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A real karate kid from Pennsylvania making a name for himself on the mat

MOUNT BETHEL, Pa. (CBS) – Sensei Michael Todas says young women are changing the face of strength sports like martial arts.

“These girls aren’t kidding,” Todas said. “They hit hard when they need to hit hard.”

His 13-year-old daughter Daphne is one of those hard hitters and a black belt making a name for herself on the mat as she prepares to compete in two prestigious events.

“As soon as I step on the mat, I get into the zone,” Daphne said, “and I like that: I don’t actually see anything, everything fades away.”

Daphne’s physical techniques and mental discipline have led her to represent the United States at the World Karate-Do Federation Championships for the second time. This year’s competition will take place in Monterrey, Mexico.

But first comes the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Karate Nationals, where Daphne placed second in 2022.

Daphne has always had a winning mentality and her father knew from an early age that his daughter had a fighting spirit.

“Some people are born to do certain things,” Todas said. “She had speed and strength that most kids her age didn’t have when she was five years old. She also had the memory to perform the different katas.”

Daphne’s father’s dojo in Mount Bethel, Method Karate, is her second home. It’s also a place where little ninjas learn self-confidence and the tools to defend themselves.

“None of them are looking to get into trouble,” Todas said, “but sometimes people get into trouble and they have to be ready for it.”

As Daphne continues to train every day, her father sits admiringly next to her and is proud of the champion his daughter is becoming.

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