TOM Smithson is 9 and already a two-year veteran of karate. He not too long ago returned from Japan after competing in his first Junior Okinawa Karate World Event the place he earned a rating within the high 16.
That was from 127 opponents within the Junior Boys and Ladies II Class, of which 119 had been from Okinawa, six from mainland Japan and two from abroad.
“Japan was my first time abroad and I adored it,” he says. “My favorite half was competing, however we noticed numerous actually cool issues, too.”
Tom trains at Kodokan Cummings Karate Dojo in Mitchell beneath Sensei Reece Cummings.
“I’ve all the time appreciated martial arts so I acquired began as a result of I discovered this wonderful dojo and have such an awesome sensei to show me,” says Tom.
Whereas he admits he was nervous whereas competing in entrance of a crowd of 2000 individuals, Tom is trying ahead to doing it once more.
Competitions in Japan happen each 4 years, says Sensei Reece, who earned a high 16 place himself, within the male grownup division.
Reece moved to Canberra 13 years in the past with no intention of beginning his personal college, however he has since created a neighborhood to be pleased with.
“I moved right here and I used to be on the lookout for someplace to coach relatively than begin a dojo,” says Reece.
He discovered a room in a movie studio in Mitchell and educated there, by the top of the 12 months he had three or 4 college students.
Now, Kodokan Cummings Karate Dojo has between 270-300 college students actively coaching.
Within the dojo’s title, Kodokan interprets as “a spot to check the previous methods” and refers back to the examine of conventional Okinawan karate and kobudo.
Reece says: “Our precise karate type is Shorin-ryu, generally referred to as Matsubayashiryu.
“Shorin-ryu interprets as ‘pine forest type’. Our karate type is particularly Okinawan, which is the birthplace of karate, not Japanese.”
Within the lead as much as his competitors, Tom was doing 4 lessons per week within the dojo in addition to doing personal classes with Reece a couple of times per week.
“I really like to return each evening if I can, I even do some coaching at dwelling, however I’ve nonetheless acquired numerous studying to do,” says Tom.
Reece has been coaching for greater than 20 years, and on the journey he was promoted to the rank of fifth-degree black belt by three karate masters, which is an internationally recognised rank.
It makes him solely the second particular person in Australia throughout the related self-discipline to realize this degree, and one of many youngest on the earth.
Reece was additionally invited, as certainly one of eight particular person demonstrations, to characterize the Okinawan Prefectural Karate-do Federation on the World Event’s opening ceremony.
“Representing my karate type and the Okinawan Prefectural Karate-do Federation – alongside a few of the world’s most senior karate instructors – is an honour and spotlight of my 20-plus years within the martial arts, and one which I’ll always remember,” says Reece.
And he’s fairly the inspiration to Tom, who says: “I need to be like Reece after I develop up. I need to personal my very own dojo, and assist individuals.”
Tom has efficiently earned his blue belt (eighth degree). The furthest he can earn at his age is a purple belt (tenth degree).
“As soon as Tom turns 14, he can then be a part of the seniors program, and black belt minimal age is 16,” says Reece.
“Having the ability to be concerned in different individuals’s journeys like Tom’s is one thing that has all the time been rewarding as a result of you may see the event of others and the expansion of their ardour and enthusiasm,” says Reece.
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Ian Meikle, editor