Two young cousins are fighting their way to the top in karate, with both taking out top honours in the National Counties Shotokan Karate Tournament this year.
Dahnyelle Rogan, 16, from Tu Toa, and Samiuela Mafi, 15, from Palmerston North Boys' High School, were first in all three divisions - kata (pattern), team kata and kumite (sparring).
The cousins are members of the Davis Karate Academy of Feilding, which took 15 members to the tournament in Auckland in March, bringing home 13 gold, eight silver and two bronze medals.
Sensei Miho Davis says she is proud of all those who competed, but was particularly pleased with the results of the team kata event and the senior black belt kumite.
Davis Karate Academy's intermediate teams placed first (the team that Dahnyelle, Samiuela, and Isahya Hunter were in) and second out of 10 teams, and the senior team came second out of seven teams.
This month the academy is hoping for similarly good results when it sends seven members to the ninth World Shito-ryu Karate Tournament in Osaka, Japan.
Dahnyelle began studying karate nine years ago after her parents took her along to a class, and says she ended up loving the sport.
"I just love the discipline and the physicality of it and everything I learn. You use it in every aspect of life, so that's good."
Dahnyelle has been competing for seven years and is a nidan, or second dan black belt.
Her father, Corey Rogan, says she did her black belt grading in Japan in 2008 in front of eight of the top masters in the Shito-ryu association.
Dahnyelle also competed in Canada in 2011 at a karate world tournament. She was in the team that was second in the team kata and third in the team sparring, and she also was third in the individual sparring.
Samiuela took up the sport four years ago, originally tagging along when Dahnyelle and her father were training, but he enjoyed it so much he carried on.
He gained his brown belt last year and hopes to move up to black belt when he goes to Japan with the academy this month.
Samiuela also plays volleyball and has played softball for Manawatu. "I enjoy learning new things.
"There are different things you learn at the tournaments and new people you meet around the world," he says.
Mr Rogan says he is very proud of Dahnyelle and Samiuela and they deserve everything they have achieved.
"All of their successes, everything they achieve, is because they are so dedicated to their training; they never miss it. This is not from me pushing them, that's from them wanting this. They always give 100 per cent and that's the same at tournaments.
"They are complete professionals - training comes before fun. They are near-perfect students of karate and great representatives for the sport and the club."
Dahnyelle says her father and her sensei have put in a lot of effort to train her and Samiuela.
Mr Rogan says everything Davis teaches is traditional Japanese and she strives for perfection.
"That's what Miho's drummed into the two of them and their success is down to her."
Dahnyelle, Samiuela and their dad attend training in Feilding every week and they also train at home every Friday night.
"Dad and sensei are always putting time in to train us. We train three to four days a week for a couple of hours at a time and I go to the gym and do swimming and a lot of running," says Dahnyelle.
"I like karate, it's a good discipline, everything you learn in there is good for life lessons. The five principles are determination, morality, development, common sense and peace. It's good learning for life."
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