Karate ‘kid’ excels

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 6, 2010

Shown here is Hogan Nichols performing a high kick on an opponent during the IHOF banquet and competition last month. | Courtesy photo

Straughn Elementary student Hogan Nichols was named the 2010 Young Male Karate-ka of the Year at the 31st annual Isshinryu Hall of Fame banquet last month in Knoxville, Tenn.

Nichols, 9, was selected for the prestigious award for his accomplishments and work in 2009. The IHOF board of directors selects the winner after he or she meets certain requirements.

According to the IHOF’s Web site, the requirements for obtaining the award include that the nominee demonstrates outstanding dedication to his or her dojo, and the art of Isshinryu karate. He or she sets an example for other students, assists their sensei whenever the opportunity presents itself, and contributes to the community in some way beyond their attendance at the dojo.

As a black belt, Nichols has even helped teach classes for six-year-old students.

This month signifies Nichols’ fourth year as a karate student. He’s already earned a first degree black belt, and said he hopes to get more degrees in the future.

“I just want to get a higher ranking in black belt,” he said. “There are 10 degrees, and very few people have gotten to that degree.”

Nichols said what inspired him to take on Isshinryu karate took place at a baseball game.

“One time I was at a baseball game, and one of the players on my team said that he was late for karate class that day, and it made me want to try it out,” he said.

Some of Nichols’ accomplishments in 2009 include winning first place in kata, weapons and fighting at the South Alabama Open Karate tournament in Andalusia; and a first place finish at the hall of fame banquet.

When asked why he likes taking karate, Nichols said it can be quite “fun.”

“It’s fun competing and seeing all of my friends and learning more,” he said.

With each lesson, Nichols said he hopes to learn as much as he can to earn another degree in black belt, which can take a few years.

Nichols mother, Amy said karate has been “good” for her son.

“It’s been a good thing — karate has been,” Amy said. “It teaches discipline and self control.”

When asked what the most important thing he has learned while in karate, Nichols said two words.

“Good sportsmanship,” he said.

Nichols is the son of Todd and Amy Nichols of Andalusia; and the brother of Ella Kate.