National Karate Champion learns life skills

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22 September 2016

UPDATE: Cassandra Banks has recently won a Gold Medal for Australia at the 17th Oceania Karate Championships held in New Caledonia 16–18 September.

By Cassandra Banks, Mount Lilydale Mercy College 

My name is Cassandra Banks and I am 13 years old. I have been doing karate since I was four years old. I have been a member of the Victorian State TeamNational Karate Champion Cassandra Banks since I was eight years old and in the Australian Team since 2011.

Recently I represented Victoria at the National Championships where I won gold. When competing at the Nationals, I always get a little bit nervous, but when I get on the competition floor nothing else matters. It’s loads of fun to have people watching and cheering for you. When I won gold, I was so excited, but the best feeling was when I stood on the podium and they announced, ‘and the 2016 National Champion is Cassandra Banks!’

Over the past five years, I have competed all over Australia and in other countries around the world. I am Australia’s current National Champion in the Female 12/13 years Kata division and I am the current Commonwealth Champion in the Female 12/13 Years Kumite division. My best achievement so far is a gold medal at the World Karate Federation (WKF) Commonwealth Championship in India last year.

It is an absolute honour to represent my country overseas and every time I compete it brings me one step closer to achieving my long term goal of going to the Junior World Championships and my ultimate dream of being able to compete at the Olympics Games in Tokyo 2020.

Through my karate I have learnt a lot of life skills:

  • persistence because no matter how you preform on the competition floor you always need to keep pushing to improve your performance
  • self confidence from being able to compete on the floor by yourself and also being able to talk to the students you are teaching
  • self control because you have the skill and ability to injure someone if you need to protect yourself but you need to be able to control yourself when under pressure.

Karate is a very big part of my life. I train almost every day and I travel to Footscray to train with the State Team every Saturday during the main competition season, which is February to August. At my club, I help teach a lot of the classes and I help coach at some of the minor competitions. Sometimes I travel overseas to places like Japan to help me improve further.