KING — Steven Hewett, who served his country in the military, is set to represent the United States again. This time it will be as a member of the AAU National Karate Team.
Hewett recently competed at the Florida Super-Regional competition and came home with a gold medal in weapons kata and a bronze medal in unarmed kata. The event was the final qualifier for the World Union of Karate Federations, to be held in Fort Lauderdale in early July.
This will be the first time the World Karate Games have been held in the United States, Hewett said.
Once home, he learned that he had been selected by the AAU for the national team.
“I’ve been with the AAU since the 80s,” said Hewett, 64, who has been teaching and competing for 42 years. “But it’s definitely the peak of my career. I always show my students that I’m out there competing, on foot. They say ‘Sensei came back with a gold medal.’
The national team will have over 400 competitors across multiple divisions, but the games themselves will feature a few thousand athletes from around the world. The event will be broadcast live.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to represent the United States,” Hewett said.
Hewett got into karate when he attended Yakima University, Washington, after his first tour with the United States Army. “There was a university course offered and I had always wanted to do karate. Once I took the course, I was hooked. I became a ‘Dojo Rat’ and was there several times a day.
He competes in the senior veteran division, which is for those 61 and older.
Hewett is busy as an instructor and several of his students will be competing at the Junior Olympics in Greensboro this summer.
“I used to have three concurrent schools in the 80s,” he says. “But I like to teach privately now. The number of my students has quadrupled in the last few months.