Karlson qualified for the USA national karate team.
Competing in the Female 15 year old Advanced division at the 2018 AAU National Karate Championships, Julie Karlson won a silver medal in three-point sparring and bronze in rotational team sparring. Karlson also found out she made the USA national karate team for her season performance. She’s settling into a leadership role with Chris Welbon Karate Clubs’ competitive team and hopes to dive deeper into coaching soon.
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How did you feel when you found out you made the USA team?
Amazing. It’s the first time it’s happened. It only happens in black belt divisions so I’ve waited a few years to get up to this, just to have this opportunity.
Where do you think you’ve improved the most in karate?
Sparring, definitely. I used to be so shy and you couldn’t get me to go in the ring. When I was a white belt and stuff I would cry…now I’m just like, “OK, let’s go.”
Sempai (Brian) Warren has said a lot of kids are like that, shy at first and then they get really into it later on.
I see a ton of little kids, especially little girls — I can see myself in them — I’m like, “Trust me, you’ll get better. You just have to push through it.” I just see myself in a lot of them.
What are your goals for karate?
I want to teach. I want to pass on my knowledge to the little kids. I love talking to them and all their questions, I can answer them. It’s great.
What’s the first thing you’d tell one of these kids who might be new to karate?
That you first have to have fun with everything. Then you’re gonna learn to defend yourself, you’re gonna come out of your shell. You’re gonna grow as a person. Karate helped me a lot. It’s a very good learning experience.