EUGENE, Ore. - A group of teens from the Family Karate Center in Eugene have earned the right to take their martial arts training to a national stage.
Levi Whittaker, 13, claimed, "It's more of a lifestyle."
For 15-year-old Morgan Roy, baby she was born with it. "When I was in my Mom's womb, everybody would kiai. I would jump, so it's kind of in my blood."
Their obsession to martial arts has paid off: Ten of the kids will represent the state of Oregon after qualifying for the AAU Nationals at the end of June in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Sarah West, 19, is in her 13th year of karate and knows what kind of sacrifice you have to make. "You have to train, sweat, bleed, die to get there. Then resurrect."
Josh Grose added, "We take pride in our work . Not like boastful pride but there is certainly a certain level of satisfaction that you get from working hard and go to an official tournament."
That pride and work is a 24-7, 365 deal.
"Karate is year round. You are always doing it," Jonathan Hebert stated.
Josh chimed in, "The world's greatest pianist, if he doesn't practice for one day only he knows, but if he doesn't practice three days, the whole world knows."
Keeping in tune now has the kids taking their talents to South Beach against some of the countries best.
"You never train with any sort of intent to fight, for lack of a better term, some punk. You don't think about it. You have to think about the guys that can really take your head off in these competitions," said Aaron Polter.
"It's scary. If they punch me in the face, it will probably hurt but if you get hurt, a lot of it is in your mind. If you scrape your knee you can cry about it, or you can," (Roy takes a deep breath) just take it. Don't whine about it."
Those are some strong minds, bodies and souls.
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