Karate world champion embodies focus, hard work

Madeline Welch, Opinion Editor

The arena roars as Zachary Gin of Team USA fights a British opponent. Zachary’s teammates scream from beside the mat, or the “tatami.” They loyally cheer when he wins a point and boo when he loses one. Zachary can feel the anticipation in the arena and with one last move, he beats his opponent 5-3 to snag the title: World Champion.

Sophomore Zachary Gin, a second-degree black belt in karate, took first place in the Kumite Shobu Sanbon event for his age and weight category at  the World Union of Karate-Do Federation Kumite World Championship in late June. 

Zachary’s successful karate career began at age 8.

“It was my cousin who started doing karate at first and then I wanted to try it,” Zachary said. “I got really into it, so now both of us still do it.”

Over the years, Zachary gained confidence in all his techniques and improved his strength and speed. He enjoys karate because it’s a good way to release stress after a long day at school. He trains at Enso Shotokan Karate dojo downtown.

 “I used to be able to go to the dojo every day, but with track and cross country that has gotten harder. I still go at least three times a week,” Zachary said. 

 As well as being a highly ranked karateka, Zachary is also a state qualifier on the track and cross country teams.

“It’s very difficult juggling going to two sports every day, but in the end, they are both very rewarding,” Zachary said. 

In the future, Zachary hopes to qualify for the 2020 Pan-American Games. 

“Pan-Ams would be a different experience with a different set of athletes, and I would have to participate in a different league,” Zachary said. 

To get there, he will have to get first or second place at the National Karate-Do Federation tournament, a bigger, more elite national tournament. Even though this means Zachary will have to participate in harder tournaments than he is used to, he is still hopeful. 

“Winning Worlds gave me a large sense of American pride and made me thankful for all the coaches and people that allowed me to win,” Zachary said. 

Zachary said he struggles with procrastination in school, but karate has helped him focus and improve his time-management skills. The structure and discipline emphasized in karate are applicable in school, as they help him focus on the task at hand.

“Karate has made me understand what a lot of training and hard work can do,” Zachary said. “It’s also helped me a lot with discipline. I don’t procrastinate as much and I get stuff done faster. Karate is all about discipline and focus.”

Zachary appreciates the open-mindedness that karate inspires. He likes that one can engage with the sport in many ways. 

“Karate shows you a wide range of skills. You could be teaching little kids, or learning brand new things,” Zachary said. “I think having an open mind about things like that is impactful in the real world as well.”