The 2016 AAU North Carolina State Karate Championships were held on Saturday in Winston Salem, NC. Over 150 competitors from all over North Carolina competed for state titles in their respective divisions and today started Zeb Mathis’s new quest for 2016 AAU Karate Gold. Last year with less than a year of training and his first time competing Mathis, started out placing at the 2015 AAU Karate Super Regionals with a Gold Medal in Weapons, Bronze in Empty Hand Kata and a 4th place in Kumite. He then went on to the top of his divisions in bringing home Gold and Silver at the 2015 AAU Karate Nationals and Jr. Olympics.
This year is starting off with a bang! Mathis moved up from the beginners division to the 9 year old novice division where he brought home three Gold Medals. He placed first in every division he competed in, Empty Hand Kata, Weapons Kata, Kumite (Sparring) and ensured himself a qualifying spot for both the 2016 AAU Karate Nationals and Jr. Olympics.
Now onto the 2016 AAU Karate Super Regionals in May and after that to the Nationals in Ft. Lauderdale, FL and the Jr. Olympics in Houston, TX, both to be held later in the summer.
Looking into the future Mathis is keeping an eye on the USA-AAU National Team in the hopes of joining it once he is old enough. The USA-AAU National Team will be competing in Ireland in the coming months with several students from North Carolina on that team. Those who make the USA-AAU National Team have the opportunity to compete in World Class Karate Competitions representing the United States.
Mathis’s next opportunity to compete will be at his first international competition. The Ozawa Cup International Karate Tournament held in Las Vegas, NV March 26. This event brings in world-class competitors from over 40 countries.
“Mathis is without a doubt one of my best athletes,” said instructor Steven Hewett. “He trains six days a week with the heart and dedication of an Olympic athlete. Not only does he train at the dojo but also practices daily at home all while maintaining good grades in school. Yet competing and winning does not go to his head. Our instruction keeps the student grounded in the knowledge that just because you win today doesn’t mean you’ll win every time and the real competition is within ones’ self. At the dojo we emphasis that it’s not only an individual effort but, that of the whole dojo itself. Even though some of his fellow students do not compete they contribute to his success by helping him grow in being a sparring partner and pushing each other to better their kata as well as growing in the spirit of friendship.”
Also winning Saturday was Glenn Johnson. Glenn placed in the 35 & Over Advanced Male division. Placing Gold in Empty Kata and Silver in Weapons Kata, he is now qualified for the 2016 AAU Nationals. His next competition will be the 2016 USA-AAU Super Regionals in May where he hopes to turn that silver into Gold.
For more info about Zeb, Glenn and Japan Shudokan Budo-Kai Karate look for us up on Facebook or at www.jskd.us.