Student by Day, Ninja By Night: Nisha Balaji ’25

Nisha+Balaji+has+been+practicing+and+competing+in+the+sport+of+karate+for+the+past+nine+years.

Ishwariya Balaji

Nisha Balaji has been practicing and competing in the sport of karate for the past nine years.

By: Diya Bhattacharya '25 and Talia Ribbe '25 , Contributing Writers

If you were to ask freshman Nisha Balaji how she would describe herself, she would say three things: introverted, ninja, and national champion.

For Balaji, karate has always been a way to release her inner self. At the age of five, Balaji’s father enrolled her at Mass Dojo in Westborough as a way to express herself. Growing up, she was always a shy child, however, when she steps in the ring, she becomes a different person. She explains that while she’s fighting, she becomes her truest self.

For the last nine years of her life, Balaji has had to sacrifice a lot in order to get to the level she is at today. Balaji explains that while karate is her passion in life, she has always wanted to participate in other sports and activities. However, due to her intensive karate schedule, she is unable to do so.

Balaji says, “Even in my freetime, I’m practicing. I’m always looking to improve.”

Balaji has been competing at a national level since the age of seven. She says every year is different, new competition, new teammates, and new struggles. Balaji knows that no matter what, she can depend on her teammates, and vice versa.

One of her teammates and closest friends, sophomore Vedant

She gets fired up and the energy is very contagious. She always keeps the competition on edge”

— Vedant Konis '24

Kotnis, explains that “She gets fired up and the energy is very contagious. She always keeps the competition on edge.”

Balaji competes with girls similar to her age from all around the country in various events.
“There’s team Kata, which is kind of like a demonstration of the form and skills, but there’s also team fighting which I like a lot more. Other than that, there’s just a lot of individual categories. I’m never worried though, I always have a game plan no matter how tough the opponent is,” Balaji shares.

Balaji lists her best motivators as her coaches, teammates, and family, particularly her father. Karate has always been something the two bond over. Before Balaji took up karate, she always watched her dad fight. Additionally, Balaji has a younger brother, who sees her as an inspirational figure in his karate journey.

She also says, “While my mother does not do karate, she is also one of my biggest supporters. She is always there watching me and my brother from the side, and I could not ask for a better fan than my mom.”

Although Balaji is uncertain about her future in karate, for now she is WHS’s resident ninja.