KARATE: Curlewis teenager Luke Lumsden is flying high after a standout performance at the Okinawa Karate World Tournament in Japan.

The Gunnedah High School student is now ranked among the best in Australia and the world in his age division for Uechi-Ryu karate discipline.

It was a whirlwind international debut for the talented 17-year-old who far exceeded his own expectations at the event.

Luke said the calibre of competition was like nothing he had experienced before.

“You could tell everyone had put in the hours,” he said.

“It was great sportsmanship too.”

Most inspiring for Luke, who has been practising karate for more than a decade, was the high regard karate held in Japan culture.

He said many mentors were willing to pass on their knowledge for free.

“It’s not about the money over there,” Luke said.

He said karate is more than a sport for people in Japan – it’s a way of life, influencing all aspects of daily activities.

Now settled back at home, Luke is already eager to return to Japan for more tuition in preparation for the next tournament.

He is also building up for his next grading to a second dan black belt.

“That will be next year, hopefully,” Luke said.

Basic eligibility stipulates applicants must be at least 18 years old but crucially, must be deemed suitable to advance to the next level.

“They want to make sure you are of good character… that you’re applying yourself,” he said.

To order photos from this page click here