Karate kid: New Minas girl eyeing medal at nationals

Published on February 8, 2017

With 50 fights – and 43 wins - under her belt, Adee Burgess typically competes in a higher age bracket to further test her skills, putting her in a good position as she prepares for nationals.

©Jennifer Vardy Little

NEW MINAS, NS - A Kings County teenager will be testing her skills against the top competitors in Canada later this month when she heads to the karate national championships with Team Nova Scotia.

Adee Burgess, 14, can’t remember a time when she didn’t practice martial arts. She was trained from a young age by her dad, Mark Burgess, who has practiced and taught karate for nearly three decades.

With dozens of medals to her credit already, this will be Adee’s second trip to nationals – she travelled to Vancouver last January with Team Nova Scotia – and is looking forward to testing her skills against the best Canada has to offer.

“I’m really excited,” she said. “I’m hoping Team Nova Scotia will do good because there are more people going this time. You’re always hoping you do well.”

It will be difficult, she admits. Adee will be among the youngest in her age class – she turned 14 in December, moving up to the 14-15 female category, which is then further subdivided by weight.

“It’s pretty nerve-wracking,” she said. “I’ll be one of the younger competitors in the group.”

Adee will compete in the heavyweight category.

“She’s grown so much this year in height and weight, she’s moved up,” adds Mark. “The overall speed will be a challenge, but you can only do what you can do.”

She will be competing only in fights, not katas, which are the highly regulated, stylistic movements that are part of competitions.

“I don’t like katas – everyone is watching you since you’re the only one in the ring, and if you mess up, everybody is watching and it’s embarrassing,” she said.

With 50 fights – and 43 wins - under her belt, Adee typically competes in a higher age bracket to further test her skills, putting her in a good position as she prepares for nationals.

Adee Burgess is hoping to bring home a medal when she goes to a national competition in Quebec City later this month as part of Team Nova Scotia. The 14-year-old New Minas girl has been practicing karate since she was a toddler.


Team Nova Scotia is a small contingent of athletes, compared to the 70 or 80 competitors that regularly attend from bigger provinces like Quebec or Ontario. Adee is the only Kings County competitor that will be attending, alongside five athletes from the Windsor area and a few more scattered across the province.

“Team Nova Scotia always does well, considering the large number of athletes Ontario and Quebec send,” Mark said. “But Nova Scotia has two national champions on the team, so that will help.”

Preparations are intense. Adee regularly trains six times a week at Shoken Defense in Kentville, where her dad teaches, and has also been travelling to Windsor to train with other members of the team. She’s also been training in the other classes offered at Shoken Defense, - boxing, tae kwon do and MMA fighting - to add speed and other skills to her repertoire.

“I’m just going to focus on what I’m doing, just try to go as fast as I can and do as good as I can,” Adee said, adding that she’s been working on her attacking and defensive drills in preparation.

Coaches can offer tips and advice from ringside during the bouts. It’s both a blessing and a curse, since competitions can be very loud and straining to hear a coach can split an athlete’s focus.

New rules this year mean that whoever wins the first unopposed point will get the bout in case of a tie, so that has also impacted Adee’s training.

“You don’t want to spend all your time attacking because you don’t want to risk being exposed, but you just have to really focus on what the coaches are saying,” she said. “That’s hard because you also have to think about what your opponent is doing at the same time.”

In addition to the competition, Adee is looking forward to seeing Quebec City and meeting new people. She’ll have her own cheering section, with her parents and grandparents all planning to make the trip to see her compete.