At first glance, Kim Dang looks like any other high school senior. She spends time with friends, does homework and goes to class like everyone else. However, Dang does possess a special set of skills, skills that set her apart from almost every other student at Leesville.
“In early May, I will be going to the Junior World Karate Championship in Melbourne, Australia,” said Dang, senior. “Our whole team will have to miss some school, but we’re really excited.”
Dang, who has been doing karate for almost ten years, went through three rounds of competition before she qualified to compete in Melbourne. “First we started off at the state level, and then we advanced to regional and national competitions. We usually have three or four competitions a year, but this is our first time leaving the East Coast,” said Dang.
At the Junior World Karate Championship, Dang and her teammates will compete in both team and individual events. Every team member will participate in the two major individual events, kata, meaning “forms,” and kumite, or “sparring,” as well as in one team competition.
For Dang, these championships serve as a reminder of the reasons she has continued doing karate all these years. Said Dang, “My parents were the ones who originally signed me up, but I kept going because it was fun for me. I’ve gotten to travel places for karate I otherwise wouldn’t have traveled to, and I got to go with a lot of my friends, so it has definitely been a great experience for me.”