As a shy six-year-old, David Bavaresco left his first karate class in Venezuela in tears. His grandfather, Eduardo Bavaresco, predicted that karate wouldn’t be the kid’s forte.
“Then at 10 my mom said I had to start a sport and I chose karate,” Bavaresco said. “My mom was shocked, but ever since then it’s been my lifestyle.”
And it’s been a pretty successful lifestyle.
Today, Bavaresco, 21, is a third-degree black belt. This past April he became the 2017 US Open karate champion in the 18-34 male advance kata category. It’s the second time he has garnered the accolade.
“David is everything a karate dojo expects from its students,” sensei Jesus Costa said. “David is a capable and enthusiastic young man. He always has ideas and projects and is very involved in his studies.”
Bavaresco left his hometown of Valencia, Venezuela when he was 18 years old to seek better opportunities away from the political turmoil currently plaguing his country.
“The situation in my country was harsh,” Bavaresco said. “I thought about quitting. The economic, social and political situation forced me to take a break.”
Although Bavaresco no longer represents the Venezuelan national team, he sees himself as a voice for his compatriots during the country’s difficult times.
“I’m still representing Venezuela, not on the national team, but as a proud Venezuelan. and I’m a voice for those who can’t speak up,” he said.
Bavaresco, who also has a part-time job at the student life department at Wolfson Campus, is currently majoring in engineering. His passion for karate has driven him to attempt to open a karate club at Wolfson Campus. He hopes to have the organization active by this coming fall semester.
He also explores other interests like aviation at the Miami Seaplane Base and running in marathons.
“I refuel the planes,” Bavaresco said. “I help out with anything that is needed.”
But he remains focused on karate. When he is not preparing for a competition, Bavaresco trains twice a week and sporadically goes on long runs. His preparation is both physical and mental. As a competition approaches, he trains five times a week doing everything from cardio to practicing technique and building strength.
Bavaresco, who hopes to one day compete at the Olympic level and have a career where he can combine engineering with his love for aviation, said karate grounds him.
“It’s a way of life,” Bavaresco said. “It shapes me as an individual; it shows me how to act toward society.”