who received a gold medal at the USA Open, still cannot hold back the happy tears when talking about how proud he is of his daughter.

“When you see something like that, it makes you want to cry. I love her very much and I am so happy for her.

These athletes have not only learned Japanese, but they also know karate theory. They are certainly champions in their own right, and are now sporting medals to prove it.

“I never in a million years thought that the sensei would be the one taking the bigger life lesson. In reality, they teach me more than, in some days, I think I could ever teach them,” Sensei Canedo added.

These athletes continue to teach us all that anything is possible.

“They can reach the stars,” said Sensei Canedo.

So, the USA Open is one for the books. Now, these stunning athletes are getting ready for nationals in Chicago. The dojo is hoping to be able to get 25 athletes sponsored to go out to compete this July.

According to Sensei Canedo, all of the equipment that lies inside of this Dojo was donated by Randy Nelson with Swiss Trax. Also, these students are able to come to this dojo, from Desert Hot Springs every week, thanks to the partnership Canedo has with the United Cerebral Palsy.  


For more information on this dojo, dates for nationals, or on how you can donate, visit the Seidan-Kai J.C. Dojo. You will be able to find the address below.


78595 Highway 111 Suite 150

La Quinta, CA 92253

Email: tamicanedo1@hotmail.com

Phone: (760) 625-8381

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