Lautner, aka ‘Sharkboy’ to visit

By Thomas Garcia: Quay County Sun

A martial arts tournament, featuring karate, tae kwon do and ju jitsu, will be held this weekend at the Tucumcari Convention Center.
The featured presenter will be Disney and Nickelodeon star and martial artist, Taylor Lautner, also known as “Sharkboy.”

Lautner will be signing autographs and teaching some classes.

The tournament is being hosted by the American Karate Studios, whose principal instructor is Mark Anthony Baca, who has a 5th Dan Black Belt.

At least five martial arts studios have made reservations to compete in the tournament, said Phill Gallegos, tournament supporter.
Lautner began studying karate at the age of six, and by the following year, he was winning tournaments, according to the Web site. He was then invited to train with seven-time world karate champion Mike Chat. Lautner, at eight, began competing in the World Karate Association where he became the Junior World Forms and Weapons champion, winning three gold medals. When he was 11, Lautner was ranked number one in the world for North American Sports Karate Association Black Belt Open Forms, Musical Weapons, Traditional Weapons and Traditional Form. At 12, he had three Junior World Championships, according to

The tournament is at 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday at the Tucumcari Convention Center. It is free for children age 4 and under. All other tickets are $5.