It was a gi, a robe worn at a karate dojo, that convinced Lewiston native Nimal Eames-Scott to begin karate lessons.

His grandfather from Taiwan sent it to Eames-Scott for Christmas when he was 7 years old. “I was really into Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan at the time, and when I got the gi, I asked my mom if I could take lessons,” he says.

Eames-Scott, 15, soon learned he wouldn’t be tearing people’s hearts out with his bare hands like on TV, but karate was so much fun that he stuck with it. He recently passed the test to become a second-degree black belt, a goal many adults work for years to attain.

“What I like most about it now is working with kids and the confidence it gives me in every aspect of my life,” he says.

Eames-Scott, who will be a sophomore at Lewiston High School in the fall, is on the school’s soccer team. He’s also a member of the Boy Singers of Maine, has done theater and piano, and is taking guitar lessons. He’s a straight-A student and volunteers at Camp Middle Jubba, a Somali Bantu summer camp.

“He is such an incredible, humble and dedicated young man,” says Sensei Jon Wight at L-A Bushido, Eames-Scott’s mentor for the past eight years.

“The young students respect and look up to him when he helps me teach their class,” Wight says. “He has learned patience and commitment, something that has made a profound difference in his life.”

Eames-Scott is not sure of his future.

“College, for sure, but I have no idea what I want to do – perhaps art, music or engineering. I’ll decide when the time comes.”