Balancing Karate and School Books

Originally published on Rocket Miner – December 2, 2017

Humility and hard work are driving Green River student Tim Radosevich in his quest to become the best. Radosevich takes courses at an online school while working on his martial arts.

He is a junior at the Wyoming Virtual Academy, which is a statewide virtual learning program hosted by Niobrara County School District No. 1. He said the format gives him a flexible schedule and enables him to take courses while focusing on karate.

Radosevich is taking nine courses: Physics 1; Anatomy and Physiology 1; Chemistry 1; American literature; U.S. government; precalculus; music appreciation; introduction to philosophy; and Latin 1. It’s a very rigorous online course “getting me prepared for college,” he said.

“I have to be the one responsible for attending classes and getting my work done, otherwise I’ll fail,” he said.

The 16-year-old is also pursuing a junior black belt. He said people can’t earn a full-time black belt until they are at least 18.

Discipline and inspiration

Radosevich said his work ethic began when he started martial arts at Pineda’s Kenpo Karate dojo in Green River 12 years ago as a young 5-year-old who was “so uncoordinated.” A dojo is a place where martial arts are practiced.

Kenpo Karate incorporates a mixture of Chinese and Japanese techniques. It uses 80 percent hands and 20 percent feet technique for self-defense. All courses emphasize respect, discipline, physical fitness, a positive attitude and stress relief, according to its website.

Tim Radosevich’s mom, Kristy Radosevich, wanted him to get involved in a sport and for it to be applicable to his future.

“I joined and stuck with it,” he said.

Jim Dean, his sifu, or “teacher” in Chinese, has taught Tim Radosevich since the beginning.

“I take 100 Tims in a second,” Dean said. “He’s a great student, he practices hard, he’s dedicated.”

Bruce Lee or Chuck Norris did not motivate Tim Radosevich growing up.

“My future self was my inspiration,” he said. “What I could be was my inspiration.”

No quitting

Kids in the studio today only see what Tim Radosevich has accomplished.

They think he has always been winning. In the beginning, however, he said he “would get crushed over and over again.”

Kristy Radosevich said over the years her son tried to quit martial arts many times.

“Sometimes his dad and I wouldn’t let him, and he had to persevere despite feeling emotionally flat and unmotivated about the whole thing,” she said. “But other times, we let him give up and helped him pack his gear to the garage to be dumped.

“It never actually made it to the garbage can, because somewhere in him it had taken root and wouldn’t let go.”

Humility

During matches, Tim Radosevich’s nerves “boast” him instead of hindering his performance.

Win or lose, he treats everyone the same; he shakes their hands, gets their names and learns more about them.

He has participated in many tournaments, including the International Martial Arts Festival in Orlando, Florida, in October. During the event, he took home first place in the 14- to 17-year-old age group in three categories — traditional forms, sparring and open weapons.

To prepare for the tournament, he spent up to four hours a day practicing techniques in his backyard.

“He was so fervent that we gave up all summer vacations so he could practice and go to class,” Kristy Radosevich said. “For the amount of hard and focused effort he put into his sport, it’s no surprise he did well.”

Dean said Tim Radosevich not only performed phenomenally, but he won with grace.

“If you watch his demeanor you couldn’t tell he won,” he said. “He’s a pretty level kid for a 16-year-old teenager.”

Tim Radosevich has not let success get to his head. For example, he continues to help out children and adults at the dojo.

“He’s one of them guys that comes once or twice in an instructor’s lifetime,” Dean said.

The future

Tim Radosevich has also done well outside of the dojo.

In May, he was selected as a sophomore to attend the University of Wyoming’s High School Initiative.

Scholars from all over the state came together on the UW campus for three weeks to experience college life. Students took college classes, stayed in dorms, participated in community service and attended events both on and off campus.

“I was beyond happy,” he said. He said he immediately clicked with other students and helped professors and camp leaders make it a good time for everyone.

Tim Radosevich said he plans on applying to Ave Maria University in Florida to pursue an undergraduate degree, but he’s still keeping his options open.

After that he wants to attend graduate and medical schools and eventually become an anesthesiologist.

In between college semesters, he plans to come back to Green River and hone his martial arts crafts.

Getting ready

As Tim Radosevich’s high school years begin to “envelop him,” so does his desire to reach his goal of black belt, his mother said.

“We don’t remind him to go to class, practice or anything,” Kristy Radosevich said. “It’s all his.”

He is preparing to become the first junior black belt artist at the Green River dojo. Pineda Karate also has a Rock Springs location and a junior black belt.

There are eight belt levels: white, yellow, orange, purple, blue, green, brown and black.

Tim Radosevich is currently a brown belt, and he said while there are days it can get rough, his passion is so strong he constantly wants to keep going.

Regardless of what happens, he said he plans to remain “humbled in winning and humbled in defeat.”

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