In good form on an international stage

Young Breslau martial artist Hannah Wright is putting her training to use in series of tough competitions

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Breslau’s Hannah Wright has had a passion for martial arts for years. Now, she’s getting the chance to show competitors across the globe what she’s made of.

The 12-year-old travelled to Queens, New York early this month to compete in the 2018 Karate Tournament of Champions (KTOC), where she posted a third-place finish in traditional weapons, open forms and sparring, as well as fourth in the traditional forms category.

The trip to New York was a great chance to show off her skills as well as enjoy the sights the big city has to offer, she says.

“It was really fun. There was a lot of things that you could experience,” said Hannah. “We did a lot of things in Central Park and Times Square, but when we got back to the hotel, we practiced.”

She practices a minimum of six days a week for at least an hour to prepare for her next competition and keep in top form. She visits several studios for her training, with the other being Waterloo’s Shamoun Generation Martial Arts.

“She’s a very versatile athlete,” said Lorenza Saavedra, one of her instructors at HotShot Athletic, a martial arts school in Cambridge. “She does kung fu, which is the style of martial arts. In competitions, she also does karate, which is hard-style. She does open, which is a more extreme martial art, and sparring. So she does a bunch of different styles of martial arts within a competition.”

Other divisions at the New York competition included point fighting, open/creative weapons, and continuous fighting.

Hannah has been involved with martial arts for over four years. She is currently at the brown belt level, which represents an advanced student whose talents are being cultivated.

While the level of experience from each belt colour varies across arts, styles and even within some organizations, the white belt is very commonly used to represent a brand new student who is just starting out their martial arts journey, while the black belt denotes a high amount of competence in martial arts. It can typically be earned after three to six years, although this varies.

The standard belt colour system also includes yellow, orange, green, blue, purple and red.

“She has drive, dedication, she doesn’t say ‘no,’ she’s willing to try new moves, which makes one great martial artist,” said Saavedra.

“I’m proud of where I come from and what I have accomplished so far but I know I can do better and be more,” said Hannah. “I want nothing more to show my coaches, my team and my country what I can achieve with hard work and practice.”

She will have the opportunity to show off her hard work once again at the International Tournament of Martial Arts in Jamaica where she will represent Team Canada in five divisions.

“Hannah’s competing January 5 and 6 in Montego Bay,” said Saavedra. “This is her fourth year going with us on that team. She’s been very successful, so we’re hoping that she’ll clean up again this year.”

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