Teen punches shark to prevent attack

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KIAWAH ISLAND, SC. (KTVI) – A game of shark attack between two teens off the South Carolina coast became real when a live shark decided to join in.

But as Corey Davis reports, thankfully one of the teens knew karate.

Joshua Watson, Shark Bite Victim:  "So I tried to jerk my ankle away and i accidentally punched the shark."

Delivering a quick punch to the nose...Joshua Watson says it was instinct when his karate skills kicked in.

Arnold Postell, Senior Biologist, SC Aquarium:  "I think it did scare it."

Playing a game in the water that turned all too real...Joshua and his sister were pretending to be sharks while swimming at Beachwalker County Park on Monday.

Rebekah Watson, Joshua's Mother:  "At first I was actually really surprised because I never thought I would get bit by a shark, so it was kind of scary at first."

The punch may have turned the shark away but not before it left a row of teeth marks on Joshua’s right leg.

"I tried to stay calm because the more your adrenaline rushes the more blood comes out."

That trick he learned from a movie...not jaws the all time classic shark movie
But soul surfer...a movie on a true story of a young woman's journey back to surfing after losing her arm in a horrific shark bite.

While Joshua will make a full recovery...Arnold Postell a biologist at the South Carolina aquarium says low visibility in the water could why the shark bit the teenager.

"The animal wasn't out hunting humans. He was out possibly feeding though, in low visibility he bumped into something, he might have smelled food from local bate, possibly a fisherman fishing and it was enough cues that he might have just taken a quick bite on something he didn't see."

Joshua's family says the shark was about 4 to 5 feet long...a little bigger than this sand bar shark at the aquarium...Postell says there is a wide variety of sharks swimming in our waters.

"Some of the more common ones would be Atlantic Shark Nose or a sand bar shark, black tip, black nose, lemon sharks, bull sharks. We have a wide variety of shark species that could be in the shallows."

Joshua's parents are just thankful he didn't suffer any long term injuries.

"I could've been so much worse and he's really gotten the best scenario possible for recovery."