A group of karate students and their instructors have qualified for the 2022 World Kickboxing and Karate Union (WKU) Championships. The group, which trains at Johnson’s Martial Arts Academy (JMA) in Camden, will travel to Cardiff, Wales as part of the WKU USA National Team, to compete Oct. 23-29.
The group consists of students Connor Nunnery (11), Wyatt Parks (11), Ethan Peevyhouse (17), Cash Richey (8), Tristen Richey (11), Gavin Rogers (12), and Jaxon Rogers (8), as well as instructors Justin Johnson (31) and Cierra Johnson (27). Competitors qualified for the competition in Wales by placing in the top four in their respective divisions at the WKU Team Trials that were held earlier this year in Evansville, Ind.
“My wife and I have competed for years, which is part of the reason we started this business,” said Justin Johnson. “We needed a place to train, and we love teaching martial arts. Our students wanted to start competing, so we offered them the chance to participate in regional competitions once we saw how dedicated they were.”
The WKU USA National Team will compete against over 50 different countries in Wales. All the students have qualified for their fighting division and have a chance to be in team fights depending on weight classes. Two members will also compete in the Kata and Weapons division.
“These kids have really dedicated themselves to practice,” said Johnson. “Most of our kids are at the academy training 4-5 days a week. Seeing the reaction on a kid’s face after winning a tournament or accomplishing a fitness goal is special. Helping them get to that moment is well worth the time and dedication we give to them.”
Johnson’s Martial Arts Academy is located at 162 West Main Street in Camden. JMA provides karate classes for any age and fitness level. For more information, JMA can be reached at 731-441-1065. They also can be found on Facebook. If you would like to make a donation to help these dedicated young athletes compete on an international level, please contact JMA.