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Real-life karate kid from Pennsylvania making name for herself on the mat

13-year-old from the Lehigh Valley representing the U.S. in World Karate Championships
13-year-old from the Lehigh Valley representing the U.S. in World Karate Championships 02:29

MOUNT BETHEL, Pa. (CBS) -- Sensei Michael Todas says young women are changing the face of power sports like martial arts.

"These girls, they're not joking," Todas said. "They're hitting hard when they need to hit hard."

His 13-year-old daughter Daphne is one of those hard hitters and a black belt who's making a name for herself on the mat as she prepares to compete in two prestigious events.

"As soon as I step on the mat, I get into the zone," Daphne said, "and I like, I can't really see anything, everything blurs out."

Daphne's physical techniques and mental discipline have landed her a spot representing the United States for the second time at the World Union of Karate-Do Federations World Championships. This year's competition is in Monterrey, Mexico.

But up first is the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Karate Nationals, where Daphne placed second in 2022.

Daphne has always had a winner's attitude, and her dad knew from an early age his daughter had some fight in her.

"Some people are born to do certain things," Todas said. "She possessed speed and power that most kids her age when she was 5 years old did not possess. She also had the memory to perform the different katas."

Daphne's dad's dojo in Mount Bethel, Method Karate, is her second home. It's also a place where little ninjas are taught confidence and given the tools to defend themselves.

"None of them are out there looking to get into any trouble," Todas said, "but again sometimes trouble finds people and they have to be ready for it."

As Daphne continues to train every day, her dad sits beside her in admiration and is proud of the champion his daughter is becoming.

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