CHICO, Calif. – A pair of martial artists represented Chico at the WUKF Karate World Championships.
Nearly 1,000 athletes from 34 countries traveled to compete in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
“It’s not something you do every day,” Brenden Wells said. “In fact, this is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Brenden Wells and Cooper Howard are third degree black belts at Haley’s Martial Arts in Chico. They have spent over a decade perfecting their technique in multiple disciplines.
“The boys were competing in Kata, which is the form and fighting called Kumite, a striking, punching and kicking competition,” said Haley Martial Arts owner Patrick Haley. “Then in weapons, they have two categories: long weapons and short weapons which are called Kobudo.”
The pair qualified for the world championships during a tryout in Las Vegas. Last week, they left everything on the carpet. Howard placed third in Kata and second in Kobudo long guns. Wells finished third in Kata and fourth in his long and short arms divisions.
Wells and Howard said the coolest part was meeting competitors from countries like France, Ireland and Slovakia.
“You always hear there’s karate in the world, but I’ve actually seen people doing karate from all over the world,” Howard said. “Hundreds and hundreds of competitors from everywhere.”
Wells and Howard brought home memories and lessons that will last a lifetime. The duo certainly did their local community proud.
“It’s great to be from a small community and the family support that these boys have,” Haley said. “The other students are going to be motivated by how Cooper and Brenden competed internationally. It’s going to motivate them to take another step in their competitions.”
Martial artists also motivate young children as instructors at the dojo. They said it was rewarding to see the next generation succeed.