CROWN POINT | Brett Homann will not accompany his student and assistant instructor Nick Ignatuk to Melbourne, Australia, for the World Karate Confederation World Championships.
He won't even wish him "good luck" when the Crown Point 15-year-old leaves for down under on Saturday.
"When you get to this level, you don't need luck ... luck won't do you no good," said Homann, owner and head sensei of Homann Karate Do, where Ignatuk has been training for the past six years.
"He's worked hard, he's prepared hard and he's motivated," Homann said. "Instead, I'm going to wish him 'Good Victory.'"
Ignatuk, who has never traveled out of the country, is confident he's up for the task.
"But I'm still a little nervous," said Ignatuk, who earned a spot on the USA team competing at the world championships after placing second in kumite (sparring) at the AAU Nationals last July in St. Charles, Ill.
"After placing second, I didn't know I qualified for the USA team," Ignatuk said. "Then someone told us. I was really excited.
"Since then, I've been focused on getting ready."
The world championships will run from May 9-12.
Ignatuk will compete against fighters in his own age group. Some may be bigger, some may be smaller.
"If I had to choose, I'd rather go up against a bigger guy than a smaller guy," said Ignatuk, who is an average size for his age. "Smaller guys tend to be quicker with their scoring strikes."
Ignatuk's entire family is experienced in martial arts. His father, Ben, has a black belt in kung fu. His mother, Amy, has a purple belt in karate, and his 12-year-old brother, Joey, may just end up being the baddest of the whole clan.
"I wish I could have started at 6 years old like he did," Nick said of his fellow black-belt brother, who started training at Homann Karate Do the same time he did. "I think I would be much further along than I am now."
Joey twice has been honored by the Martial Arts Hall of Fame as"Competitor of the Year." Nick has also been honored by the MA HOF as "Fighter of the Year."
"He picks up things real fast," Nick said of Joey. "It took him no time to memorize all the pressure points on the body."
Homann himself was an accomplished competitor during his heyday. He attained a top national ranking in his division, and has competed in places like Brazil and Japan.
He said having a student make it to the WKC World Championships is one of his proudest achievements.
"I've had students, some adults, compete overseas, but Nick is the first to make it to the world championships," Homann said. "Hopefully, this may open the flood gates. I have some other students who may have a chance, including Nick's brother (Joey)."