BOZEMAN – Karate isn’t a sport that gets much attention these days, but tucked inside a little gym in Bozeman, greatness is taking shape.
Some of the best karate competitors in the nation train at Bozeman Karate, and they proved it this past month at Nationals.
“It was insane. There was so many kids there and then the competition was through the roof. The kids were very tough, it was very good competition. Anybody could’ve beaten anybody in my division,” said Cordell Severeid, a 15-year-old who trains at the gym.
Bozeman Karate was the only Dojo from Montana to compete in the national tournament in Reno, Nevada. But the big stage didn’t scare these small-town kids as plenty came back with medals, including August Blunk, who won a national title in Kumite, a fighting event.
“Everyone there has probably won throughout the year and it makes it hard because they work hard,” said Blunk. “I’ve worked really hard and I really wanted this to happen someday.”
Bozeman Karate is the only traditional gym in the state of Montana, and eager minds come from all over southwest Montana to train there.
“It all comes down to the senseis. The head coaches, they are everything, we can’t do anything without them. They are the ones to train us. They are the ones that get us ready for the matches and the tournaments,” said Severeid, who makes the trip every week from his hometown in Ennis. Severeid won a silver medal in his age group for Kumite
When it comes down to the senseis, they, too, are some of the best in the country. Aaron Boyd, who owns the gym and is the chief instructor, won a national title in short weapons. But for him, that isn’t the main goal.
“Honestly and this sounds cheesy, but I really just enjoy coaching the kids and helping them be successful, so that was more fun for me than a medal,” Boyd said.
This was by no means an easy tournament. Something huge is happening in the karate world and it brought the best competitors in the country to compete.
“Karate is going to be in the Olympics in 2020 in Tokyo, so everyone else in the different types of karate are trying it out so they could have a shot at the Olympics. So there’s way more people and the atmosphere is way tougher,” said Dean Christie, who placed first last year and third this year in his bracket of Kumite.
Even with the best of the best competing, Bozeman Karate brought home 10 medals at nationals. Who knows, maybe a few future Olympians are training the Gallatin Valley.