Shotokan students head to National Championships
WITH eight years of experience under her belt, Shayla Smith is competing for top results at the Shotokan Karate Coalition 10th National Novice and Elite Championships.
The 16-year-old left yesterday for Melbourne where the championships are being held on Friday.
"From previous years I've placed in the top four," Shayla said.
"This year I am happy to do my best and just have fun."
The teen said she was feeling confident ahead of Friday but admitted there would be some nerves on the day.
"Just train a lot beforehand and on the day you have nerves or you don't," was Shayla's secret to staying calm.
Shayla is in the division with 15 to 17-year-olds and expects to be up against competitors of all different skills.
"You get different talents (to compete against), some better so then I have to find ways to defend myself," she said.
Shayla comes from the Karate for All dojo in Dysart which she and her mum Willie Smith started two years ago and said she loved being a part of the sport.
"The benefits are learning self defence and discipline and you get to meet new people as well," she said.
"All the people you meet become close and become a family to you."
Shayla is the only competitor from the Dysart dojo. She said the other members were focusing on the Training in the Tropics event on Hamilton Island at the end of November and early December.
Though the only competitor from Dysart, Shayla will not be travelling alone but will be joined by Joe Flood from the Peak Downs karate dojo.
The Peak Downs dojo has several first time competitors at the championships including Andrew Jansen, James Redman, Emielia Jansen and Peyten Bridgeman.
Peak Downs dojo spokeswoman Christel Jansen said the competitors had been training hard in the lead up to the championships, with participants from all over Australia competing.
The competitors travelled to Melbourne early for the opportunity to attend a two-day training seminar.