Karate master pulls his kicks for 4-H campers

July 08, 1993|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff Writer

The guys thought they were pretty good fighters. But when they came up against Carlos Bedoya, instructor for the Westminster Karate Academy, they had met their match.

Amid screaming cheers and laughter, Mr. Bedoya demonstrated his craft yesterday to about 100 Carroll County 4-H campers by "fighting" with volunteers from the audience. Each punch and kick was delivered just inches from his targets, causing them all to duck and flinch.

"Just do what I did -- run!" advised one of the boys as his comrade warily eyed the 28-year-old karate master.

But despite the audience's penchant for violence and acrobatics, Mr. Bedoya taught the discipline of karate.

"Everybody sees on TV the punches and kicks and people being violent," he told the students. "That's not the way it is. Karate is a discipline, a way of setting goals and keeping on it."

Turning his back on his small "attacker" Mr. Bedoya asked, "Where is the fight? If I don't see the fight, it's not there."

The 15-year karate student also stressed that all personality traits are equally effective in solving problems using the Japanese symbolism of earth, fire, water and wind.

"Each can cancel each other out," Mr. Bedoya said. "Each person has a separate personality, and it's important for them to train in relation to that. There's no sense in making someone do something they'll be uncomfortable with."

The demonstration was a mid-week treat for the children, who are spending this week learning about outdoor activities such as hiking, canoeing and cooking during a camping trip. About half of this year's campers are 4-H members.

"Even the teens love his demonstrations," said Carroll County extension agent Rita Zimmerman about Mr. Bedoya's presentation, which has been given at 4-H "Beat the Winter Blahs" programs and teen-age activities. "Their eyes are peeled the entire time."

Ms. Zimmerman also said she doesn't mind that the presentation could be considered free publicity for the Westminster Karate Academy.

"Karate is good for the kids," she said. "It helps them open their minds and makes them better students."

The theme for this year's session was World '93, and participants were divided into nine groups, each named for a different country, Ms. Zimmerman said.

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