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Local takes two karate tourneys

March 31, 2002|By RICHARD MYERS

Sports Editor

In a sport where aggression is king, Imperial's Michael Godsey is quite the little prince.

Michael, 6, has won his flight in two karate tournaments, but that's not what pleases his dad, Tim, the most.

"He's such a nice kid," Tim Godsey said. "He can be a real fighter on the mat, real aggressive. But off of it Michael is real sweet. He is also so compassionate."

Tim Godsey recalled that the second tournament his son was in he faced another youngster whom he regularly spars with at the Imperial Shoto-Kan dojo.

The showdown came in the finals, where Michael prevailed.

"The other kid started crying like crazy," Tim Godsey said, noting the other fighter ran to his mother with tears in his eyes. "Before Michael did anything else he went over to the kid and told him ‘You are just as good a fighter as I am.' Michael made him feel better. He stopped crying.

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"When he's fighting Michael really gets into it," Tim Godsey continued. "But he can also be a real sweet kid. It's amazing."

Michael Godsey's sudden rise in the karate ranks is quite amazing as well.

The Ben Hulse Elementary School kindergartner has been competing in karate for only half a year.

He got hooked watching Chuck Norris on television.

"His favorite show is ‘Walker, Texas Ranger,' " Tim Godsey said. After watching the show a number of times he decided he would like to learn karate.

Tim Godsey took him to the Imperial karate studio just to see what it was about and, said the proud dad, "He wanted to start right that day."

At the time Michael was only 5.

After just a couple months he entered his first tournament in Calexico. Through a mixup, though, Michael Godsey ended up fighting youngsters older and bigger than he.

"We got there early in the morning and they told us Michael's division would not be wrestling until later in the afternoon," Tim Godsey said.

Kata competitions were held in the morning and Michael Godsey competes in just Kumite. So they decided to go back home, rest and come back.

They arrived about an hour before Michael Godsey's division was scheduled to compete in the white-belt class but to their dismay it had just ended.

"We saw the kid who won walking off with a big trophy," Tim Godsey said. "Michael was devastated."

He still wanted to fight, so Michael asked his dad if he could fight up a division.

"I was a little worried," Tim Godsey said. "I told Michael they kick harder and fight harder. They also are bigger."

Michael Godsey stands about 4 feet tall and weighs around 55 pounds. He would be fighting foes who were 7 to 9 years old and wore yellow, green and purple belts.

"He still wanted to do it," Tim Godsey said.

"The guys were huge," Tim Godsey said. "I told Michael to just keep hitting them and don't ever stop."

He did just that, fighting his way to the championship, where he defeated a green belt and won a trophy that stood taller than he.

"I was so proud of him I ran right out onto the mat and picked him up and gave him a great big hug after he had won," Tim Godsey said.

He then had to put him down so Michael could bow to the referee and his instructor, a karate tradition after each match.

Michael followed that win with another at a tournament in Somerset, Ariz. There he fought other white belts like himself and again went undefeated.

The youngster he defeated in the finals, the one who cried after he lost, ironically happened to be the one who won the division in Calexico, the one to which Michael Godsey showed up late.

With those two impressive tournament wins Michael Godsey now sets his sights on the national tournament in Orlando, Fla., this fall.

"I'm so proud of him," Tim Godsey said of his son, a humble child.

"Michael prays before he fights and he prays after he fights," Tim Godsey said. "He prays for the other kids too, not just for himself."

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