Northwoods Spotlight: Merrill Karate Kids - May 15Submitted: 05/15/2013
Story By Marisa Silvas

MERRILL - Most of us don't have the chance to travel internationally... but some Karate students in the Northwoods are hoping to take their talents across the pond.

The Merrill Karate Club has been around since the early 1980's. They pride themselves in offering unique, high quality training for students of all ages.

Jon Gartmann is the Chief Instructor. "All it is is making the things they need to learn and the discipline and respect and the stances and the moves, and just putting a fun spin on it."

"You get to do the obstacle course and freeze tag," adds eight year old Kati Drury.

Seven year old Riley Gallagher says, "I like working with weapons. I have my own sword."

People choose to learn martial arts for many different reasons.

"I came here because of stress at work. I came to relieve some stress," explains Derek Berghammer another competitor. "I fell in love with it after that."

Jacob LePage recently earned a Black Belt. He's come a long way from when he first tried Martial Arts.

"I was really flippy," says LePage. "I would always jump off the couch."

The students have had so much success that 5 of them were invited to compete in Dublin, Ireland. But in order to get there, they're going to have to do some serious fundraising.

$30,000 in seven weeks to be exact.

They qualified in Watersmeet, Michigan. And will be 5 of only 75 people to represent Team USA in August.

"Team USA - we get a uniform and have lots of practice," young Kati Drury explains.

"Just amazing going to Ireland, adds LePage. "I'm just excited to see the scenery. Also excited for the tournament."

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