Black belts break the line

Local karateka with UFC fighter, Garreth McLellan (in blue).

Nine karateka from Newcastle attended the South African JKA Standardisation Seminar recently.

They joined more than 200 black belts from across the country at the Mandeville Sports Centre in Johannesburg, for a colloquium worth attending.

“Achieving one’s black belt is not the end of the road, and only adds a tick to the many challenges on the bucket list,” explained Newcastle Sensei, Johan Swart.

He explained as a black belt, one realised how much more there was to learn and strove to achieve improvement in pursuit of perfection.

This was the key aim of the seminar.

“It encouraged and taught black belts new and exciting ways to seek perfection, thereby improving skills and learning to overcome obstacles and challenges.”

The first hour, led by Sensei Edward Mtshali, concentrated on the Kihon or basics, with emphasis on using energy from the ground, energy displacement and firm stance.

The last hour was led by Sensei Chris Shebelo and Bradley Koras.

This session focused on the Bunkai (breakdown and demonstration of moves) for two notable kata (a routine or protocol).

“The highlight of the day was having Garreth ‘Soldierboy’ McLellan addressing the class on how to deal with victims of bullies and bullies themselves.”

The 34-year-old middleweight fighter, successful in the disciplines of karate, kickboxing, wrestling and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, is a two-time EFC Africa champion.

Black belts were also put through their paces.

They learned a number of new techniques on how to ‘break the line’ of an attacker to prevent further physical damage, and also how to empower a bullying victim to fight for a positive outcome.

“The opposite was also discussed; once the reason for a bully’s outburst is discovered, they can be taught to control their anger by focusing frustration on something other than people.”

The seminar was deemed a success based on the positive head start it gave karateka, ahead of the National Championships this year.

The Championships also serve as a trial for the Gichin World Cup in August.

On the local front, the Northern KwaZulu-Natal JKA Trials took place on Saturday – for more information, contact Sensei Johan on 083 658 7157.

Bruce Douglas

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