Leeds Trinity University student Ethan Brown has got his sights set on selection to compete against some of the world’s best karate athletes in 2022.
At the age of just 19 years old, he has been hitting all the right notes with judges so far, having won a string of gold medals at national and regional championships, both individually and as part of a team.
Ethan competes in kata, a detailed sequence of martial arts movements performed alone, and in kumite, which is sparring.
Currently grading as a second Dan in black belt, Ethan started his karate journey at the age of just five years old, inspired by his dad and other family members with a love of the sport.
Ethan was competing at national level by 10 years old and attended his first England squad try-outs at just 13.
Originally from the Sunderland area, where he is part of a club called Sunderland Sendai Kushiro, Ethan moved south to study Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation at Leeds Trinity University and is now also training with Leeds Shotokan Karate Club.
The University has recently awarded him £500 from the Inspiring Futures Sporting Excellence Fund to help him achieve his ambitions. Ethan will use this to pay for travel to and from competitions and accommodation, as well as to pay for equipment.
Ethan said: “In the next 12 months I hope to increase my training to improve my results at competitions. I hope to medal at all competitions, especially the national championships and the grand slams.
“This will also be my first opportunity to compete at British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) so I hope to find success there.
“Ultimately, I would love to be selected to compete at the World Shotokan Karate-do Association (WSKA) World Championships in Liverpool in September. If I got to world championship level it would be an unreal achievement.”
In 2019, Ethan was selected for the European Shotokan Karate Association (ESKA) Championships in Cadiz, Spain, where he won two bronze medals. He hopes to also compete in this year’s event in Switzerland this December.
The covid pandemic impacted on the sport, but despite the challenges it brought Ethan still achieved his instructor qualification.
He said: “Covid has set me back massively. There was a period of time when I could not train and then training moved online, but sometimes it was difficult to get motivated when you were in your own living room.
“The whole karate sporting community was very supportive, and we even had online training sessions with the England Squad. I was training with champions and people who had competed at the Olympics which was great. One thing it did open up was the opportunity to train with people across the world.
Ethan also hopes to set up his own gym with a karate element as the world of sports returns to normal.
Sarah Todd, Sports Development Manager at Leeds Trinity University, said: “I am really pleased the University is able to support Ethan through the Inspiring Futures Sporting Excellence Fund.
“I know Ethan has an ambitious 12 months ahead and the funding will aid him with his training and upcoming competition schedule. Ethan is a wonderful student who is highly engaged in his studies and his sport, he is a pleasure to work with on the Talented Athlete Support Package.”
The Inspiring Futures Programme also financially supports students who want to study abroad as well as recent graduates who want to develop their own business.