Thomas is Hardly a rookie fighter
TWELVE year-old Thomas Hardy has been training in martial arts for more than half his life, and he is reaping the rewards.
The talented youngster returned from the Australian National Martial Arts championships in Sydney last month with a swag of trophies in his bag, after claiming four firsts and a second.
He travelled with a South Burnett Karate Association team crowned best in Queensland following the championships - largely due to Thomas' standout individual performances.
Coach Geoff French has seen Thomas mature over their six-year association, and is expecting big things from him in the future.
"He started with me as a little boy and now he's grown into a teenager,” French said.
"He loves all of it, but sparring is where his strength is, and I think it's because he's evolving into a strong boy and has a real go-forward attitude.
"A lot of kids can be quite shy when they fight, but he turns on the tiger as we call it and brings out all his training.”
Next year's martial arts calendar is a packed one, including a World Cup in Sydney in October.
"Thomas will be coming up to the World Cup next year, and I'll have my eye on him and give some one-on-one coaching. I really hope to see him achieve a World Championship next year,” French said.
Despite competing against each other at state and national competitions, the Karate 4 Kids instructor said the junior SBKA team showed a maturity beyond their years in supporting each other.
"It really builds that team mentality because we all have a common interest - we sweat together, train together and bleed together,” French said.
"When we see someone like Thomas come away with a win we all win, we feel part of that because we have all trained and worked together to help that happen.”
Thomas is training with French to become an assistant instructor.