It’s so easy to think that people from a small town would have a more laid back attitude and a small town approach when it comes to international events.
But nothing could be farther from the truth for Carl Scott, the head sensei of the Sooke Martial Arts Association, where they teach Shotokan karate.
Don’t let his young looks fool you: he’s older on the inside than he looks on the outside, and has accumulated decades of experience. This youthful 39-year-old achieved his first degree blackbelt in 1991, and after a few years leave, he obtained his second degree in 2008. Just last year, he completed his third degree.
His most recent karate success was placing in the top 10 in two categories, at his recent jaunt out to the National Blackbelt League (NBL) Super Grands World Games, which happened in Charleston, South Carolina from December 26-31, 2013. Scott placed 9th in the 18+ point sparring karate division, and 6th in the men’s middleweight division.
“It’s single round point fighting, unlimited points. Two minute fights. They are fast fights,” said Scott. Games get called if there’s more than a 10 point spread. In most fights, there’s usually two or three points between the two competitors. “They’re generally pretty tight, especially at that level.”
Scott estimated he did between 18 and 20 fights in one day. It was a double elimination system, “which means that once you loose two fights, you are out of that division.”
He used to get the butterflies at competitions. That’s normal, he says. But these days he has come to rely on his skills. “I’ve done a lot of tournaments over the years,” he said. “I’m confident in my abilities, and I don’t necessarily go in with huge expectations.” He tries to make a point of not getting too nervous.
One thing that helps him stay calm is his MP3 player; another, is scoping out the competition. If you know who you are up against, you can learn a bit about them when you watch them warm up. And, when you may have as many as 40 minutes between fights at a competition, scoping out the competition can be a very useful way to fill the time. And, it can keep you focussed. “Pay attention to what’s going on,” he advised.
When asked what he likes about karate, Scott was quick to answer. “The fitness part of it, the discipline part of it. I’ve had very good success in some tournaments I’ve done over the years, so that’s always a good motivator,” he responded. “Endless learning possibilities. There’s so many branches to martial arts.” Just recently, in fact, SMAA has brought a third degree blackbelt kobudo (weapons) instructor on board, who travels in from Victoria once a month to teach.
And he’s not keeping all that success, growth and drive to himself. Students at the SMAA fare rather well, a fact that was showcased in recent out-of-town tournaments.
“We did a big tournament in Port Alberni last year,” said Scott. “There (were) 11 students that went to Port Alberni. We brought 23 medals home. That was neat.” There were over 100 students at the tournament, so SMAA represented over 10 per cent of competitors.
Scott is firmly anchored in Sooke.
“I was born in Hazelton, but I’ve been in Sooke my whole life.” Besides being the Head Sensei at SMAA, he also owns and operates Sooke Centre Auto repair and, together with his wife Dawne (who alerted Sooke News Mirror to the world class success of her husband), raises their two boys. “I have a 10 month old, and a three-and-a-half-year-old.”
Busy, successful and world-class. That, in a nutshell, describes Sooke’s Carl Scott. “I’m glued to Sooke now,” he laughs.
“It’s sometimes a little bit of an eye opener, being a little karate club in a little town on the west coast of Canada, that the rest of the world has something to offer,” said Scott, referring to the notion that there’s a bigger, better world “out there.” “But it’s neat to be able to go and see those tournaments and watch that competition, and realize when you come back here that anybody in our club … (is) pretty much on par.” Time and practice makes a champion, maintains Scott, not the size of a town. That, and Scott is quick to boast about the level of the Sanseis they have teaching at SMAA.
The Super Grands are a big deal. According to their website (nblskil.com), “The NBL and SKIL are the world largest and most prestigious sport karate league tournaments with a ranking system for blackbelts and under blackbelts and are the only international sport karate leagues based upon a series of open tournaments culminating with a year end championship, the Super Grands World Games.”
The 2013 Super Grands Facebook event page confirms the prestigious nature of the competitions. “With its history as the most prestigious sport karate event in the world, Super Grands World Games XXIV will again attract the best sport karate contenders to compete for the 120 officially recognized blackbelt world titles for juniors, adults and seniors.”
And the martial artists in Sooke are a force to be reckoned with.