11-year-old Chico Resident Obtains Two Black Belts

Jul 17, 2013 1:19 AM

Move aside Ralph Macchio and Jaden Smith, there's a new karate kid in town and everywhere 11-year-old Cooper Howard goes, the space around him quickly converts into a dojo. It's a good thing too, because this is a little guy on a mission.

11-year-old Cooper Howard has straight A's, a couple black belts, and a fierce kick.

"I've seen a lot of fighting movies," said Howard.

Howard has a black belt in karate and weapons. He is one of the youngest Chicoans to be certified by the Shorin Ryu Shorinkan International Federation, based in Japan.

"I do a lot of practice," said Howard.

In fact, Howard just spent two weeks in Okinawa with his Sensei Pat Haley and met the Grandmaster Minoru Nakazato.

"I had loads of fun and I got to train with him. He was really cool," said Howard.

"I don't really have a lot of young young students who have black belts in both karate and weapons and he is one of the kids who's come in and show that diligence throughout the last 4-and-a-half years," said Haley.

Cooper's passion for karate started when he was 6-years-old. Now, he's making himself known in some pretty big competitions.

"He's won a lot of local and regional tournaments," said Haley.

"I won a Junior Champion award. I did short weapon kubotu, and long, and team kata and team kubotu and fighting, I've won 1st place in all of those," said Howard.

Now kick after kick, punch after punch, he's a little ball of fury who is setting his sights on international competition.

"I want to go to Worlds someday and represent the USA," said Howard.

Haley said with his training, the 11-year-old double black belt has the opportunities and abilities to compete at the National Championships and perhaps eventually the Pan-American Games.


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