As fall sports end in the schools, one middle school athlete is using a unique sport to transition into the winter months ahead.
Tommy Gibson is a 13 year old from Great Bend. He played soccer for the Blue Ridge Junior High team the past two years. And although Gibson loves playing soccer, shooting guns at the firing range, and being a Boy Scout in Troop 83 out of Conklin, N.Y,, his favorite activity is more personal and individual.
Gibson has been involved in Karate since the age of eight. He began competing in 2012, and placed second in his age group at the New York State Championships.
And he hasn’t slowed down since.
Gibson’s mom, Rhonda White, was his karate coach and has been with her son all along his journey in the sport. He is now being coached by Sensei Frank at FMK Karate in Binghamton, N.Y.
In June of this year, Gibson had one of his most impressive results from a competition in Grove City, placing first in sparring underbelt advancedl second in kata underbelt advanced; and s
econd in blackbelt sparring in the heavyweight class.
White said despite these incredible accomplishments, she is more proud of Gibson for his humility than anything else.
“I am most proud of him for learning to be humbled” White said. “I’d tell him practice until you get it right, always think, be a great competitor and you’ve already won and that has been the best part of this whole thing.”
A broken hand sidelined Gibson from training following the June competition, and once healthy, he headed to the soccer field where he played goalie.
White believes karate made Gibson a better soccer player this year. “Karate gives him the base for everything. He stays focused,” White said.
But with the fall sports season over, Gibson has his eyes set on his next karate competition. He has started training again and is poised to make a run for another first place. Even with time off from competition, Gibson has accrued enough points to qualify for internationals as a wild card. This means he will have to win each fight just to continue into the next round.
But that’s familiar territory for the competitor. He had to fight as a wild card in his first competition in 2012 and placed second in his age group.
As long as he remains focused and humbled, White believes he can do it again, only this time taking first place.
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