There's no place like the dojo for state karate champion
KARATE: There is no place that makes Fraser Coast teen Taylah Neeson more comfortable than the dojo.
"When I walk through the dojo and sit on the mat, it feels like another life,” she said. "I've done karate for four and a half years since I move from Townsville, and I've loved it since then.”
The 12-year-old Hervey Bay State High School student is a budding martial artist, and one of 20 Bayside Martial Arts students who will now prepare for the national titles at the Gold Coast.
There is a long way to go until she achieves her career of becoming an instructor, but Neeson, from Point Vernon, is following the right path.
The brown belt (black tips) won the kata in her age group at the Australian Martial Arts Championships QLD State Titles in October. She finished second in team kata and was third in the kata in an age group above her own.
Neeson credits Renshi Amanda Morris's teachings for her success.
"It was exciting, I was nervous but you get to learn a lot afterwards,” she said. "In sparring, you watch a lot of people and take note of what they're doing. You see what they're doing and you can learn from that for next time.
"I like competition, it challenges you.”
Neeson's favourite aspect is kata, a category in which she claimed the state title.
"I thought I did have it because I felt strong and I had good technique.”
The December 8-9 national titles is the immediate goal, though Neeson has her sights set on two others: becoming a coach of her own students and the chance to compete at an Olympic Games.
"I'd love to go to the Olympics and represent Australia,” Neeson said.