BOZEMAN — At Bozeman Karate, 13-year-old August Blunck is mastering his craft.
“I don’t feel pressured at all," he said. "When I do (karate), it’s just focusing on me. I can’t even hear the crowd. I can’t hear anything but myself, my opponent, the referees -- that’s the only thing I can hear when I’m there.”
Inspired by the movie the Karate Kid at the age of seven, he asked his parents if he could join the sport.
“It was Christmas and I woke up and there was a (karate) gi under the tree," said Blunck. "It was pretty exciting. It was maybe in February, I came and I started.”
Since then, August has put in the hard work to make him one of the top young karate athletes in the nation.
“You got to have the the ability but it doesn’t come without a lot of hard work and he’s always been willing to put that in," said Blunck's sensei Aaron Boyd. "He does a really great job of training hard at the dojo but then also taking that home and training hard at home. There’s a lot of things for kids to do nowadays, so to have somebody that young be focused and say this is what I want to do and this is what I want to put all my effort into -- that’s unusual, that’s for sure.”
A few weeks ago in the Karate National Championships in Chicago, he took home first place in Kata which is all about having perfect form. He also earned bronze at the elite level of Kumite to be an alternate on the Junior US National Karate team.
“Very crazy and mind blowing because I have been working for that ever since I was 7 or 8," Blunck said. "It was awesome.”
Karate has helped Blunck not just on the mat, but off of it as well, providing him with the ability to relax and focus.
“I’ve been doing it a long time with school you know, tests and all that," he said. "I try to calm down. Karate has helped me with that too, my school work , my ability to talk to people.”
The young champion practices for many hours during the week and despite being just 13, he also helps teach some of the younger kids.
“It’s just exciting to see because I started when I was that young," said Blunck. "Maybe, they can make it as far as me or get their black-belt or do something. It’s really exciting to see how far a kid can go.”
With karate finally being an Olympic sport, Blunck believes that one day he can get there.
“I think with a lot of hard work I can make it. I’m determined to do that. I’m determined to keep going,” Blunck said.