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I'm a Tulsa Kid: Raigyn Mayes

Mayes has won many honors through the Oklahoma Karate Association



Sheeba Atiqi

At the age of 16, Raigyn Mayes has won many honors through the Oklahoma Karate Association. But, her love of martial arts goes beyond the physical demands. She has learned important life skills, and finds pride and strength in her Cherokee heritage.

TK: When did you start karate and why?

Raigyn: I started karate when I was 8 years old and in third grade. I started martial arts because I was, and still am, very petite, and I wanted to know how to defend myself.

TK: What have you learned from your training in karate?

Raigyn: Through karate I have learned many life skills such as respect, self control, self discipline, perseverance, goal setting and concentration. These words are displayed on the walls of one of the rooms at Apollo’s (the gym where Raigyn trains) to remind us to follow them. I have also learned many physical skills for self-defense and, with that, the proper times for the skills to be used.

TK: What awards have you won?

Raigyn: I have won many first-, second- and third-place trophies, along with medals and sometimes weapons for point sparring tournaments, mainly through Oklahoma Karate Association (OKA). Also, I won the 2018 Oklahoma State Championship for the 14-15 year-old Advanced Division in Point Sparring.

TK: How do you balance school, practice and competitions?

Raigyn: Karate has been such a big part of my life for so long that I am used to the routine, and it is not difficult for me to balance school, practice and competitions. I have karate class/practice four nights a week with one of those having two classes. I have time before and after karate to do homework. Also the competitions are usually on weekends or sometimes on Friday nights, so they don’t get in the way.

TK: How are you able to combine your Cherokee heritage with your karate?

Raigyn: When I go to tournaments, I have two different uniform options, one of which has a large patch of the Cherokee Seal on the back, while the other has a smaller version of the same patch. I wear these patches to show that I am proud of my Cherokee heritage, and I feel like there is a strength in that, which I want to be with me in different aspects of my life.

TK: Who inspires you?

Raigyn: People who inspire me most in karate would definitely be my instructors: Mr. John, Mr. Nix, Ms. Kim, Mr. Blake and Mr. Steven.  They inspire me to do my best, recognize my accomplishments and always encourage me not just in karate, but in everything I do.

TK: What advice do you have for others?

Raigyn: Advice I’d have for others is if you have a goal, to stick with it and to keep persevering to achieve those goals because it will be worth it in the end. 

TK: What are your plans for the future?

Raigyn: After high school, I plan to go to college. However, I have not yet decided on a path as to which college and career I will choose.

TK: What other hobbies do you have?

Raigyn: It is hard to fit in other activities with my hectic schedule; however, I still manage to be active in my church youth group and the youth choir. I also participate in activities at school such as Key Club, Rise, and National Honor Society.

TK: What is a fun fact about you?

Raigyn: A fun fact about me is that my body is extremely flexible, and I love to incorporate that into my kicks with karate.


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