Swick attends kumite training

GRAFTON— Local eight-year old boy, Draken Swick, recently had the opportunity of a lifetime, when he traveled to Nitro, West Virginia, earlier in the month, to participate in kumite (sparring) Martial Arts training.

The training seminar was held at the USA Martial Arts Training Center, and was conducted by instructor, Sensei Dustin Baldis, of the Pennsylvania Shotokan Karate Club. Sensi Baldis has been involved with traditional Japanese karate-do for over 30 years. He is a fifth-degree Black Belt, in the art of Shotokan Karate.

According to his dad, Eric Swick, during the two-hour training, Draken worked with members from the USA National Karate Team, who will be competing in the 2020 Olympic games.

The training taught Draken all about the art of sparring, as well as, working to be an elite martial arts student, with Sensi Baldis’ teachings on discipline, respect and manners.

“I thought it was awesome to be with so many USA competitors, but it was very tiring,” commented Draken.

Draken has a future goal of competing in karate in the Olympics.

“It is something he is really hoping to be able to do in the future. He just really enjoys it, and thought the entire experience was cool,” said Swick.

Swick shared that Draken has been learning martial arts since the age of three, and that this was his second year being invited to the training seminar.

In addition, Swick made comment to how strong of a competitor Draken is saying, “He competes in the National Karate Federation, and trains four days a week at Dragon’s Den.”

“Draken’s favorite events are Weapons and Kata,” added Swick.