WALVIS BAY - Shotokan Karate Academy International (SKAI) had their National Black Belt Grading in July where an attempt was made by karatekas to obtain the coveted black belt.
Successful karatekas were honoured at an illustrious ceremony staged at the Yacht Club in Walvis Bay recently. The karatekas tested for shodan had a minimum of five years’ experience, with some of them even having as much as nine years’ training in karate.
The syllabus which they had to comply with is very stringent, resulting in all of them training and preparing since the beginning of the year for the above grading.
Before an attempt could be made to grade, all karatekas’ grading had to undergo a “gruelling” pre-grading, where all technical aspects were properly scrutinised by a quartet of senior instructors.
Karatekas were graded on aspects such as proficiency in basic techniques, proficiency in forms, proficiency in combat, fitness, etiquette and procedure, neatness and attitude, eye position, concentration and self-control.
The grading panel, consisting four of the highest graded Namibia Shotokan karatekas, were very impressed with the standard displayed.
To be successful, karatekas had to demonstrate they possess the required skills, values and character traits required for the junior black belt and shodan rank (1st degree black belt).
Chief Instructor of SKAI, sensei Willem Burger made the following observations with regard to the achievement of obtaining a black belt. For every 10,000 people that join a karate school, half the figure is likely to drop out within six months,
Of those remaining students, about 1,000 will complete a year of training before quitting. Approximately 500 students will study for two years, but only 100 will be there after three years.
Usually, only one or two will progress and be successful obtaining their 2nd degree black belt, one will progress to teach others as he/she has been taught – this person, one in 10,000 is a true black belt.
Sensei Willem Burger also observed that a black belt means that the person now fulfils the role of a modern day Samurai.
The word Samurai originally meant “one who serves”.
“Black belts serve their family and community and protect those that cannot fend for themselves. The black belt also lives by the bushido code (warrior code) and living values like loyalty, honour, courage, unselfishness, fairness, sincerity, honesty and courtesy are of the utmost importance.
“Being a black belt means constantly developing yourself physically, mentally and emotionally to face the challenges and opportunities that life presents, and then to pass along these tools to those around us so that they all may benefit and take best advantage of all opportunities that arise in their lifetimes.”
Sensei Willem explained that wearing a black belt does not mean you are invincible, but it does mean that you never give up, you are prepared to work past pain and disappointment and do not cave in to your doubts and above all you are prepared to face your fears.
The karatekas who all graded to Junior Black Belt were:
The senior karatekas who all graded to Shodan (first degree/dan black belt) and who were honoured on Saturday were:
Shotokan has training centres in Windhoek, Walvis Bay, Swakopmund, Omaruru and Tsumeb. The following contact numbers apply: Windhoek Sensei: Willem Burger (Chief Instructor) +264 81 129 2519; Walvis Bay Sensei: Wikus Oberholster (Shihankai member) +264 81 258 2000; Swakopmund Sensei: Valdemar Swart (Shihankai member)+264 85 124 2938; Omaruru Sensei: Marvin Mbari (Dojo Head) +264 81 255 1510 Tsumeb.
2018-10-18 10:12:10 7 months ago