By Justin Vigil-Zuniga
Signal Sports Writer
Logan and Maike Traub are siblings who now share more than just a last name and love for karate. The two recently brought home gold medals from the Annual USA Karate Nationals and U.S. Junior Olympic Team Trials in Spokane, Washington.
The siblings each earned gold medals in “Kumite” and bronze medals in “Kata.”
Kata is Japanese for forms and can be defined as a detailed, systematic pattern of movements practiced and performed to simulate a combination of strikes and blocks in a fight or clash.
Kumite is sparring and is defined as a discipline that puts a lot of importance on technique and skill, with strict rules enforced to ensure the safety of the athletes.
The 12-year-old Logan will now represent team USA in Mexico this August as they compete in the Pan American Karate Federation Championships.
Maike, a 9-year-old, will look to make the team when she is old enough.
Logan’s gold hardware in the National Championship in Elite 12- to 13-year-old Kumite secured him the No. 1 spot on the US National Junior Olympic team. Logan’s bronze in Elite Kata also earned him an alternate spot for Team USA.
The 12-year-old thought the whole tournament was a rollercoaster but now has the opportunity to finally go international.
“I’m really excited to go and compete,” said Logan. “It’s always been my dream to go internationally and compete against the other kids that are the top in their country.”
The siblings agreed one of their favorite parts of the sport is the traveling that comes along with it, citing Texas, Philadelphia and Chicago as a few places one or both of them have competed.
The two have trained at Rising Sun Karate for about five years under sensei and Team USA karate coach Randy Word.
Logan saw other students training late after classes years ago but didn’t know what class it was. He later found out it was the tournament team training and quickly made his way onto the team. The now-champion fell in love with it on his first day.
The Traubs are two new additions to some of the great karate-ka to come out of Rising Sun Academy. (Related story: bit.ly/3yGHumv.)
“It’s amazing, their work ethic for both of their ages,” said Word. “Especially Maike at 9 years old, she’s here four nights a week and works out at home without being told to.”
Maike is also a passionate skateboarder. The 9-year-old gold medalist has been skating for about a year and training in karate for five years. Maike was also interested in the sport after seeing the techniques other students were practicing. She also wanted the same happiness she saw Logan experiencing in training, and it paid off.
“I kind of followed in his footsteps winning Nationals at 9 like he did,” said Maike.
The 9-year-old is only in her second year of competing but still will have to wait three years before she is eligible to make the junior USA team.
Logan is going into eighth grade at Arroyo Seco Junior High with a membership in the National Honor Society. The gold medalist also has his eyes set on teaching the sport one day.
“[Logan’s] kind of a senpai here. He helps out and assists classes,” said Word. “His goal is to be a full-time sensei here.”
The two were born to Daniel and Mell Traub, who have lived in the Santa Clarita Valley since Logan was just a year old.
The parents have no history of martial arts in their family but have supported their children’s path since day one.
“They’re a big help motivating me and keeping me going, helping me travel,” said Logan.
Maike will now focus on earning her candidate belt and hopes to one day get her black belt.
Logan will head to Kansas to train with USA gold medalist Sandra Sanchez before he heads to the Pan American games.
The karate-ka is eager to keep training and will now get the chance to do so with one of the greatest kata martial artists.
The two are part of a Rising Sun dojo that consistently produces Team USA karate-ka but are the first brother and sister from the dojo to win gold medals at the Karate Nationals. Rising Sun has seen about 30 of its students earn gold medals at Nationals and seven students reach Team USA.
Time will tell where the two compete but their master is already expecting big things from both of his star pupils.
“As far as competition-wise, I have no doubt Maike will be on the USA team in a few years,” said Word. “This is just the first of many for Logan.”