PKSA Karate auditions for America’s Got Talent


Photo credit: Shaun Folk

Instructor Owen Hall does a middle knife hand pose.

By Michal Ruprecht and Tommy Teftsis

Karate has led the Professional Karate Schools of America Demo Team all the way to the stage of America’s Got Talent (AGT). For one month the team has been training to impress America and the four eager judges.

Demo is based on Tang So Doo, a South Korean form of karate originating in Seoul. AGT asked the team to audition for the show last April and will perform on Nov. 7.

Member of the Demo Team, freshman Hope Miller has found karate to be very meaningful throughout the seven years she has been practicing the sport.

“(What) karate means to me is to develop courage for yourself and to do what’s right and to not always just defend yourself, but to defend people around you,” Miller said. “It’s like building character instead of competition, it’s not always about that and it’s just about yourself and trying your hardest.”

Miller discovered many ways to help others through performing and teaching karate. Her gradual love for the sport created a new way of life for her.

Instructor Alyssa Folkwie spars and does a hook kick.
Photo credit: Shaun Folk
Instructor Alyssa Folkwie spars and does a hook kick.

“I really started to like (karate) because at karate it’s not only for me,” Miller said. “I’m on this team, it’s called Demo and we go for helping Wigs 4 Kids and we do performances for them and then we give performances for schools that have children that are abused at home.”

Miller’s mom, Temika Miller, inspired Hope to become a part of karate. Temika is proud to see that Hope’s karate ambitions brought her to a high level in karate. She is aware of the hard work her daughter has put into the AGT audition.

“I believe it’s a very good opportunity for her, she’s very excited. Hope has done a lot of performances through the community … this will give her more personal exposure,” Temika said.

Hope believes that the show created more unity in the team. Even though winning and the money are not important, Hope thinks her team is ready to succeed.

“I would want to say that (the biggest achievement is) to win, but in all honesty I want us to just be able to get experience and know how to get out there in the world and know that karate can take you very far,” Hope said. “I just hope our karate team goes away knowing that even though if we don’t win that we did great and that we tried our hardest and that’s all that matters.”

Since starting karate, Hope has seen a big change in her life. Her four-hour long karate practices have greatly affected her personal relationships.

“I barely have time now to hang out with friends because I’m either at karate and helping someone. For example, (on Oct. 24) I have a Wigs 4 Kids at a local mall. I’m performing for them,” Hope said. “It’s just kind of affected me in a way where I just I’m always there. I’m just there a lot, I think too much, it’s like my second home.”

Sam Boggia and freshman Hope Miller at a Wigs 4 Kids gala on Sept. 12.
Photo credit: Hour Detroit
Sam Boggia and freshman Hope Miller at a Wigs 4 Kids gala on Sept. 12.

Also a member of Demo and a second-degree black belt, freshman Sam Boggia acquired many personal qualities from karate besides just self defense.

“I’ve learned discipline and self-control … (and) to be a better person through karate,” Boggia said. “It has helped develop my character and (showed me) how to help out your community, so it has helped my whole life out.”

Boggia tried other sports but they didn’t click. Since karate is prominent in the Boggia household, she joined in second grade.

Boggia’s mom, Debbie Boggia, has noticed a positive effect from Sam’s karate experience.

“It has been beneficial, it has been a good experience for all of us,” Debbie said. “I feel that Samantha has learned self defense and it has really boosted her self-esteem and made her a better person.”

Hope found that karate introduced her to many things, even modeling. She believes that karate helps people expand their boundaries, and that her AGT experience will further help express her love for the sport.

“I feel like with karate you can just help people, it’s not only for yourself,” Hope said. “It’s spreading (to) people that you can be confident and you can be strong too. You don’t have to always hide in the shadows.”