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Celebrating the Achievements of Children TM

Amazing Kids! of the Month

Amazing Kids! is proud to highlight the Amazing Kids! of the Month!

Each month, we showcase kids who are accomplishing amazing things.  We hope that by telling their special stories, we will inspire other kids to accomplish their own amazing achievements. 

Amazing Kids! of the Month for November, 2002: Amazing Karate Kids, U.S.A.!
Amazing Karate Kid Brandon Rivera 
proudly displays one of his trophies

Quotes of the Month: 

“I am so happy that being in karate lets me help other kids, and maybe can let them know that they are special too. All that they need to do is work hard, be a good person, help other people and set a good example for others,” 

Ashley Torres, age 7
Amazing Karate Kid

"Karate has taught me self control and has allowed me to travel to different parts of the world.
I've been able to meet some awesome people like my instructor(s) Kyoshi Hector Rodriquez, and his son Sensei Buddha, Kyoshi Tommy Mays, and many others."

"I love all my dojo brothers and sisters."

Brandon Rivera, age 8
Amazing Karate Kid

"Because it's something I am good in."

Gavonnah Williams, age 9,
Amazing Karate Kid,
When asked "Why do you like Karate?" 

This month's Amazing Kids! of the Month winners are three amazing young martial arts whiz kids!  They are all under age 10, and yet have racked up some amazing accomplishments and awards for their skills in karate and other martial arts. 

Do you want to learn how to become an amazing karate kid too?  Read their stories below, and find out what it takes to be a winner in the world of martial arts.  Who knows?  You just might be the next kid to inspire a movie about...karate kids! 

Don't forget to check out the "Related Links" section at the end of the story.  There you'll find links to articles explaining how the purpose of martial arts training is to prevent violence, and articles on how it can help children with special needs too!

If you have a special skill, talent or ability you want to tell the world about, be sure to let Amazing Kids! know about it too, by nominating yourself for an Amazing Kid! of the Month award!

Table of Contents 

Three Amazing Karate Kids:

Amazing Brandon
Amazing Ashley
Amazing Gavonnah
Related Links

Three Amazing Karate Kids
Amazing Brandon at the age of 8 

Amazing Brandon

8 year old Brandon Anthony “Berther” Rivera started training in Martial Arts when he was 6 years old.  At the tender age of 4, Brandon would sit in front of the T.V. set, and mimic all the moves from his favorite show, “The Power Rangers.” He would run all around the house kicking everything in sight. His dad had studied Karate, so decided to take Brandon for his first lesson.  Little did Brandon or his dad know just how talented he would prove to be!

All Smiles:  amazing Brandon at a tournament

Brandon was off to a great start and received two third place trophies at his first tournament! Brandon enjoys competing, and meeting new friends at the tournaments.  He says, "Karate has taught me self control and has allowed me to travel to different parts of the world.  I've been able to meet some awesome people like my instructor(s) Kyoshi Hector Rodriquez, and his son Sensei Buddha, Kyoshi Tommy Mays, and many others." 

Brandon has traveled as far as to Quebec, Canada to compete.  Brandon is currently rated by KRANE, which is an organization, that rates some of the top competitors in the world.  He is following Krane ciruit, (his first year ever following a circuit!) and because he has enough points, 
in March he will be receiving the "Krane World Tour Champion" for Weapons, Forms, and Fighting. On Nov 17th, Brandon competed at the Krane Nationals. Here is a list of his amazing wins:

  • Krane 2002 Traditional Forms 8-9 Advanced "National Champion"
  • Krane 2002 Weapons 8-9 Advanced "National Champion"
  • Krane 2002 Sparring 8-9 Advanced "Silver Medallist"
Brandon recently tried out for Team USA!  Brandon was invited along with two other dojo brothers, Sensei Ramon Texteria and Sensei Buddha Rodriquez, and one dojo sister, Sensei Ariela Morales, to try out for Team USA.  (Buddha is also Brandon's best friend!) Guess what happened?  They all made the team!  Wow!  Way to go!

Brandon enjoys spending quiet times with his big sister Eliana, who he calls his "most important person." 

Brandon's dad says they are looking for sponsors for Brandon.  If your company might be interested in sponsoring him, or if you know someone else who might, you can email Brandon's dad at:

Amazing Brandon at the age of 6

Here's more about amazing Brandon:

Style: Goju-Ryu / Shotokan 
Instructor: Kyoshi Hector Rodriquez 
Current Rank: 3rd Kyu Brown Belt 
Favorite Technique: Side Kick 
Career Goal # 1: To receive a College degree   His dad is hoping this will come to pass! 
Career Goal # 2: To become a Policeman 
Favorite Tournament: Ocean State Grand Nationals 
Martial Arts Goal # 1: To become a World Tour Champion 
Martial Arts Goal # 2: To become a National Champion 
Grand Championship Wins:
Martial Arts Highlight: Winning 4 New York State Liberty 2002 Championships including the title of “King Of The Hill” in the sparring division. 

Most Admired Martial Artist: Kyoshi  (Kyoshi has named him "Berther.") 
Most Admired Person(s): Mom, and Dad 
Best Friend(s): All my Dojo Brothers, and Sisters 
Favorite Book: The Bible 
Favorite Food: Grill Cheese 
Favorite Movie: Blade I, and II
Favorite Music: Reggae, Rap, and Latin
Most Important Person: His sister Eliana

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Amazing Ashley
Amazing karate kid Ashley Torres, age 7

Amazing Ashley Torres is a 7 year old from New York who has been religiously training in martial arts at Tiger Schulmann's Karate for 3 years under instructors Joshu Christopher Iavarone and Sensei Gotthoffer. She is currently a brown belt and her her father, Louis Velazquez, president of Karate Kidz Online is confident that in the coming months, with hard training, she should earn her black belt!  That would make her the youngest female in the Tiger Schulmann’s Karate organization to hold a black belt!  Wow!

She was chosen as Karate Kidz Online student of the month for October 2002, and in addition to her training in martial arts, busy Ashley is looking forward to getting involved in acting, singing and modeling. Brave Ashley has overcome a lot of  adversity in her life over the past three years. She lost her grandmother, and her father shortly after that.  She narrowly escaped from a fire in her home.  She almost lost her mother in the World Trade Center attack.  Sadly, she did know a few people that were lost in that attack, as her mother works on the American Stock Exchange and Ashley was a regular visitor there. 

Just another amazing kid...

Her dad says:  "I know it sounds sad but I find Ashley to be amazing because she got stronger and didn't let herself get crushed. She is always the kid that is trying to help the other kids when they are having trouble with school work or in the playground. I remember last Christmas when I was doing charity work for The River Fund, a non-profit organization that helps disabled and mentally challenged children.  She went with me to get 50 kids toys and games.  At some point when we were shopping she stopped and started to cry.  I asked her, 'Why are you crying?'  She said because she felt so bad for these kids and wished that she could do more to help them. I was floored and it just showed me, as she has many times in the past, that this child was very special."

Ashley, getting ready to spar

Ashley has a few martial arts tournaments in the coming months as well as being featured in a kids' calendar due to be released soon.  She was chosen as Karate Kidz Online student of the month for October because, as Kidz' president Louis Velazquez put it:  "She is someone that other children can look up to, in this day and age the kids need to know that they can do better for themselves beyond what they see on their local street corner. She was my inspiration for Karate Kidz Online, giving me the opportunity to help children all over the world."

“I am so happy that being in karate lets me help other kids and maybe can let them know that they are special too. All that they need to do is work hard, be a good person, help other people and set a good example for others,” says Ashley. 

You have a lot to be proud of, Ashley!  You set a good example and are an inspiration to us all!  Keep up the good work!

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Amazing Gavonnah
Amazing Gavonnah Williams, age 9, 
with a few of his 300+ trophies!

Gavonnah is an amazing 9 year old Brown Belt in Karate from Florida.  He started training in Karate at age 3!  He currently trains with karate instructor Herbie Thompson at Nisei Karate Center five to seven days a week, in addition to attending school and taking part in school activities! 

But all that hard work doesn't bother Gavonnah one bit.  He says he likes the hard training "a lot, a lot." Gavonnah's mother, Annie Washington enrolled Gavonnah in karate classes in hopes that he'd overcome his shyness. She says:  "He needed this. He was so timid. The instructors saw something in him and it's been good ever since."

So good, that amazing Gavonnah has repeatedly won Competitor of the Year for his age range in tournaments across the United States. Apparently, his techniques in karate are so advanced that tournament guidelines have been changed to prevent him from being disqualified.  One year, while competing in the Florida Black Belt Association ("FBBA") tournaments, Gavonnah was barred from 16 competitions because the techniques he has mastered were not normally taught to students his age. 

His mother says:  "I sat him down and I told him, 'Don't let them discourage you. We don't want to go backward; we want to go forward." A month later, she received a phone call from FBBA officials informing her that they altered the rules because of him!  Now that's amazing!  Way to go, Gavonnah!

More of Gavonnah's trophies! 

More about Gavonnah's Martial Arts Accomplishments:

  • 6-time state champion
  • 5-time world champion
  • has won 2 grand champions
  • youngest to be inducted into the Florida Martial Arts Hall of Fame twice
  • has earned over 300 trophies and awards
  • performs for terminally ill kids
  • acted in a commercial with Michael Jordan
  • acted in a commercial with Derrick Jeeda
  • will test for his Black Belt December 2002
As his instructor Herbie Thompson says, "This is one incredible kid!"  We think so too, Gavonnah!

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Brandon's webpage:

Gavonna's biography on the World Youth Hall of Fame website:


Black Belt for Kids:

Kid Power:
    A non-profit organization whose mission is to help people of all ages and abilities learn how to
    stay safe, act wisely, and believe in themselves.

"How can Martial Arts Help At-Risk Kids?" - article:

"Martial Artists Learn that Violence is not the Answer"- article:

"Special Needs Karate" - article on benefits of Karate for children with special needs:[1]=22828#24162

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A Special Message from Amazing Kids! for all you kids:

It's no secret...every person has an "amazing-ness" inside of them, just waiting to be discovered.  (Sometimes we just need a little help in finding out what that "amazing-ness" is!) 

If you are doing some amazing things too, we want to hear about it!  Send us your stories about your amazing accomplishments, so we can tell the world just how amazing you are!  We are always looking for new stories.  And don't be shy!  We'd love to hear from you!

Here's an idea you might want to try:


If you know someone who needs a little encouragement, why not tell them what you think is special about them?  Maybe you can be the one to help them uncover their own special talents! 

Amazing Kids! is looking for teens to be Amazing Teen Volunteers and Ambassadors . If you'd like to join Amazing Kids! in helping to spread the word, please email us at: .


  It's cool to be an Amazing Kid!


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