By Albert Hu,
Take a stroll through downtown Davis, turn left on 5th street and enter the dojo of Inspire Martial Arts. Inside, you’ll find junior Perry Winsor dodging and diving, fighting with fury and snapping with sticks.
Enticed by his friends in 4th grade, Winsor entered the realm of martial arts in 2009.
“I had already been swimming since I was young, [but] I wanted to do something different,” Winsor said.
Since then, he’s been climbing through the ranks and is now a second-degree black belt.
But along with the title comes big responsibilities. To receive his belt, Winsor was required to master eight pinions (choreographed patterns/moves) and had to demonstrate his competence in Krav Maga, an Israeli self-defense system.
With his experience in Krav Maga, he is able to defend himself from knife slashes, wrist grabs, punches and many other physical attacks.
“If someone attacks [me], I can use their reactions to my advantage, [turning the tide] of the fight,” Winsor said.
Soon after gaining his black belt, Winsor joined Inspire’s Hyper Team– an elite group of 12 black belts who dazzle spectators with fancy demonstrations, combining a mix of parkour, gymnastics, and martial arts.
With Hyper Team, he has performed in everywhere from local elementary schools to UC Davis.
“It’s very casual, not strictly a class. [We’re] a team that hangs out, practices and ultimately [performs], ” Winsor said.
Of the moves they execute, Winsor’s favorite is the hyper kick, or trick kick, a fast spinning jump-kick.
“The way I see it, everyone has those special things they can do, and so this is my thing: I can do these fancy kicks,” Winsor said.
Winsor’s self-accredited ninja skills are similar to those featured in old Martial Arts films.
“If you see all the pinions I do, the kicks I do, [and you watch these movies], you’ll see that that’s what ninjas do,” Winsor said, half smirking.
Happy to give back to the community, Winsor is also in charge of teaching children basic kicks, punches and, of course, his world famous hyper kicks at Inspire’s summer martial arts camp.
“[My dojo] pays me to teach the kids, they enjoy it, so I enjoy it — we all just have fun,” Winsor said.
But by far, his favorite part of karate involves Arnis, a martial art originating from the Philippines, characterized by the use of rattan sticks. According to Winsor, these sticks are “about as long as your arm, and harder than bamboo but not quite as hard as wood.”
With rattan sticks, Winsor practices padded sparring, different blocking techniques and a flurry of strikes, one of which is the Sinawali, a glamorous dual-stick weaving motion that is often paired with a continuous attack.
“It’s the thing I’m best at because my body type is [leaner], and [Sinawali] is more technical skill, [one of my strengths],” Winsor said.
While Winsor does not participate in tournaments anymore, his technical skill and performing capabilities earned him multiple awards at his dojo.
“Back when I was twelve […] I was generally [ranked] as the best performer in my dojo’s tournaments” Winsor reminisced.
To Winsor, karate is a lifestyle that is not strictly competitive, but also a path to staying in shape, bonding with others and bettering one’s self.