Most siblings are competitive to one degree or another — and maybe even more so when it comes to twins.
For 11-year-old twins Drew and Ashley Smith of Lavinia, their competitive spirit and skill in the martial arts is taking them places they’ve never been before.
The children of John and Brandy Smith, both Drew and Ashley will be traveling to Ireland in August to compete as part of Team U.S.A. in the World Kickboxing and Karate Union (WKU) World Championship event.
Ashley will compete in forms — a non-contact type of Karate involving the execution of various moves and positions.
Drew will be facing off with competitors from around the world in a tightly regulated form of Karate kickboxing called spot fighting — much like the kind fighting featured in the 1980s movie “The Karate Kid.”
Drew and Ashley both earned their spot on Team U.S.A. earlier this year in regional competition.
Drew won first place in the point fighting regionals and is currently ranked number one in the region, which includes Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, Kentucky, and Indiana.
Ashley, who is currently ranked second in forms in the region, brought first and second place medals back from regional competition.
The twins are two of only 10 young athletes from Tennessee to qualify for World Championship competition as members of Team U.S.A. — and six of those 10 just happen to train at Johnson Martial Arts in Camden.
“They [the twins] are some of the most hard-working kids I’ve got,” said Cierra Walker, one of the instructors at Johnson Martial Arts. “They push themselves, and they have a lot of dedication.”
Walker will also be competing in Ireland as part of Team U.S.A.
“They have always exceeded my expectations,” said Brandy Smith. “Whenever they go after something, they go after it 100 percent.”
According to Smith, it was Drew who first showed interest in the martial arts.
“I first got interested from watching it on TV — mainly from the show “Kicking It,” said Drew. “I just love the fighting and the competition.”
Ashley admitted that the fact that her twin brother was doing it was a major factor in her decision to get involved in martial arts.
“My brother was a big influence,” said Ashley. “We’re very competitive twins.”
“They’re competitive in everything,” added their mother. “But they’ll take you down together if you mess with one of them.”
Both Ashley and Drew said they are very excited about the upcoming trip to Ireland. This will be their first time out of the country, and the family is planning to do a little sightseeing while they’re there.
The Smith family is providing their own funding when it comes to transportation to Ireland, food, and lodging — though anyone interested in helping them out can go to www.gofundme.com/ashley-and-drew-smith-for-team-usa.
Other athletes from Johnson Martial Arts that will be representing Team U.S.A. in Ireland include
Brendan Patrick, Bo Cecil, and owner Justin Johnson.