By: Zoe Harmon
Alexis Ebenhoe is not your average seven-year-old. She has been involved in karate since the age of three, and now holds the rank of First Gup (red belt with white stripes). As Alexis has continued through her karate adventure, she has proven to be a dedicated athlete.
With her rank as First Gup, Master Rick Heath (Alexis’ karate instructor at Standale Karate) allows Alexis to participate in adult classes. She is the youngest one in these classes and truly appreciates this incredible opportunity. Alexis noted, “I love being in the adult classes because it challenges me, and I am learning a lot in these classes. It is helping me prepare for my black belt test.”
Her rank has also led her to be an assistant instructor since the age of six. This experience has taught her the importance of passing her karate knowledge onto others. Alexis commented, “It is fun when I get to teach older and younger students their new forms or review their older forms. Assisting in classes not only helps other students, but it also helps me become a better martial artist, and makes me become a stronger leader.” Even at a young age, Alexis is a role model for many karate athletes.
Master Rick Heath once said to Alexis, “In order to be an effective leader, you must learn to serve others and be passionate about it. Never stop learning and always challenge yourself. Believe in yourself and everyone will believe in you, Alexis.”
Although she knows that it will require hard work and focus, earning a black belt is Alexis’ ultimate goal. Someday she wants to be a Karate Master. As for now, Alexis continues to participate in a number of local tournaments, including the Meijer State Games of Michigan. Over the past couple of years, Alexis has placed in the top three in various local tournaments.
Alexis' parents, Tim and Stacey Ebenhoe, have been a huge part of her success and have enjoyed watching her grow as an athlete. Tim and Stacey proudly exclaimed, “Alexis’ dedication to the sport of karate has been a delight to watch over the past 4 years. We have witnessed a huge growth in her maturity, eagerness to want to assist in classes, and determination to always do her best. She is not afraid to step up to a challenge that she is presented with. We believe that karate has not only helped her develop physical skills, but also social and academic skills. She is eager to go to classes, and gives it her all 100% of the time.”
To prepare for competition, Alexis goes to karate class 3-4 times a week. She also tries to practice her tournament forms at home, but commented that it is difficult to practice nunchucks inside the house. Alexis has registered for the Meijer State Games of Michigan 2016 Winter Games where she is hoping to do the best that she can and have good sportsmanship towards other competitors. She cannot wait to better herself as an athlete and most of all, have fun.
She also prepares for competition by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Alexis enjoys going to school to keep her mind strong, eating healthy foods to keep her health strong, and playing basketball and soccer to keep her body strong. When she gets older, she hopes to play volleyball and lacrosse. The Ebenhoe family also enjoys going on walks with their two dogs, Zoe and Ginger, and going on bike rides. Staying active helps ensure that Alexis is tournament-ready.
Part of having fun while competing is engaging in positive sportsmanship. Alexis likes to support her classmates and encourage them to do their best. Even when she doesn’t do well, or doesn’t place in a tournament, Alexis is sure to congratulate her opponents.
With the Winter Games quickly approaching, Alexis is ready to go for the gold!