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Nominations for local martial artist

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Posted: Wednesday, January 2, 2019 12:00 am

Local martial artist Morgan Smith, of Navasota, has been nominated in several categories for the 2018 Sport Martial Arts Viewer’s Choice awards.

According to, the nominees were selected based on performances from the events covered by the website in 2018 and competitors who won “consistently or won grand championship titles were included.” Up against other champions, Smith has been nominated for Best Black Belt Adult Female Competitor Forms, Best Black Belt Adult Female Competitor Weapons and Best All Around Competitor Adult.

Smith, who has numerous titles under her belt, including the 2016 World Kickboxing and Karate Union World Champion for Traditional Korean Forms, has been training since she was 10 years old, practicing more than two hours each day to perfect her techniques. Most recently she was named the 2018 National American Sports Karate Association world title for Women’s 18+ Chinese Weapons and Forms.

She first began her studies in the sixth grade under the KickStart Kids program at Navasota ISD, and from there her love for the sport blossomed. Smith has consistently continued her studies, first under Master Benjamin Mendez and Master Rommel Gargoles, but has also studied under Joaquin Walker and Dona Pettway outside of the KickStart Kids program.  In 2017, she tested and received her third-degree black belt in front of Grandmaster Chuck Norris, who is also the founder and developer of the KickStart Kids program throughout the country.

Smith’s teammate, Ronny D. Zapata, of Houston, has also been nominated for the 2018 Best Performer Youth Forms and 2018 All Around Competitor Youth.

The 2018 Viewer’s Choice Awards Poll is open until Thursday, Jan. 10, and you can vote once per email address. The winners will be announced Jan. 15 and awards will be given during the 2019 AKA Warrior Cup in Chicago, Illinois, the weekend of Jan. 19-20. If you are interested in voting for the Navasota High School graduate, go to and vote in the above categories. 

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