Becky Schweitzer may not have started along her path as a martial artist until she was 23, but she was always interested from a young age. A fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the Karate Kid films, she also had the influence of her cousin who was already taking part in martial arts and would show her what he learned at class.
Almost 15 years since starting along her path, Schweitzer has overcome many challenges, including getting her black belt in 2010 – she is now a fourth-degree black belt – and even opened up four of her own clubs about five years ago, Schweitzer’s Martial Arts. But some of the things she is really proud to have done is win multiple awards over her time taking part in competitions.
In 2020 alone, Schweitzer won multiple titles, including four at the North American Sport Karate Association (NASKA). Rated as the world’s most elite karate circuit, she went up against more than 2,000 competitors from 18 countries, competing in divisions such as kata, weapons, self-defence, and sparring.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, live tournaments were cancelled and instead moved to a virtual format, in many cases for the first time. Participants of tournaments were encouraged to film themselves performing in their selected divisions and send those in to be judged online against others competing in the same division.
While this was different than the tournaments in which she competed in years prior, Schweitzer said she may have enjoyed this format a little more.
“It was definitely interesting, obviously it was different than in-person, but I actually kind of enjoyed it a little better – I think mostly because it cost a little less, [and there was] less travelling. It wasn’t the same experience but for what it was, I really enjoyed it,” said Schweitzer. “This is where the world elite goes to compete. I would say [it is] probably even tougher than the Olympics – there are a lot of good competitors there.”
Schweitzer came away with titles in 18+ Black Belt Women’s Kenpo, 30+ Black Belt Women’s CMX Forms, 30+ Black Belt Women’s CMX Weapons, and a Grand Championship in 30+ Black Belt Women’s Weapons.
Schweitzer says her process for preparing for tournaments like NASKA included going in and doing three different takes of each division in which she was competing – on average she says she competed in about three divisions per tournament. She would then go home and review each take, picking the best one to submit for judging.
This was extremely helpful for her as she had the chance to put her best work forward, however, it also meant that every other competitor had the ability to do the same.
“Now the nice thing is even though I got to work on it and send in my best video, everyone else had that same opportunity as well. We were going against each other’s best. So, I think that’s what made it tougher as well.”
Looking towards the future, Schweitzer says she is pleased with how things are going but she hopes to expand her clubs and continue winning at tournaments.
“I’m hoping to win more world titles; that’s one of my objectives. This year … I’m kind of happy with the way things are going right now competing. If we get back into in-person competition, if I had the money… and the time to travel, I would like to get back into that, but right now this is a good alternative. I’m [also] really pleased with my clubs, I’d like to expand my clubs, grow my clubs. That would be nice. But right now, I’m very pleased with how things are going,” she added.