By: David Holloway
For those unaware, Mountain City has joined the ranks of cities that boast a Junior Olympian of their own. Rebekah Darocha will be competing in the Junior Olympics karate competition, August 1st through 3rd, which will be held in Detroit, MI. Darocha is 18 years old.
Darocha started training in June of 2012 and continues training with Soke Timothy Brooks who is an eighth degree black belt in Karate and a ninth degree black belt in Okinawa Weaponry. The style of karate that Brooks teaches is Shito-Ryu Karate, which was founded by Kenwa Mabuni and incorporates Kobudo, the art of weaponry. Brooks parents were missionaries to Japan in the 60s and during his stay in Japan, he studied under Masters Shogo Kuniba, Ryusho Sakagami and Teruo Hayashi which all studied under Kenwa Mabuni. Brooks teaches here in Mountain City and also has another school in Ft. Myers, Florida and has been teaching for approximately 50 years. Shito-Ryu contains forms (Kata), which are routines that consist of various stances, blocks and strikes that challenge balance, coordination, stamina and breath control. One of the forms in Shito-Ryu is Rohai, which roughly translates to vision of a crane. This Kata is one of the elements that Darocha received a gold medal in.
Darocha is the Assistant Instructor at the Mountain City School and leads the classes when Brooks is not there. She is a national champion and gold medalist. Darocha has won nine medals in three tournaments with six of them being gold medals. She has two gold medals in the forms (Kata) division and one bronze medal in sparring (Kumite) division. Darocha is a first degree black belt in Shito-Ryu karate and also a first degree black belt in Bojutsu which is a staff technique using a six-foot Bo staff. Brooks said that an average time period for attaining black belt status is three years, but Darocha accomplished the task in one only year. According to Brooks, Darocha was already in excellent physical condition when she started training and that has helped her progress quickly. She wasnt able to do this with group sessions alone but also received personal training from Brooks to reach this level in such a short amount of time.
Brooks has a student at his school in Florida that is the same age as Darocha that achieved black belt in ten years. His student from the Florida school has competed internationally in Australia and brought back a medal. Referring to Darocha, Brooks stated, A gift was given to me, and it was her. Rarely do you get someone that makes the kind of progress that she has made in a year. I dont think I have ever had that happen.
Currently, classes are held at the Believers Family Worship Center located at 238 Burley Shoun Lane in Mountain City, TN on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 6:00pm. The public is welcome and there is room for a few new students. The cost is $35/month and there is no contract.