TWO dedicated local karate exponents will take on some of the best in the world after being invited to compete in the All-Japan Kyokushin Union Tournament next month.
Ben Ajamain, the second dan instructor of Kyokushin's Palm Beach-Currumbin dojo, and dojo member Stefan Peters were invited after achieving impressive results in the Kyokushin Union National Tournament last month.
Ajamain, 25, said it was one of his many goals in competition karate to compete again at international level.
"People from around the world are invited to compete from their respective countries, provided they had placed top three in their division," he said.
"When you get chosen to compete in Japan, against them on their own turf and to represent your country, it's a massive thing.
"It's not the first time I've had to represent my country but for this particular event to go over there and compete again is just awesome.
"It's experience and it gives my students confidence in me even more."
Karate is a discipline that puts great store in its traditions and lineage.
The Palm Beach-Currumbin dojo is part of a network of Kyokushin dojos, including Tweed Heads, Coomera, Adelaide, Naracoorte, Perth and Griffith.
Ajamain, from Burleigh Waters, said his teacher, Shihan Cameron Quinn (fifth dan), was one of his inspirations.
"My teacher, Shihan, is in a lot of people's opinions one of the most successful tournament coaches, not just karate trainers, because he's the only person who has trained tournament fighters here in Australia who have made it to top three in international tournaments," he said.
At the All-Japan event Ajamain, like the 36-year-old Peters, will compete in open classes with no weight divisions, something that could suit Peters but will be a challenge for the much smaller Ajamain.
"In the first round they try to pair you up with someone of similar stature, but after that it's just you and your luck," Ajamain said.
"Stefan's going to compete as well. He'll be competing and he's a big guy as well.
"It will be a good experience for him. He's a well-built guy and he's explosive, huge.
"Shihan and I are kind of tipping him to even probably go further than me, providing he gets his cardio up."
Ajamain's training regime has intensified, with two sessions per day, six or seven days per week.
"We try not to change too much of what we're doing. More just intensify it and work on little things that will get me through it, flexibility because of my size," he said.
"If your body's not ready for it it's going to be a big shock and your body is going to flail out."
At the national tournament, Ajamain came up against yet another larger fighter but drew on his training regime and self-belief to win the final bout.
"I just went in with 100% confidence," he said.
"The guy I fought at the tournament was a few kilos heavier and he was taller than me.
"He didn't sustain as much time in the ring as I had to with my fights before, so he was obviously a lot fresher.
"When it came down to the last 40 seconds I could see and feel everything in him not hitting as hard and not going as hard.
"Even his corner guys were sitting there calling out techniques that you only throw when you're desperate.
"All of a sudden it dawned on me that 'I've got this guy'. I would say leading up to the last 30 seconds or so it would have been a draw and I would have had to have gone again.
"Every single punch and technique that I hit the guy with, you could feel it. He didn't throw anything for the last 25 seconds of the fight and that's what got me the win."
Ajamain has never been knocked out in the ring, and he hopes to compete one day in the prestigious invitation-only world tournament. .
"I'm still at an age that even though they only come once every four years I can still probably compete in at least two to three."