Kidsday reporter Anthony Rodriguez of Daniel Street Elementary School in...

Kidsday reporter Anthony Rodriguez of Daniel Street Elementary School in Lindenhurst performs his nunchuck routine. Credit: Rodriguez family

I started karate when I was about 5. Karate has helped me in many ways. I have gained confidence, strength, discipline and focus.

When I first started I never thought I would get this far into it. I train four or five times a week. Some of my classes are for advanced young adults, some are private lessons and some are my demo team or Shidoshi lessons. Not only do I work hard at the dojo but I practice my material at home every day.

I am also in a karate group called Shidoshi. In Shidoshi, the other kids in the group and I talk about how we can make karate fun for little kids because nowadays all kids want to do is stay in their room and not do any sports. Karate is fun for anybody, any age, but you have to be 4 or older to be able to start.

This past year I competed in six state tournaments. I compete in self-defense, forms and weapons. Nunchucks are the type of weapon I like to use. I also know how to use a bo staff. Recently I won first place for all the divisions I competed in.

I was told about Team America tryouts last year. Team America is the U.S. team that goes to the World Organization of Martial Arts Athletes Competition. I was nervous about the tryouts but I went anyway.

The tryouts were Dec. 1, 2018. During the tryouts I had to show the judges my basics, forms and self-defense moves. There were four judges watching me. I also had to talk about why I wanted to be on Team America. After tryouts I found out that I made the team. I was thrilled and proud of myself.

Team America travels all over the world to compete. Some places they competed were Wales, Germany and Ireland. I am excited to see where I am going to compete.

In 2019 I am going to be working with my sensei to come up with my own routine to compete. We started working on an open-hand form. This will be my first time competing open-hand style, and I am excited. I will also be working on my traditional material to compete and with my weapons. I am super-excited to be a part of Team America. I hope everyone will watch me compete.

Michelle Perino's fourth-grade class, Daniel Street Elementary School, Lindenhurst

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