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“Bohan’s Family - December's Featured Rising Star“
Michael H. Nguyen, Isshin-Ryu Karate-Do
Biography - Michael H. Nguyen
Name: Michael H. Nguyen
Age: 15 (born in 1989)
Birthplace: Webster, NY
Years of training: 11 (started at age 4)
Rank: San Dan (3rd Degree Black Belt)
Major style: Isshin-Ryu
Cross-training: Goju-Ryu, Shotokan, Shito-Ryu, Ryuei-Ryu, Matayoshi Shinpo’s Kobudo, Jiu-Jitsu, and Kung Fu
Recognition: High Honor Roll High School Student, New York State Essay Award, Reach For Star’s Wall of Fame, Presidential Sport Award, AOKA Hall Of Fame’s Outstanding Youth Black Belt Of the Year, and Isshin-Ryu Hall Of Fame’s Junior Competitor Of the Year
2001-2004 Competition: Michael has won over 200 trophies, medals, and many Grand Championships across the United States and Canada. He has been named to the United States National Team 3 times and a many-time national champion.
Professional goal: Michael wants to be a medical doctor like his aunt.
Martial arts goal: To represent the United States to compete in the World Karate Federation (WKF)’s World Championships.
Michael started training in Isshin-Ryu at the age of 4 with Sensei Brian West, and et al. At the age of 6, one of the first seminars Michael attended was Sensei Angi Uezu’s. Michael still remembers Sensei Uezu signed his autograph on Michael’s bo.
Michael was promoted to Sho Dan at the age of 10, Ni Dan at 12, and San Dan at the age of 14 by the joint dojos’ promotion board. He was tested by the black belt standards for the adult black belt candidate. Despite of his young age, Michael is a very mature, disciplined, and knowledgeable karate-ka.
He has taught at West Martial Arts in Webster, NY, and helped out other karate-kas in training for competition.
Besides learning the arts of Isshin-Ryu with Sensei West (IWKA Kumite Grand Champion) and Goju-Ryu karate with Sensei Kamau Chukwueneka (USAKF and AAU National Champion), Michael also trains in Shotokan, Shito-Ryu, Ryuei-Ryu, and Matayoshi Shinpo’s Kobudo.
Michael took the ELITE training with Sensei Tokey Hill (WKF World Champion) and Sensei Eric Hill (Wado-Ryu Coach), kumite seminar with Sensei Hideharu Igaki (USA Head Coach), Jiu-Jitsu and Kung Fu with others.
In the early 2001, 11-year-old Michael had enjoyed winning in his age group until placing second after a 13-year-old competitor. To further enhance and develop Michael's training for the next level for competition, his father incorporated a higher level training method, which included Sport Psychology and Mental Training. A few months later, Michael reclaimed the champion title.
At a tournament, 12-year-old Michael thought it was unfair to compete against his 8-year-old brother Richard, so he asked the tournament director to move him up to the 13-17-year divisions and his request was accepted. They both dominated the 13-17-year divisions and the 12-year/under divisions, respectively.
One of the most memorable grand championships was at the United States Belt Championships. 13-year-old Michael dominated the 13-17-year black belt divisions and earned a spot in the all black belt grand championship. He was excited to compete in weapons and kata against adult black belt champions from Shotokan, Tae Kwon Do, Kenpo and other styles. Michael patiently waited and observed the competitors performing in the grand championship ring then he was up. He bowed to a fifth degree black belt that performed before him, then bowed to the panel of five judges. At this moment the grand championship ring was totally silent and you could hear a pin drop. Michael’s first move broke the silence. After Michael finished his performance, without waiting for the result, a seventh degree black belt competitor shook Michael’s hand and congratulated him. A moment later Michael was named the all black belt grand champion.
Michael and his brother also did a good deed to the community by setting up a 2003 Summer Karate Program to teach karate to kids who are under-privileged.
At many karate tournaments across the country, Michael has met many highly regarded martial artists, and learned a great deal from their past, inspiration and dedication, including Senseis Harold M. Mitchum, Ed Johnson, Chester Holubecki, Karl Kazuo Hovey, Mitch Kobylanski, Carl Martin, Willie Adams, Sam Santilli, Burton Maben, Melbert L Lee Sr., Garfield (Willie) Wilson, Lewis Lizotte, Chuck Wallace, Marty B. Prentice, George Anderson, Marilyn Fierro, David Rapp, Stephen Young, Albert Mady, Wayne Wayland, Dan Harrison, and Heidi Gauntner.
After watching Michael performing Shishi No Kun No Dai at the recent 2004 West Chester Fall Classic, Sensei Kensho Tokumura said, “Michael does good kata like me when I was young.” The well-known Okinawan weapons master recognized Michael’s hard work and dedication. Michael won both the 2003 & 2004 West Chester Fall Classic’s 13-17-year Grand Championships.
In a letter regarding Michael and Richard in the August 2004 Newsletter, Sensei Harold M. Mitchum from Tennessee wrote, “Michael and Richard Nguyen are both very dedicated karate students and will always perform well.”
Sensei Brian West wrote, “Michael’s attention to detail is unmatched. He is the most talented student I have seen in my 25 years in the martial arts. He is unlimited to what he can do.”
Michael has always demonstrated humbleness in victory and graciousness in defeat. Sensei Marty Prentice from Pennsylvania wrote, “Michael and Richard Nguyen are something special to watch. They are very talented and dedicated to the "Art". I mention them often in our classes to inspire our students especially those who have seen them perform.”
New York State Senator Michael F. Nozzolio cut out the Webster Herald’s article about Michael winning the NY State Essay award and sent it to Michael with a letter of congratulations. The senator wrote, “This recognition comes as the result of your hard work and the fine essay you wrote about your experiences in the study of karate. I wish you continued success in your academic achievements …”
One of the extraordinary skills of this many-time national champion is his ability to perform remarkably many high level katas from different karate styles for the multi-round kata competition.
Michael has been recognized several times in the Webster Herald, and the Democrat and Chronicle for his accomplishments.