AVA McCann wanted to give up several times while facing adversity in her karate career,
but she never did and will go for her black belt grading in November 2016
“I will have to fight 20 fresh black belts in a row full contact with no protection. I’m not looking forward to that,” she said.
The self-confessed “computer nerd” is this week’s Junior Sports Star nominee. Last month Ava won her division in her first full contact bout, the Australian Kyokushin Karate Association’s 40th national titles. The 10-year-old also won a non-contact event at the tournament, taking her swag of national titles in various karate disciplines to eight. Ava said winning consecutive kata titles at the Arnold Classic Australia Kyokushin Karate Championships was another highlight for her.
The Wenona student also has experience competing against boys who are bigger and older than her. Ava began karate when she was three to help with hip problems she had from birth.
“I didn’t start walking until I was three,” she said. “When I started karate I was the worst in the class. I couldn’t even run or jump.”
Ava trains at Trifu Dojo by Sydney Harbour.
“I like how you can fight each other and still be good friends,” she said. “Karate means ‘open hand’. It’s not really about fighting; it’s about developing your character. “I like pushing myself to my limits and then pushing myself further than my limits!”
Ava said she was initially scared of being the only girl when she moved up a class at age six.
“I was the smallest and youngest in the class, but the boys were so nice to me and they used to pretend to be scared of me,” she said. “When it was their turn to punch me they would hardly touch me. “When I started beating boys in tournaments, they used to cry but they don’t any more.”
Ava dreams of representing Australia at the highest level.
“Karate has just been announced as an Olympic sport for Tokyo in four years, so I would love to go to the Olympics,” she said. Ava is also a competitive skier and has won a state fencing title.
Pictures: Annika Enderborg