Karate Kid

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fer­ing slightly, no two katas might be en­tirely the same.

Karate, says Mark, is a sport that both boys and girls can en­joy. He wanted to give his daugh­ter a strong knowl­edge of self-de­fence in case she should ever have to use it, while shar­ing his pas­sion for the sport with her.

His voice glow­ing with pride, he de­scribes how Adee and a class­mate were able to eas­ily take out two older, stronger boys with their skills.

“The other night, I told two 16-year-old boys to try their best to get on top of th­ese girls and hold them down. One was a ju­nior black belt and the other was ready for his black belt, and my two girls, they couldn’t do any­thing with them,” Mark says.

“They’d try to get on them and they’d spin them off. They were sur­prised.”

Un­til re­cently, Mark ran his own karate school, but he re­cently closed and joined Young’s Uechi Ryu — loosely trans­lated, it refers to the “way” of karate taught at the school, named af­ter the mas­ter that de­vel­oped it. But, he still trains his daugh­ter, en­joy­ing the bond­ing time it gives them.

“In all th­ese years — and she’s into her tenth year of it now — she’s never sighed and not wanted to come to karate,” he says. ous,” she said.

She won her first match, then lost to a com­peti­tor from Que­bec. In the final match-up, the other girl got a point in the final sec­onds, re­sult­ing in a “frus­trat­ing” fin­ish.

Adee ended up plac­ing fifth in her age and weight group out of 10 com­peti­tors from across Canada — a great plac­ing, says her dad.

Trav­el­ling is some­thing that ap­peals to Adee, who loves the fact that her karate com­pe­ti­tions give her the op­por­tu­nity to travel across Canada.

“It was re­ally fun at na­tion­als, es­pe­cially see­ing Van­cou­ver, and there were thou­sands of peo­ple there,” she said.

“I like to travel, to go places, and even if it’s just to com­pete in karate, I like to go there.”

With Team Nova Sco­tia, there are a num­ber of com­pe­ti­tions held, and Adee is al­ready eye­ing At­lantics next fall in PEI and na­tion­als next Fe­bru­ary in Que­bec. Re­cently, she’s been com­pet­ing in the 12-13 girls’ class, but also mov­ing up to the next age group to test her skills against older com­peti­tors.

“At first, I didn’t think I’d win — th­ese girls were another two years older, and I was re­ally ner­vous,” she said. “Some of th­ese girls are re­ally good, but I fo­cused on what I would do to counter their tech­niques and tried to fig­ure out the moves they would make.”

That’s the key to suc­cess in karate, she says: al­ways be­ing aware of what move your com­peti­tor is go­ing to make and quickly re­spond­ing.

“You have to fo­cus,” she said. “Your com­peti­tors could tele­graph what they’re go­ing to do and if you see some­thing, that’s when you need to move or at­tack.”

It takes a lot of work to reach this level of com­pe­ti­tion.

Adee has a pur­ple belt and hopes to achieve her ju­nior black belt by age 14 and her adult black belt by

16, the min­i­mum age a stu­dent must be be­fore they are el­i­gi­ble.

And she puts the work in to achieve those dreams, reg­u­larly prac­tic­ing five times a week.

“It’s lots of hard train­ing, good prac­tic­ing,” she says.

That’s some­thing of a fam­ily say­ing, ex­plains her dad.

“I al­ways say a per­fect prac­tice makes per­fect,” he ex­plains. “It’s not prac­tice that makes per­fect, be­cause even if you prac­tice all day, if you’re do­ing it sloppy or wrong, you’re not go­ing to get bet­ter.”

Prac­tices in­volve drills, fast move­ments to get Adee’s feet mov­ing and lots of car­dio. Her favourite skill is kick­ing and punch­ing, but she also ex­cels at her katas, of­ten bring­ing home nu­mer­ous medals from com­pe­ti­tions.

Com­pet­ing at this level also means deal­ing with the in­evitable in­juries that comes along with it. Over the past year, she’s bro­ken a col­lar­bone while do­ing a ju­jitsu front roll and dis­lo­cated an an­kle while do­ing karate.

That’s OK, she says. Her class­mates in Grade 7 at Evan­ge­line Mid­dle School think her karate skills are “pretty cool,” she says.

“They think I’m re­ally tough and say they don’t want to get on my bad side,” she laughs.

Adee plans to con­tinue to study karate for a few more years, at least un­til she fin­ishes high school. In the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, karate will be in­cluded in the com­pe­ti­tions, and while she’s not rul­ing out com­pet­ing at the high­est level, she ad­mits that’s a long way away.

For now, though, she en­cour­ages other kids — and adults — to con­sider try­ing karate.

“Any­body can do it. They don’t need to be ath­letic to do it,” she says.

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