BHS’s own Karate Kid- What’s Your Story
BHS student involved in karate learns techniques to protect himself in the real world.
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Nick McElroy fights his way up the karate rankings with every swift hand movement and combined symmetrical balance created with each swing he makes.
McElroy found himself starting karate about a year and a half ago. He just wanted to have the ability to defend himself, throughout the process he became very good and started getting very involved with the program.
“I started doing karate to basically use my body as a weapon and to practice techniques to strengthen my body,” McElroy said.
McElroy has mastered the basics and found some techniques that have become his favorites.
“My favorite technique would either be the round house kick or a flying snap kick,” said McElroy. “The round house kick has a lot of power and can be very fast if you know how to deliver it, Same with the flying snap kick you actually get into the air.”
Before entering the full class, McElroy spent some time with his sensei to help make it a smoother transition.
“He teaches you a few basic movements so that you won’t be completely overwhelmed when you enter the class.” McElroy said.
The time and effort put into karate by McElroy takes up a decent amount of time in his everyday life.
“It’s honestly like a job,” said McElroy. “I’ve put a lot of work into it.”
Karate changes people and for McElroy it helped with his transition into becoming a teenager.
“I wasn’t as respectful and focused before karate,” said McElroy. “Karate definitely gives me another look on treating people different ways and it teaches you discipline in many forms [too].”
The internet became a major part of the search for a dojo after McElroy expressed his interest in karate to his parents.
“I wanted to get into karate and they [his parents] just looked for a place and happened to come across the one I go to nearby,” McElroy said.
McElroy attends the Uechi Ryu Karate Academy in Saco and continues to excel through obstacles with the help of his instructor John Scully.
“In the year and a half Nick has been with us he has matured a great deal both physically and mentally,” said Scully. “He has gone from a somewhat distracted and uncertain youth, to a strong, confident and focused young man.”
Since McElroy began studying karate and excelling quickly he started helping with the younger students a little less than a year ago.
“ [In] The little kid classes we do a lot of fun little drills and we play games that secretly introduce little aspects of karate,” said McElroy. “It’s much less intense and stressed out, and it’s all about having fun because the kids don’t really know a lot about their bodies.”
Working with younger kids brings joy to McElroy as he sees them improve.
“My favorite part about working with the younger kids is watching them progress and watching them test for their new ranks and belts,” McElroy said.
McElroy enjoys working with the younger kids and all of the attention that he receives.
“Another one [of favorite parts working with the younger kids] would be being this big idol,” said McElroy. “Whenever the kids see me they say Mr. Nick and they always freak out about it which is really great.”
For McElroy, there are challenges just like in every sport he finds listening to be one of his biggest challenges.
“I have a hard time putting what my sensei tells me,” said McElroy. “I catch on pretty fast though.”
McElroy takes karate very seriously and strives to keep learning new things according to Sully.
“He is always focused and diligent in class,” said Scully. “[McElroy] takes instruction incredibly well, and works hard to identify and improve his weaknesses while continuing to develop his strengths.”
With all the challenges come rewards, for McElroy those rewards are what keep him motivated.
“The rewarding factor for me is getting a new belt,” McElroy said.
McElroy currently hold the brown belt and next he goes to the black belt which is the highest ranking you can earn.
“I probably will continue karate after I get my black belt and I have actually thought about asking my sensei if he will do a black belt class,” said McElroy. ”I will definitely continue karate though.”
McElroy’s determination has helped him tremendously in the long run.
“It takes a certain kind of person to have the focus, energy and perseverance to do what it takes to become good, let alone great,” said Scully. “Nick is one of those people.”