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Westland student secures spot on U.S. junior Olympics team
Messenger photo by Dedra Cordle
Westland High School sophomore Greg Rummel demonstrates Iaido katas at USA Martial Arts Southwest, the dojo where he practices and instructs. Rummel has a second-degree black belt in Iaido, which means, “the way of the sword.”
Westside mother Shawn Rummel never envisioned her son would be one of the most promising martial artists in the world when he began the sport 12 years ago.
Westland High School sophomore Greg Rummel was among the thousands of competitors who competed in the USA karate nationals and USA team trials.
Rummel received a bronze medal in advanced kata, two silver medals in advanced short weapons and two gold medals in advanced Korean kata and elite kumite.
The gold in kumite secured his spot on the U.S. junior Olympic team and his place at the junior karate Pan-American Championships, which takes place Aug. 30-Sept. 1 in Cancun, Mexico.
Rummel said he expects big things at the Pan-American Championships.
“I’m shooting for the gold,” he said. “If I fall short, I’ll just have to work harder to win next time.”
Scott Stukenberg, who is an owner of the USA Martial Arts Southwest dojo, said this way of thinking makes Rummel stand out among his peers.
“He’s really driven,” Stukenberg said. “He works hard to become more educated in martial arts and in his school work.”
Rummel is a first-degree black belt in karate and tae kwon do, a brown belt in judo and jujitsu, a green belt in aikido and a second-degree black belt in Iaido.
He carries his work ethic over to academia. Rummel earned a weighted GPA of 4.04 as a freshman and was second in his class of 467.
Rummel also wrestles varsity and placed third in his weight division at the West Jefferson tournament.
When Rummel is not at school, he is at the dojo honing his skills or instructing beginning martial artists how to tap their potential.
“A lot of these kids have been bullied or beat up and I like being able to show them how to defend themselves or how to talk their way out of some situations,” Rummel said.
Stukenberg said Rummel makes an excellent sensei.
“He wants people to learn and he wants them all to do well,” Stukenberg said.
Rummel said he has his sights on competing in the Olympics if the International Olympics Committee votes in favor of implementing the sport during its annual meeting next year.
As for Rummel’s future in the sport, he said he hopes to compete at the Olympics if the International Olympic Committee votes in favor of adding the sport during their annual meeting next year.
Stukenberg said he wants to see karate at the Olympics and would not be surprised if Rummel competed there someday.
Karate is in a hard fight with squash to take a position in the Olympic Games, he said.
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