By Erik T. Masingill ’12
Brophy sophomore Nico Luna ’12 competed in a Japanese international karate tournament, and in the end, he walked out with the Top Male Competitor Award and a huge smile on his face.
“For me this achievement is monumental,” Luna said. “I can’t explain in words how much of an honor it is that I was chosen by the headmasters to achieve this award.
“Only one person out of thousands of people get this award and there were so many great competitors that even though the tournament is dominated by the Japanese, this shows just how tough and strong we are.”
“It showed that we went to win and even though we came up short we earned their respect,” he said.
There were a total of 1,300 overall competitors in this big event with the age acceptance being 10 years old to any age as an adult. Ninety-five percent of these people were Japanese.
In order to be able to fight in Japan, Luna had to work hard.
“I trained every day long and hard in order to prepare for that tournament,” Luna said. “I wasn’t going to show up to that tournament unprepared and expect to do as well as I did.”
“Without the months of training I did prior to the tournament I certainly would have done extremely poorly. I was at karate almost every day and it was the most important thing in my life at the time,” he said.
Luna said he has been learning and practicing karate for nine years now, and he has worked his way up continuously every day during every week. He still does his routine of exercising daily to keep in shape, and going to his dojo, the location of his regular practices of karate, to learn more about martial arts from his sensei, his teacher.
He said he believes his teachers get huge credit for his accomplishment of his international award.
“I believe this award shows how good the training at my dojo is. We have great instructors and they have turned me into the competitor I am today,” Luna said.
This tournament was a great opportunity for Luna to partake in, and he had to sacrifice the first two weeks of school at Brophy. After having a fun time, he traveled back home where the first thing on his mind was homework, a prospect he said was exhausting.
He continued to play the game of catch up at school for about three to four weeks, but in the end, he said it was all worth it.
Luna returned to Arizona with his sharp katana sword, artistic poster and most of all, his Top Male Competitor Award.
Luna was also invited back to Japan again for another tournament that will begin in two years.
“I’m not sure that I will compete in the Japanese tournaments when I go on to college,” he said.
He may not have decided yet to return to Japan, but one thing is at least certain: Luna will work harder and harder at what he enjoys doing until that decision comes.