COVINGTON, Ga. — Joshua Benton is not like most third graders as he is preparing to compete in a tournament that will allow him to put his talents on display for the world to see.
Benton's hard work will come to fruition as he travels to Niagara Falls, New York, to compete in the World Karate and Kickboxing Council's world championship tournament. He will be representing the United States of America, and he could not be more excited about this opportunity.
"I'm very excited," Benton said. "I'm most excited to play people from all over the country and playing for the USA."
Benton was a national champion in 2018 in "Fighting, Form, and Weapons" in the All-Star Karate league, and this world championship tournament seems to be the next step in his remarkable young martial arts career.
Benton has been training for a relatively short time, and he only started in March 2018 but has already found great success. His martial arts career has grown under the tutelage of Shihan Micah Williams, who runs MBS Karate in Covington. Williams has been most impressed by Benton from the start and knew he could succeed in Karate.
"The effort is unmatched to where he will repeat different techniques until he is almost perfect," Williams said. "From the jump, I noticed right away that if he didn't get something right, he would continue to practice it and practice it until he got it right. He was never someone who would settle to be mediocre with any techniques."
Williams referred to Benton as "a leader among leaders," and it is his relentless work ethic and focus on technique that makes Benton such an outstanding student. Benton echoed the sentiments of Williams and showed how he always wants to do better.
"Sometimes I feel glad, but sometimes I feel like I could have done better," said Benton, when asked about how he feels after winning. "I try to be (a perfectionist)."
Benton's mother, Tanikka Benton, said that her son has already accrued over 100 trophies, which is most impressive to see for someone who is at such an early point in his martial arts career. This may be surprising for outsiders looking in, but not for Williams.
"It is surprising, but if you walked into the dojo and saw the class practicing, you would not be able to tell he's been in for a small amount of time," Williams said. "Once you see how he works and how he practices and competes, I'm not surprised.
Williams went on to compliment the exceptional attention to detail that Benton has and how he fights with not only outstanding technique but also "a lot of heart." Williams mentioned that he believes Benton is his seventh student that has qualified for the world championship, but Benton is the youngest student under his direction to accomplish this feat.
Williams is not the only one that has been impressed by Benton's amazing feats. Tanikka Benton has been astounded by her son's abilities and the opportunities that it has brought to him at an early age.
"Extremely proud. I can't even explain how proud I am of him because of how far he has come in such a short amount of time," Benton said. "I'm proud of how many trophies that he has won, but I'm also happy that he gets to travel to a lot of different places and meet new people and have new experiences at such a young age."
Joshua Benton does a lot of traveling with his competitions, and one of his most recent competitions led to an impressive win. At a tournament in North Carolina, Joshua earned the honor of "Grand Champion."
To earn grand champion honors, the tournament places all the winners from one division against each other, and only one person emerges as a champion.
Benton will ride the success from that tournament in this next event as he begins his journey at the world championships on Saturday, Nov. 2. The competition will run through the next few days and eventually finish on Nov. 8.
As updates are received, the Covington News sports Twitter account will keep you posted on Benton's run at the international stage. If you hope to follow along, the Covington News sports Twitter account is @CovNewsSports.