by Kalie Ammons
Tommy Music, 37, and his son Trystin Music, 9, are making the trip to the Richmond Olympic Oval in Richmond, Canada to compete in the first TAFISA (The Association for International Sports for All) World Martial Arts Games in September 2014.
Team USA only has about 50 members, four from Indiana, and two of which are Tommy and Trystin. Amazingly, the father and son duo are only going together by chance.
“This year when we went to the TAFISA seminar when my son tried out, the judged critiqued him and accepted him on the team and kind of surprised me at the same time and asked me to try out,” explained Tommy Music. “I was kind of thrown on the spot, you know. And we tried out, and we both made the team.”
Trystin is currently a fourth-grader at W.C. Mills. He has been doing karate for five years. Tommy is a Southwood graduate and picked up karate a few months after his son started taking classes.
Tommy and Trystin practice Shuri Ryu style karate. Trystin was invited to the try-outs during an international Shuri Ryu association seminar hosted by Hanshi Robert Bowls, a tenth-degree black belt grand master of the Shuri Ryu system. Bowls has studied karate for over 35 years and has a dojo in Fort Wayne.
The Musics travel once a month to Edwardsville, Ill. where U.S. head coach Shihan Alberto Friedmann trains with them. Friedmann is an experienced martial artist and even carried the Olympic Torch for the 2004 Olympic games in Athens, Greece,
Tommy and Trystin spend some time training locally as well. “We actually train here in Wabash, downtown in the Milliner Printing Building,” said Tommy. “The Wabash Valley Shuri Ryu Karate Academy is down there.”
Instructor Sensei Mike Castro, a fourth degree black belt in Shuri Ryu karate, teaches the karate.
“He’s a very humble person; he’s been a big influence on my whole family’s life,” Tommy said. “My wife and daughter both take karate now.”
The Music boys also take Shinto Yoshin Ryu Jujitsu and are taught by Sensei Mike Castro.
Both Tommy and Trystin are purple belts in Shuri Ryu. Tommy will be able to test into his brown belt in November.
“Your technique has to be perfected,” Tommy stressed. Students must take a written exam along with a physical exam to gain a new belt.
The belt system works with all students starting out with a white belt.
“That’s when you’re a hachi-kyu, you know, you’re a basic student with no experience,” said Tommy. Then the students gain various colors of striped belts, working into solid colored belts, then reaching the three levels of brown belt before finally reaching the ten levels of black belt.
With the world games less than a year away, the Musics are taking practice seriously. “We train every Monday, Tuesday, Friday and every other Saturday in our dojo,” said Tommy. “Once a month we train with the team before we go to the world games.”
Shuri Ryu karate is more often used while one is on their feet, before initial contact or grappling is made. Once that contact happens though, the fight switches to Jujitsu.
The World Martial Arts games are recognized by the official Olympic committee. Since this is Tommy and Trystin’s first competition, they are left feeling a little nervous at competing at such a high level.
“The areas we will be competing in are kata, which is kind of like the backbone of your karate system,” explained Tommy. “Then Kumite, which is just like what you see in Karate Kid.”
The duo will also be competing with weapons in the games.
“Trystin is going to compete with a bow, or a long staff, and I am going to compete with nun chucks,” said Tommy.
Tommy’s interest in karate was sparked while he was stationed in Okinawa, Japan during his time in the United States Marines.
“I’d seen it first hand when I was stationed there, but I never formally trained. Being an active duty marine, I couldn’t work it into my schedule,” said Tommy.
Thinking about how martial arts have affected the lives of the Musics and many others, Tommy reminds people of the dreams many shared as children.
“I think every young person, boys and girls both, dream of either being a superhero or being a ninja or doing karate. I’ve always had that passion.”
After dedicating so much time and energy into this passion, Tommy and Trystin have earned the chance to show their skills in the Olympic Oval in Canada.
“It’s a way of life. It’s not a hobby or a sport. It turns into a way of life,” Tommy said.