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June 21, 2024

Where Every Family Matters

Nashville Sport Karate: Where Modern Athletics Meet Traditional Training

From childhood through adulthood, karate school owners Ryan and Chelsie Guillemet have enjoyed the thrill and challenge of competitive karate. Tournaments provided opportunities to put their karate skills to the test in a controlled environment, and looking back, both sensei-coaches appreciate the athleticism, technical skill, and broadened scope of the martial arts world developed through preparing and participating in those exciting tournament seasons.

So, when the Guillemets assumed leadership of South Nashville-based New Visions Dojo in 2016, it seemed natural to develop a competition team alongside NVD’s traditional training. Nashville Sport Karate was born from a desire to offer quality competition opportunities to karate students of all ages and skill levels, adding sports team energy and plenty of fun.

In seven years, Nashville Sport Karate has become more than a chance to test fundamental karate skills, it’s built stronger students, mindsets, and leadership in the form of karate athletes, junior coaches, and tournament officials. Tournament events not only serve as platforms for honing skills but also foster camaraderie and sportsmanship among practitioners across the nation, creating long-lasting connections and opportunities.

Nashville Sport Karate competes under USA National Karate Federation (NKF), the organization that feeds Team USA and the World Karate Federation (WKF) for international and Olympiclevel competition. Tournament events include kobudo (weapons), kata (forms), and kumite (point fighting) and uphold the expectation of respectful demeanor, athletic skill, and precisiondemanding criteria that align with the values and spirit of karate training.

“We love how the karate athletes, officials, and events are held to a high standard. The scoring criteria is precise in this style of competition, so athletes really have to rise to the challenge of dialing in their technique to have success. It takes precision, strategy, and a focused attitude to do well, so there’s a lot of value for students’ overall growth,” says Chelsie.

During sport karate training, athletes undergo strength and conditioning, skills and strategies drills, and technical fine-tuning. Karate students who wish to join the team must demonstrate willingness to “find work” in their training, refining their technique, fighting skill, and athletic performance. Students set goals, overcome challenges, and reach beyond their limits.

“Since mainstream sports teams have a big pull in our communities, it’s been great to have a sport option for our students. Karate training is very much an individual path and some students really enjoy the ability to be part of the team dynamic.We have a lot of fun with it, too,” Ryan adds.

Whether it’s mastering a new technique or conquering nerves during a tournament, NSK provides a supportive framework for students to cultivate resilience, confidence, and mental fortitude in a world where excuses and settling are more prevalent than ever.

NSK continues to top the podium at local, regional, and national levels, going as far as the US Karate Team and international competition. This year, four seasoned athletes are moving up to elite divisions at the USA Karate National Championships with their sights set on earning more opportunities for training, travel, and success in sport karate competition by making the Team USA Karate.

After Nationals, the NSK team will open their 2024-25 season with an internationally acclaimed competition event, the WIKF Global Cup, hosted stateside this year in Greenville, South Carolina and featuring karate athletes from around the world. Later in the year, they’ll host the Music City Open, their second annual southeastern regional tournament.

The new competition season starts in August and students of all ages and levels will have the opportunity to go out for the team and take their skills to the next level with Nashville Sport Karate!



About the Author

Michael Aldrich

Michael Aldrich is Nashville Parent's Managing Editor and a Middle Tennessee arts writer. He and his wife, Alison, are the proud parents of 4-year-old Ezra and baby Norah.