Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Big kicks from Korean karate

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Justin DAMAN is the Canadian master of move memorization.The Grade 11 student from St. Paul's High School reeled off his third consecutive gold medal in the Korean forms division at the Canadian Karate Championships in Ottawa May 15-17. His trophy case also includes a silver medal from the 2006 competition.

"It was actually an unbelievable feeling," said Daman, 17. "I was in first place after each day of the event. I was pretty far ahead of everyone. I'm just proud that I worked hard enough."

Korean forms is a type of karate where competitors display techniques from Korean-based martial arts without an opponent, while other divisions involve head-to-head matches against other competitors.

High kicks

"It focuses on the high kicks compared to focusing on stances," said Daman, who trains out of Bae's Martial Arts on Lagimodiere Boulevard. "You try to kick as high as you can."

It was just the opportunity to participate that got Daman into the sport. He lived in rural Manitoba until eight years ago, and began training when he moved to Winnipeg.

"My dad decided to show me martial arts. He took me to a class and I've been hooked ever since."

Daman also helps out with Special Olympics athletes involved in the EK Rascals club.

He's hoping that's good training for where he wants to go with martial arts.

"I think becoming a master instructor is my goal for the future," said Daman.

But it's all about the competition for now. Daman will represent Canada at the WKC World Championships in Dublin, Ireland from Oct. 30 to Nov. 4, 2009.

daniel.falloon@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 2, 2009 C5

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