When Camden Gatlin saw Karate International for the first time, he was a curious and active Kindergartner tagging along to his sister’s gymnastic cheerleading training in the building next door. Before long, he was asking his parents if he could try karate.
Camden studied at Karate International of Raleigh for a year. Like lots of young children, he loved learning karate, and—according to his dad—he also liked looking around to see what the other students were doing. Camden enjoyed his martial arts training as well as a variety of other sports, from baseball to soccer.
As Camden’s soccer schedule became more demanding, he and his family decided it wasn’t the right time for him to continue with his martial arts study. But the lessons he learned at the dojo stayed with him. And then one day, years later, he told his parents he wanted to go back to karate to “see how far he could go”. After having such a positive experience at Karate International of Raleigh, his father said it was a “no-brainer” to enroll him at the nearest Karate International—the Apex school.
A teenager now, Camden is friendly, inquisitive, and enthusiastic. He radiates a wonderful kind of energy that everyone at the dojo enjoys being around. Under the direction of Shihan Houston, Camden easily picked up his training. Not only did he remember much of what he learned as a young child, he has found his focus. During kata, he is serious and intense. He is hard working and determined, and his confidence grows with each class. He still enjoys lots of other activities, including soccer, but he is determined to get his black belt.
Camden spoke to me one day in class about returning to karate. He said, “If I hadn’t left, I would’ve gotten my black belt by now.” Camden just received his green belt last Friday. I was struck at the pride in his father’s eyes as he broke a board in one swift motion. In that step, that strike, that moment of courage and focus, I think everyone in that room knew exactly how far Camden could go—all the way to his black belt and beyond.
The study and practice of martial arts can benefit anyone at any age. It’s never the wrong time to start training, whether you’ve tried before or are just curious to see how far you can go. Contact your Karate International location today to get started.