Sports Spotlight: Croatan’s Luke Lewis the next in family tradition of martial arts champions

Lewis to compete at AAU Junior Olympic National Championship Taekwondo event
Generations of training are showing through in Croatan freshman Luke Lewis.
Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 6:59 PM EST
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MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. (WITN) - Generations of training are showing through in Croatan freshman Luke Lewis.

Luke is already an honor student taking AP courses, he’s learning to fly airplanes, and plays on the JV football team. But the family sport is where he excels.

We feature Luke in this week’s Pepsi Sports Spotlight

“It’s really an honor to have Grandmaster Lewis as my father,” says Croatan Freshman Luke Lewis, “Off the mat he is helping me as a father figure. When I walk on the mat he is now an instructor for me.”

Many people say they have been in love with a sport their whole life but for Croatan’s Luke Lewis it’s the truth.

“He was about 3 hours old,” says Grandmaster Russell Lewis, Luke’s father, “He got out and I started bending his leg this is how you do a kick.”

A family tradition of passing martial arts to the next generation.

“My grandfather was in the Navy in World War II,” says Russell, “and he was on Cedar Island and we would go out fishing and almost like the Karate Kid we would do Judo stuff on the boat.”

Like his dad, Luke also learned on the water.

“Learning on the fishing boat was a great experience with my grandfather, says Luke, “I learned a lot of basic life essential skills while fishing and also really improved my balance.”

Back on land, Luke has been learning and applying traditional Taekwondo tactics

“We do punches, kicks, sweeps, throws and blocking,” says Luke.

Grandmaster Lewis has been teaching for more than 30 years.

“He’s given me the advice and the mistakes not to make,” says Luke.

The 7-time World Champion has competed all over the world, but seeing his son take to the sport on his own has meant more.

“I’ve just loved watching him grow. It’s been amazing for me. I’ve won over 200 competitions in my career,” says Russell, “When he was 4 years old and won his first tournament as a yellow belt that’s the most exciting thing I have ever done.”

Luke has been to the AAU Junior Olympic national championships twice now.

“2014 he was our youngest national champion in the state,” says Russell, “He won at 7 years old.”

“When I competed at 7, I won 2 golds, 11 I also won 2 golds,” says Luke, “This year I am plan to expand on that compete in 4 different divisions.”

This year he is in the 14 and 15 year old division facing greater competition.

“The harder it gets, people get more skillful as you progress. It means a lot more,” says Luke.

The next step in the goal to continue his family’s tradition on the world scale.

“Plan to compete here and hopefully progress farther,” says Luke, “One day win a World Title like my dad.”

Luke’s AAU Junior Olympic national competition is the first week of August in Greensboro.

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