Young Oak Bay black belt is Vegas-bound

10-year-old Oak Bay boy pumped for international competition

Taekwondo black belt Jacob Isaac first took up the martial art at age five. He earned his black belt this past summer.

Taekwondo black belt Jacob Isaac first took up the martial art at age five. He earned his black belt this past summer.

Jacob Isaac spars four times a week. It’s just one of his taekwondo disciplines, but a favourite, and one that takes the Grade 5 student to Las Vegas later this month.

The 10-year-old Oak Bay resident tried a number of sports before settling on the martial art at five.

“It’s a fun thing to do,” Jacob said, noting the appeal of ranking and belts to achieve. “I like the motivation our coach gives us. I like the excitement of training and fighting.”

This summer he earned his black belt with Cascadia Martial Arts Victoria, an achievement that also requires a certain amount of community.

“I’ve been looking up to that since I was pretty young, so accomplishing that felt amazing,” the Margaret Jenkins student said. “You have to help out with 10 hours of helping. I helped classes at my school.”

The black belt also opens the door for larger competitions. A provincial champion as a youngster, he hits the world  stage during the 2017 US Open in Las Vegas from Jan. 30 to Feb. 3.

“This tournament is a world event, where countries from all over the world attend. It is one of the most high-ranked tournaments,” said coach Dany Mantecon. “I train him very hard, he has a lot of dedication. He wants to go to the Olympics which is why we’re doing this kind of event.”

Jacob is the youngest competitor from Cascadia headed south for the large competition.

“He’s the captain of the competition team at Cascadia and right now he’s the only one going at that age to this event,” Mantecon said.

“Right now he’s the only black belt on the team which earns him the right to head for international competition. Jacob has been at that level for about two years now, so he’s more than ready for it.”

The major competition gears him up for provincials next month. Jacob plans to worry about those first, then nations and worlds, the ultimate goal.

“I’ve won (provincials) before but I wasn’t the right belt to go to nationals,” Jacob said.

Aside from his medals, belts and achievements, Jacob admires both the physical and mental aspect of the sport that he says teaches discipline and respect.

“It teaches you kindness and being humble,” Jacob said.

Plus it’s community, a group of friends he wouldn’t otherwise know.

“We hang around with our training partners. We’re friends outside. I like that part, it’s quite nice,” Jacob said. “Since you’re so often training with them, you become really good friends.”

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