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Karate provides lesson in confidence, discipline (Video)

Camille Doty

By Camille Doty
Aug. 4, 2012 at 3:04 a.m.
Updated Aug. 5, 2012 at 3:05 a.m.

Mychael Hernandez, 5, right, gets help warming up for a sparring event from his coach Jesus Rea, both of Houston, during the Victoria's Best & Martial Arts Extravaganza at the Victoria Community Center on Saturday. Hernandez is a student at Bear Loebe's SKA Martial Arts.

Mychael Hernandez, 5, right, gets help warming up for a sparring event from his coach Jesus Rea, both of Houston, during the Victoria's Best & Martial Arts Extravaganza at the Victoria Community Center on Saturday. Hernandez is a student at Bear Loebe's SKA Martial Arts.   Angeli Wright for The Victoria Advocate

In a David vs. Goliath battle, most would cheer the underdog.

An incredible amount of will and determination is required when size is not in the smaller opponent's favor.

Evan Brown may be a smaller-than-average 9-year-old, but he's been able to take down adults.

The Chandler Elementary School student has six state championships and seven national championships.

He's ranked No. 1 in the Hard Creative division of the National Blackbelt League, according to the organization's website.

To Evan, size doesn't matter.

"You have to have great footwork and move around them," he said.

His instructor, Dawn Kabela said Evan is talented far beyond his years.

"He's like an old man in a little body," she said.

Evan participated in the Victoria's Best & Martial Arts Extravaganza on Saturday as part of the Victoria Karate Academy.

There were about 225 registrants from the Crossroads area, San Antonio, South Padre Island, Houston and Laredo as well as from other states.

Ages of competitors ranged from 3 years to adults and were divided into Blackbelt and Underbelt Divisions.

Denver native Tyler Weaver Jr. kicked up the tempo with his opening demonstration.

The 16-year-old martial arts phenom visited Victoria to help with the tournament and teach private classes. He's practiced martial arts for the past 13 years.

"I love performing and entertaining people," said the second-degree blackbelt. "It puts me in the best physical shape," he said.

Each participant bowed their heads with grace, before the match.

The gloves came off during sparring time.

Reign Garza said he will continue to fight until he starts falling apart.

The 13-year-old Patti Welder Middle School student said karate has taught him to be more disciplined and more comfortable with himself.

Reign fights with Evan in team fighting competitions and working with him has its advantages.

"He's our little fighter," Reign said. "He racks up the points for all of us."

Regena Thompson has trained Evan in private sessions for the past four years. Thompson, the Houston-based international competitor said Evan's dedication puts him kicks above the rest.

"He's a beast, he does everything I ask of him and more," said Thompson.

During Evan's five-year karate career, he's had the privilege of traveling to Buffalo, N.Y., Sacramento, Calif., and parts of Nevada.

Although, the champion fighter enjoys racking up medals, he gets the most pleasure in spending time with his friends.

In the next few years, Evan wants to explore the world in martial arts competitions.

Evan begged his father for months to join karate, and eventually Eric Brown obliged. The proud father is amazed by his son's list of accomplishments and even more so by Evan's development.

The young fighter's reputation has preceded him, "Evan made it all the way to the exhibition round and no one wants to fight him," Brown said.

Evan received four first-place awards for fighting, a second-place award for creative technique and third-place for weapons in his divisions. He said he did pretty well, but his dad knew his champion son was slightly disappointed for not winning everything.

"I'm still proud of him," Brown said. "You can't win them all. Everybody loses at some point."

Evan said he would continue practicing two hours a day. He has no plans of slowing down any time soon.

"I'm going to do this the rest of my life," he said.

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