MACEDONIAN KARATE KID
FORGET the Hollywood version – Melbourne has the real-life Karate Kid.
Ten-year-old Pece Naumovski has returned triumphant from the Go-Kan-Ryu Karate international championships in Britain.
The tiny fighter punched, kicked and blocked his way to the gold medal on points with more than 60 different defensive and offensive moves.
Just 18 months into his chosen sport he is being hailed a true talent of a martial art that combines explosive fight action with the grace and poise of a slow dance routine.
"I practise six days a week and I have got very professional trainers who help me reach the best of my ability," the humble hero said.
Not content to let his hands and feet do the talking, Pece gets his father, Vasil, to keep his impressive mohawk clipped.
"It makes me look like a warrior," he said.
Already a brown belt with the coveted black belt in his sights, Pece said he owed a lot to the local Lalor community, which helped fund his recent winning trip to Birmingham.
Thomastown Meadows Primary School, where he is a grade 5 pupil, and the City of Whittlesea chipped in to send Pece to the competition.
GKR Karate state coach Jason Knight said Pece was ahead of the pack.
"To get to black belt would normally take about five years and the fact he is almost there is incredible," Mr Knight said.
"It just shows the mindset he's got, which at age 10 is extraordinary. Yet he always shows a lot of humility. He's a very humble boy and very well-mannered."