Jul 23, 2015 9:05 PM by Ross Field
A Chico teenager is emerging as a leading talent in martial arts and as Action News Now's Ross Field found out, the local karate kid has no plans of slowing down anytime soon.
Cooper Howard's karate skills are developing fast. The sport has a big role in his life.
"I love karate because it teaches you many skills and it teaches you how to defend yourself," Cooper said. "I thought that when I started this I wouldn't do it for more than two years, but now I've done it for seven years."
The 13-year-old has become one of the top talents in the country. He recently captured gold in weapons at a prestigious national tournament in Okinawa, Japan, the birthplace of karate.
"It takes a lot of dedication and hard work and knowledge to get a gold. I felt great because I proved to myself that I can do it and I can win," said Howard.
Cooper trains at Haley's Martial Arts Center in Chico and his sensei Pat Haley couldn't be more proud of his achievement.
"The tournament had about 450 competitors and Cooper had the top twenty people in his age group and division to compete against and they found out just how good he is," Haley said. "You have to have a desire, once you have that desire and you practice your basics and you have the determination to continue and grow, you can achieve just about anything and Cooper has done quite well for a young man his age, to be able to compete nationally and internationally now that's a great resume for a 13-year-old boy."
Cooper's gold trophy represents a symbol of hard work and the local karate kid says the success he's having now motivates him to do bigger and better things in the future.
"I don't want to quit at all and I want to go to the Pan American games," said Howard.
Cooper wasn't the only member of Haley's Martial Arts Center to have success in Japan. Lucas Hubbard took silver in weapons and Ethan Hoe and Sophia Vanucci took bronze in the same category.
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