Sports

Karate’s Newell brothers are nationals bound

Black belt karate brothers Geoffrey, left, and Jean Newell,  have qualified for the 2013 Karate national black belt championships in Toronto next month. The proteges are also the driving force for the Island’s Zone 6 provincial region and have already qualifed for the 2014 provincial championships.  - Travis Paterson/News staff
Black belt karate brothers Geoffrey, left, and Jean Newell, have qualified for the 2013 Karate national black belt championships in Toronto next month. The proteges are also the driving force for the Island’s Zone 6 provincial region and have already qualifed for the 2014 provincial championships.
— image credit: Travis Paterson/News staff

Karate’s Newell brothers have come a long way and they’re only getting started.

Geoffrey, 17, and Jean, 14, took up karate six years ago and from that point they’ve been focused on reaching the world championships.

“They were only three months in when we showed them a video of the worlds and they started mimicking the Team Kata movements from the black belt competition,” said mother Brigette.

Right then mom and dad, David, knew if the boys could reproduce elements of the black belt Kata from the world championships, which is the highest level of the choreographed series of movements, then the sky was the limit.

It’s been one step at a time, but things are going fast.

The brothers are currently training 20 hours a week for the Karate Canada National Championships, March 15 to 17 in Toronto.

“Team Kata takes a lot of practise, you really have to feel where the (other person) is at,” Geoffrey said.

It’s the first nationals for Jean, and the second for Geoffrey, who, as a brown belt, had to defeat many black belts to win bronze in 2011. Jean just earned his black belt in 2012 as a 14-year-old, the minimum age, and he and Geoffrey already have multiple provincial, national and international medals to their name.

Last weekend they were in Vancouver where they picked up so many medals they need mom to keep track of them all.

Geoffrey’s kata is so clean he won gold not only in his 16- and 17-year-old divisions, but in the 18 to 20 and men's open divisions as well. He also took gold in kumite (sparring) amongst 16-and 17-year-olds for his weight class of sub-55 kilograms, and was second in the next age among the 18 to 20 year olds.

Like big brother, Jean won gold in his age and weight class for kumite and kata, and won silver in the next age group up for kumite. For those doing the math, that meant Jean lost to Geoffrey in the kumite 16-17 category. Jean also won two gold and two silver at the B.C. Winter Games in 2012.

Home schooled out of Oak Bay, the boys maximize their flexible schedule by traveling twice a week to Duncan where they train and teach at the Fernando Correia School of Karate. Here in town they train with black belt Craig Devlin twice a week. At nationals Geoffrey will spar in the individual kumite against fellow 16 and 17 year olds, and the brothers will compete in the Team Kata 14- to 17-year-old division.

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