Aside from his orange belt, Andy Chugh has a new look at the Prince Rupert Karate Club and it involves more hardware than usual.
The 13-year-old Rupertite returned home last month from Kitimat bearing some additional weight around his neck after winning two gold medals at the Kitimat Karate Club Spring Tournament held in early April.
“It’s a fun sport. It keeps you fit and it’s for self-defence,” said Chugh last week before taking part in a karate training session with Prince Rupert Karate Club Sensei Wade Wilkins and Kevin Forssell.
The gold medals, Chugh’s first-ever awards in his first karate tournament, were won in the categories of individual kata (a system of individual training exercises) and group kata.
“[With] individual kata, you start with a pattern, then you have to go through it, then they see who has the best form and technique,” he said.
“They really liked my power and form.”
Chugh performed the Heian Shodan, an early Shotokan karate-styled kata, for his first performance and then the Heian Nidan, the second of the five Shotokan Heian kata, which he excelled at.
“I did better in that one,” said Chugh.
“There were three [judges] standing around the ring – they had flags and they put the flag up for the person they like. The first time, one voted against me and two people voted for me, so I won that round and the second time, all three [judges] voted for me.”
Chugh plays an array of sports, keeping him busy from spring until winter.
Basketball, soccer, swimming, badminton, volleyball, track and archery all take up the young Rupertite’s spare time outside of school.
And despite the competitors’ different ranks at the tournament, officials order all participants to wear the same belt, so that they can perform on an even playing field while being judged.
“They make you put on a blue and red belt when you bow down to each other because if it’s a yellow belt versus orange belt, they don’t really look at the rank,” said Chugh.
The karate enthusiast just acquired his orange belt in late January and has been practicing katas in karate for three years since he moved to Prince Rupert four years ago.
“I think I’ve gotten better,” he said of his journey through the discipline’s teachings over the three years.
“I was pretty confident [going into Kitimat].”