DERBY, Kan. (KSNW) – Karate for 18-year-old Jaycie Nelson began at a young age, but she had some inspiration.
“I went to the Karate Kid movie, the new one with Jaden Smith, and I just got really inspired to do it, and it was really cool,” says Nelson. “So me and my brother went home and started punching pillows. I got signed up for lessons.”
She hasn’t looked back since. The teen began competing that same year and decided the sport was her calling. Nelson picked up Kata, a type of martial arts involving a choreographed pattern of movements. “I just love how unique it is from other sports,” says Nelson.
She competed at a regional event in Gainesville, Fla. to reach the top two Kata performers in her age division. At the end of August, Nelson will represent Team USA with 74 other athletes in the Pan American Karate Federation Championship in Ecuador. What was once a fascination with a movie turned into a passion.
“Doing Karate is just something I always love to do,” Nelson said. “And once I started getting better and winning you know, it pushed me. I wanted to be better.”