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Penn-Trafford sophomore takes 2nd in world karate tournament

| Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015, 9:00 p.m.
Nick Kosan, left, finished in second place continuous sparring at the National Blackbelt League Super Grand World Games.
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Nick Kosan, left, finished in second place continuous sparring at the National Blackbelt League Super Grand World Games.

Nick Kosan walked into the National Blackbelt League Super Grand World Games in Buffalo last month not knowing what to fully expect.

He walked away recognized as one of the best in the world as he finished in second place in continuous sparring.

“It is mind blowing,” said Kosan, who is a sophomore at Penn-Trafford. “If you would have told me three or four years ago I would finish second at the world championships, I wouldn't believe it. It is pretty big. There are fighters from around the world there.”

There are multiple tournaments held at the world championships and divisions are decided based on age and weight. Kosan competed in the 12-14 age group at weights of 121 pounds or more.

The winner is chosen based on a scoring system that rewards punches and kicks with one point, a kick to the head with two points and what Kosan described as “flashier moves” with three points.

“There are five judges for every match,” Kosan said. “There is one judge in the center of the ring. Then there are two judges for each fighter. They keep track of one fighter for one round and then switch for the second.”

Kosan fell to Juan Damian of Guatemala in the finals. While he would have liked to have won, Kosan said he is grateful for his second-place finish.

“Second in the world is nothing to be disappointed about,” Kosan said. “I would have been happier with first place but I cannot be disappointed.”

Fighters are seeded at the world championships by scores based on finishes from other tournaments held at the local and national level.

“Each tournament has a point value,” said Kosan, who practices shotokan karate. “Say I go to a tournament in Virginia and finish in first. I might get 23 points. If I went to another tournament and finish in third, I might only get five points. It all depends on the tournament and placing.”

Kosan said he has been practicing karate for eight years but has only competed in tournaments for just over three years. He is a member Team Kumite, an all-star travel team, and practices at Allegheny Shotokan in North Huntingdon.

“We practice three days during the week,” Kosan said. “We also have morning conditioning on Sundays.”

Up next for Kosan is working towards his black belt. He currently holds a brown belt and said his black belt test should be held at some point in the next year.

“The actual black belt tests takes eight hours,” Kosan said. “After you complete it, you feel you earned it. You really have to work for what you have.”

Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at nsmith@tribweb.com or via Twitter @NSmith_Trib.

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