Karateka gear up for Japan

Karatekas from Goju Kai karate school were put through their paces during their final preparation before heading off to Japan for black belt grading.

On Saturday they took to the cold waters of Blouberg Beach for a training session.

Tristan said he started taking karate lessons when he was 7 after being inspired by his older sister, Tayla, who taught him that karate was more than a physical skill, but also a disciplined way of life.

His clubmate, Andrew, said everyone in his family is involved in karate in some way and since he tried it out at the age of 5, he has never looked back.

As cold as the water was on Saturday, the team remained committed.

Ashley Hughes, 12, said she was excited about the training.

“When you train hard you get stronger and stronger,” said Ashley.

Her fellow karateka, Cale Bushby, 11, said she felt like she could conquer the world.

“I really enjoy it, it’s my passion and I also want to achieve the goal of getting a black belt and assuming I can do anything in life and anything is possible,” said Cale.

They were led by the experienced Shihan Craig Kansley, who has been in the karate industry for the last 42 years. He started under the guidance of All Africa Goju Kai head, Peter Brandon Hanshi.

Kansley said the Parklands based karate school has been in existence for the past 24 years and its head offices are in Mowbray.

He said before the youngsters get graded in Japan, they, like others before them, do a mental and strength workout on the beach.

Kansley said South African children are usually strong and do well at the grading in Japan.

“It has been an amazing journey for the kids. They started when they were 5, 6 and 7 years and they are now around 13. So they have been doing karate for half of their lives. It’s a continued journey, karate is a way of life.

“I hope everybody comes back with a black belt,” he said.

Some parents at the training said they were proud of their youngsters being among the 31 karatekas chosen to grade for their black belts in Japan.

Tristan’s mother, Monique Cox said for him to travel out of the country on his own for the first time is nerve-wrecking but they know they are in good hands.

“To grade for your black belt is something not every child gets the opportunity to do so for us as parents, we’re very proud and we support them through it all,” she said.