The sport of karate is a recognizable sport around the world but it still ranks lower in popularity in many countries. But in some of those countries like Guyana for instance, the once not-so-popular sport is gaining a newfound audience in the country with the help of 12-year-old black belt, Tyler Orderson.
Unlike the traditional and popular games in Guyana like the cricket and soccer, karate has only been somewhat of a familiar sport for about 10 years now. But trainers of the combat sport say when young Orderson came to train with them at 3 ½ years old, they knew his abilities made him a standout.
“We had to stretch rules for him because we usually start children 4 years old, but he came in and we were so impressed,” said Jeffrey Wong, Orderson’s sensei. “He was so excited and we saw how naturally talented he was at a young age.”
The young talent has made a name for himself within the sport, even getting the opportunity to perform in competitions where he has won several titles and awards.
And in his travels to international tournaments and meeting with prestigious master teachers of the sport, and even teaching his peers his skills, he has earned the nickname ambassador of Guyana.
“He’s our little ambassador — he’s been going to various schools and doing performances where he’s the lead person,” said Wong. “And it’s quite intriguing for kids his age and younger because they feel a sense of ‘if he can do it, I can do it.’”
Orderson’s talent has been unmatched since he got his start in karate. He became the youngest shotokan — a style of karate — at three years old, and made history again last year becoming the youngest Sandan. Wong says at every competition Orderson shines a light on karate in Guyana and improves in skill.
“He’s been doing very well internationally and winning gold all over at tournaments,” said Wong. “He’s been representing Guyana for the last four years and he’s done tremendously well.”
The young karate kid is quite impressed about his accomplishments and said discipline got him to this point.
“It was difficult and it wasn’t easy but I am definitely proud of myself and I believe my handwork got me here,” said Tyler Orderson.
The Guyana Karate College has been one of the leading forces for the sport in the country, and has played a huge part in Orderson’s practicing. Wong says he sees the young karate kid heading for a notable career in the sport as he gets more experience even though he may pursue other fields, and is also confident that Orderson is set to represent Guyana in the forthcoming summer Olympics now that karate has been added.
“He’s been doing very well academically and he obviously will pursue an academic career, but in six or seven years he’ll be very competitive,” he said. “The Olympics just committed karate so I know Tyler will be one right up there for Guyana. He will continue practicing and follow a career in karate.”
And for Orderson himself, he is more than hopeful he will be present at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics.
“It would be an honor for me to represent Guyana in the Olympics,” he said.