March 18, 2017 4:38 pm
Updated: March 18, 2017 5:13 pm

Moncton teen heading to international karate competition in Japan

WATCH: Moncton teen preparing for international karate tournament. Adrienne South reports.

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A Moncton, N.B. teen and his karate team will represent Canada at an international karate competition in Japan.

14-year-old Jonathan Campbell is one of eight members heading to Japan on April 25 for two weeks.

Campbell started martial arts when he was just four years old and now studies Kyokushin-kan karate at Centre Jason Aresneault.

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He’s “nervous and excited at the same time,” Campbell said. It’s his first time heading overseas to compete in a tournament of this scale.

“Right now for karate I’m training four to five nights a week, and most of the training can go up to three hours long,” Campbell said.

He noted it’s positive to have some nerves before a competition, as it helps get his adrenaline going.

He said karate has taught him how to be mentally prepared for almost any situation in his life, including school.

Campbell will compete in his age category with other athletes from around the world. He told Global News the tournament falls on his birthday, so he’ll get to celebrate turning 15 in Japan.

A gold medal would make for a pretty good birthday present, Campbell admits, but says the goal is to have fun, explore and enjoy the experience — and bring home some Japanese souvenirs.

“I’m having fun no matter what I get,” he said.

Sensei Jason Arsenault has been working with Campbell for nearly five years — he said the trip will be “the experience of a lifetime” for his dedicated pupil.

Arsenault, who went to Japan once before for a tournament in 2012, noted being invited to compete is a “big deal.”

“After competing in Japan, these kids will come back different people. I guarantee it. We did,” Aresenault said. ” You don’t realize until you put yourself at that stage and that level how much you learn in such a short time.”

Campbell said his father has been his biggest supporter, always pushing him to do his best.

Campbell said he’s looking forward to visiting the birthplace of karate and to go to Mount Mitsumine to pay his respects to the founder of the martial art.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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