FORDINGBRIDGE’S Thomas Klemz has thrived as lockdown forces karate competition online climbing to number two in the world rankings at under-13 level.
The Burgate School pupil began learning karate when he was five years old. Seven years later, he holds many national, international and world titles in the kata discipline.
Due to the worldwide pandemic, opportunities to compete both domestically and internationally have been curtailed. In response, the World Karate Organisation has held contests online, with competitors recording their katas and sending them to international referees to judge.
The competitions are ranked events, which means each win earns points, contributing to a world ranking. Tom has now won more than 70 matches, securing 20 golds, eight silvers and 11 bronze medals while competing against the best karate athletes around the world between the ages of 12 and 16.
When his dad was diagnosed with ME and had to stop working, Tom and his brothers had the idea of building a karate dojo at the bottom of the garden to allow Tom to continue training and compete online.
The 12-year-old has now entered more than 20 worldwide E-competitions since August, and the combined cost has been far less than travelling abroad to one competition.
Tom started his karate journey with 6th dan black belt and Team GB coach sensei, Shaun Lanham, at Inner Strength Martial Arts Academy (ISMAA). He is now a Seikatsu Kai Karate Association member under 6th dan black belt sensei Jonathan Mottram – a three-time Commonwealth champion and Britain’s most successful kata competitor and coach.
Sensei Jonathan Mottram said: “I am very proud of Tom’s dedication to karate and I am pleased he has fantastic parents who support him. With Tom’s success, he remains humble, and I believe he has a huge future ahead of him.”
This year the World Karate Championships is in Romania and Tom is hoping to represent his country and bring home a world championships medal. Follow his journey via
@seikatsu_kai_official2020 or @ismaauk.uk