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A 7-Year-Old Who Looks Like Annie, Fights Like Bruce Lee

May 23, 1987|SAM FARMER

While many second-graders are spending their Saturdays knocking the stuffing out of baseballs, Jonathan Schwartz of Westlake Village is kicking it out of opponents.

Schwartz, 7, is a two-time International Karate Champion who chops down his Southern California competition in tournaments nearly every weekend.

"He is very, very well motivated," said Tom Bloom, who is Schwartz's instructor. "He loves the winning. A real showman."

Last month, Schwartz earned black-belt status, becoming the youngest student under Bloom's tutelage to do so. Along with competing, Schwartz helps instruct some classes at Bloom's studio in Westlake and participates in the Agoura-based Monarchs Gymnastics program in order to build strength and increase his agility.

Schwartz bears no resemblance to the traditional stereotype of the tough kid.

"He looks like a male version of Annie," said Adele Schwartz, Jonathan's mother. "He is a complete gentleman."

But Jonathan's competitors soon learn that looks can be deceiving.

In Bob White's Karate Championships at Orange Coast College last month, Schwartz came in first in both the Kata and Showmanship events.

Schwartz's favorite movie is "Ninja 3: The Domination," which stars Bloom, a veteran of the Hollywood karate scene. Jonathan's own prowess on the mat has provided him with a few karate movie offers, but Taiwan has thus far been a little too far for him to travel.

"When I grow up," Schwartz said, "I am going to be a karate coach and a 10th-degree black-belt."

As for short-term goals, Schwartz hopes to win his first Grand Champion Trophy, which is awarded to one black-belt competitor from among the various age-group winners at each tournament.

It's a feat he seems to have more than a fighting chance of accomplishing.

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