Like many in their youth, Carter Dawood was enthralled by martial arts movies.
Unlike most, Dawood was inspired enough to study and practice its many forms from that young age and has gone on to become a Canadian champion and is a member of Canada’s national karate team.
Dawood, now 17, is the reigning champion in the 67 kg weight class in the cadet age group (16-17) for fighting. It follows winning bronze the year previous.
He’s also the provincial championship and has been on the podium way too many times over the years to rightly remember.
Dawood has been training since he was 6 or 7 and it has proven to be a natural fit for his athletic abilities and competitive nature.
“I said to myself, ‘I want to do that, I want to do something like that’ so I always found it as an inspiration to watch martial art movies.”
“I've always been competitive. I had played soccer, but decided to see what I can do karate and see how far I can go.”
Adam Wackershauser, chief instructor and head coach of Ippon Karate Dojo, has coached him from day one and continues to be impressed with Dawood’s abilities and character.
“He’s been consistently winning at the provincial level since he was young and is very naturally athletic,” says Wackershauser.
Dawood recently returned from his second appearance at the Pan-American Championship of the World Karate Federation in Rio de Janerio, Brazil competing in the fighting category. The year previous he qualified for the Pan Am's in Argentina in the kata discipline.
“It’s extremely rare for an athlete to be at such a high level in both disciplines,” explains Wackershauser. “We might have a couple of people in the entire country who have ever done that year-to-year.”
Dawood has also competed across Canada and in Japan. He continues to train six days a week and when he’s not practicing, he’s instructing.
“Not only is he one of the best athletes in Alberta, but he’s also there every day helping teach kids, volunteering his time,” says Wackershauser.
His next major national competition is in January and Dawood continues to perfect his performance and strive for even greater achievements.
“I feel I can keep going. If you continue to work on defense and work on offense you can only get better, you can’t go downhill from there.”
Ippon Karate Dojo
Adam Wackershauser has long established the Ippon Karate Dojo and built it into one of the top clubs in the country with a long string of provincial and national champions.
Wackershauser has been studying the martial arts since age eight, been instructing since 14 and running his own club since 18.
As an athlete, he was a Pan American medalist, seven-time national medalist and 10-time senior provincial champion.
Yet throughout this experience the long-term aim was to become a coach. He is NCCP certified, a provincial coach and now a junior assistant coach for the national team.
“I’ve always had more of a passion for coaching than I did for competition. I knew if I was a better competitor I would be a better coach later.”
He recently returned from a Karate Canada Summit in Toronto where he represented Alberta.
“It was an absolutely phenomenal experience. It was a really good opportunity for me to go so I could bring some more stuff back to the province and to my club.”
His first experience coaching nationally was at this fall’s Pan Am championship and he’s looking forward to doing more.
The experience as a coach differs drastically from that of the athlete.
“The athletes prepare for every day for so long to get to this moment. For some of them, it may be the only chance they will get at this moment because making the national team is difficult in itself.
Just to see them progress and become some of the best in the world. It’s a really amazing experience.”
As a coach, you witness the highs and lows of each of the competing athletes.
“You experience it 50 times, not just once. With each athlete, you take that roller-coaster ride.”
Ippon Karate has between 80 and 90 students from ages 4 to 71. It has consistently produced athletes competing on both the provincial and national stage.
“My whole thought process was that I wanted it to be a martial arts community within Cochrane where people would come with like-minded views and everybody can train as long as they wanted to be there and it would be a lot of fun and that’s what it’s turned into, it’s become a family."
“I honestly consider it to be my second family.”
Carter was recently named CochraneNow's first Sports Star of the Month.
Carter Dawood First Sports Star of the Month