Whanganui teenager Jake Hood is tackling the big time alone this weekend when he steps on to the mat in the Australian Kyokushin Full Contact Karate Championships.
The 16-year-old competes in the heavyweight colts division, aiming to do better than the second place in the NSW state championships in June.
Father and multiple national titleholder Richard Hood said he was keen to let his son fly free to gain experience for what a sporting career in karate may bring.
"Jake will be doing this trip on his own. I want him to see how he goes without having the pressure of having his old man on the sidelines and also gaining experience of looking after himself as a traveller, especially through airports, if he is to continue with the sport," Hood senior said.
"This competition will give him invaluable ring time in preparation for the New Zealand champs in September. Jake fought in Sydney in June and hopes to come up against the young Aussie boy he lost to. Once again this is about having fun and getting experience.
"Jake's a mature young fella with good smarts when it comes to fighting, so hopefully he can do well."