Zeb Mathis, a student at Japan Shudokan Budo-Kai (King School of Karate) instructed by Sensei Steven Hewett, competed in his third international karate event on April 15 in Las Vegas, Nevada at the 2017 Ozawa Cup International Karate Tournament that hosts more than 35 countries and 600 competitors.
Mathis competed in the 10-12 year-old boy’s brown belt division facing off against 20 competitors and placed fourth. In the competitive empty hand kata division, against 38 competitors in the brown/black belt weapons division, he pulled in another fourth place.
Hewett said, “That speaks a lot about his ability.”
Hewett faired a bit better after competing for several years at the Ozawa Cup with a first place gold medal win in the seniors black belt kata division and a third place bronze medal in kumite (sparring). Hewett came out of retirement this year to show his students an instructor just can’t talk the talk, but is also capable of doing what he teaches.
“For students to respect their teacher, he or she must show them they are able to perform as well and set an example for them to follow,” he said.
Mathis also holds AAU National and Jr. Olympic titles from 2015 and a clean sweep of gold medals in the 2016 NC AAU state and regional meets. This year he has already earned a gold and silver medal at the AAU NC State Karate Championships. Hewett took triple gold at the same championships in the adult black belt divisions.
Hewett’s students are looking forward to competing in the AAU Karate Nationals that will be held in Raleigh and the NKF Nationals to be held in Greenville, S.C. in July.
Japan Shudokan Budo-Kai is the only NKF (National Karate Federation) and AAU karate training facility in Stokes County and the surrounding area with certified instructors that have the knowledge and skills to train the next Olympic champions.
“Students from other systems are welcome to come and train at our facility,” Hewett said.
For the first time karate will be an official Olympic sport in the 2020 Olympic games which will be hosted by Japan. Those interested in NKF and AAU Karate competition can find out more by contacting the dojo at www.jskd.us or on Facebook.