MacArthur performed well at the Pan American Internationals in November.
Keyshawn “Spider” MacArthur is living out his dream of becoming a martial artist. MacArthur, who has trained with the Rogers Nisei Karate Federation for eight months, won first place in form and second in fighting in his green belt division at the Pan American Internationals World Karate Championships.
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Everybody that trains at the Open Air Dojo gets a nickname. How did you get “Spider?”
Because I’m long and lanky, and very flexible.
What made you want to come out here and start training eight months ago?
TV, really. Watching a lot of kung fu movies growing up. One day, I happened to meet “Rhino” Mike (Thomas) at my job and he was telling me how they train. Old-school karate. Not like in a building. That fascinated me. I came out and gave it a try and I love it.
It’s about as far from training comfortably indoors as you can get. What was your reaction when you first got out here and saw how hardcore it is?
At first I was just shocked because I didn’t think I’d ever meet anybody so hands-on … (Rudy Rogers) pushes you to do better. I like that because, in my life, I’ve never really had somebody to push me that way.
What’s one of the most important things you’ve learned out here?
Discipline. To always be on time, always be aware. Especially the “on time” part.
When you first started competing, how did you feel going in?
My first one, I was kind of nervous just because I wasn’t too used to it. I’ve never really fought anyone using karate, so it was a first for me. But once I got the hang of it, the second time around (Pan American Internationals), I felt like I was more confident and I felt better about myself. So I performed better.
What did you learn to change?
Don’t think as much. Just do it.
What’s your goal with karate?
I want to go to the Olympics and then, one day, join the UFC.
Who’s your favorite martial artist?
Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung.
Is there any sport you’ve never tried but always wanted to?
This. As a kid, I never got the opportunity to do too much due to my disciplinary issues. But as I grew older I learned a little more, grew wiser.
What have you learned about discipline that you would go back to tell your younger self about?
Walk away and think about the situation before you just react.
What should someone coming out here for the first time know about training?
The biggest thing, don’t give up. Don’t quit. Two, be ready to endure pain because it’s not gonna be a walk in the park … in the end, you’ll see progress.