TWO brothers from Leeming will put their bodies on the line when they travel to Canada for the Goju Kai Global Karate Championships in September.
Brendan (21) and Harrison (14) Loh are both returning to the event for the second time after competing in 2013, when the younger Loh earned a pair of bronze medals in the kumite (fighting) and team kata (patterns) events.
The pair train with Brian Mackie’s Goju Kai Karate Club and are cramming in five weekly karate sessions as well as additional strength and conditioning in the lead up to the championships, with Brendan determined to improve on his early elimination four years ago.
“Last time around I lost 4-3 to the current world champion from Hungary in the first round and then got disqualified while competing for a spot in the bronze medal final against a South African fighter,” Brendan said.
The oldest of four Loh siblings, Brendan took up karate shortly after his seventh birthday but did not compete until his late teens.
“I watched a lot of Power Rangers when I was young and dad was a big fan of Jackie Chan movies so I thought it would be cool to be a black belt,” he said.
“It started as more of a social thing, I had a lot of mates at karate and didn’t really have a competitive bone in my body until 16.
“Then I started watching YouTube videos and we had a coach named Wayne Otto come over from the UK and that really inspired me to chase some tournaments.”
By his own admission, Brendan struggled at first to find his feet in competitive karate.
“I started training for the National Championships in 2012 and that’s when things swung around for me; I hadn’t even won a local competition but went to nationals and got second place,” he said.
A second Dan black belt, Brendan now works as an instructor at Brian Mackie’s Karate Blue Gum club while competing a sports science degree at Notre Dame University.
Younger brother Harrison, a junior black belt, also began karate as a seven-year-old and currently attends Leeming Senior High School.
Both Lohs won gold medals for kumite at the Asian Pacific Goju Kai Championships in Jakarta in 2015 and repeated the feat at the WA State Championships earlier this year.
They will compete in both kumite and kata at the Global Karate Championships.