MIDLAND-ODESSA, TX (KWES) - Over the last 10 years, Matthews Martial Arts has developed a reputation of excellence. And it shows in the sights and sounds of one of their competitions.
The best of the West Karate Showdown wrapped up, in Odessa, this weekend. A chance for martial arts students, of all ages and skill levels, to show what they've got.
"It's an open karate tournament. You have forms divisions, weapons divisions, self-defense. You have point fighting, in all levels. From 5 and under division kids to 50-year old, plus, black belt men," said Jason Matthews.
Jason is a black belt and karate master or Sigung. So is his brother Dustin. They own Matthews Martial Arts in Midland and Odessa, respectively. They are part of the Texas Amateur Association of Karate, or A.O.K.
"We opened a martial arts school in Odessa, first, in 2006 and, shortly after, in 2010, I opened one in Midland, as well. We've just been kicking and punching, ever since," said Sigung.
Sigung says, while martial arts can be for everybody, a black belt is made up of many, different things and each person's journey will be different.
"Self-defense, forms, basics, traditional mindset teaching, there's just so many aspects of martial arts that makes it available for everyone. For some, competition is more important than the others. But, that doesn't mean they don't have an understanding of what's going on," explained Jason.
The Best of the West is one, of two, local tournaments Matthews holds, every year. They do this, to get ready for competitions across Texas. But, the big trip is the world championships in Disney World, Florida.
According to Matthews, "25 hundred competitors there. So, it's a gigantic tournament. Probably the biggest tournament in the United States, for open karate, point fighting. So, you get the best black belts, ever. It's the Super Bowl for karate, martial arts."
Matthews took 55 people from Midland-0dessa and came back with a lot of awards, and one, special award, for the most supportive school in attendance. That speaks volumes about the competitors from Matthews Martial Arts.
"It says that they are truly, something special and some magic, out here, in Midland and Odessa, you know? The athletes, the caliber, the people that we have, we can stand with the best," said Sigung, proudly.
But, there is more to the world of karate than just competitions. It's a learning environment that teaches valuable lessons that will last a lifetime.
"Martial arts, eventually, becomes part of your life. The habits that you teach in martial arts, it's not seasonal, you know? Confidence, discipline, respect, these things are forever," Matthews concluded.
To learn more about Matthews Martial Arts or to sign up, contact them directly. In Odessa, Sigung Dustin Matthews, 432-664-6762. In Midland, Sigung Jason Matthews, 432-488-7467.