Japanese karate legend meets with SA’s best

2016-05-05 06:00
Sonny Pillay with 10th Dan Grandmaster Hirokazu Kanazawa. Photo: supplied

Sonny Pillay with 10th Dan Grandmaster Hirokazu Kanazawa. Photo: supplied

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COMMITTED students of the martial art of karate were treated to a rare opportunity over the last few days as Japanese ‘Supreme Master’, Murakami Manabu visited Tongaat to hold a series of karate seminars for local ‘karate-kas’.

Manabu’s visit provided students of the martial art the chance to implement everything they have learned from their Sensei and take away the traditional skills and techniques showcased by a true master of karate.

Local karate instructor and president of Karate South Africa (KSA), ‘Hanshi’ Sonny Pillay said the seminars were a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet and learn from the best in the world and to take away some of the home-grown attributes of true Japanese karate.

“It was a real honour to welcome Supreme Master Manabu to Tongaat, where there is a thriving karate community who were thrilled to make his acquaintance. Those who attended the seminars have taken away skills and experience in karate that will only make them better,” said Pillay.

A few years ago, Pillay was awarded his 7th Dan black belt by Japanese Grandmaster Kanazawa; earning him the title of ‘Kyoshi’.

Now an 8th Dan black belt and karate master himself, Pillay has devoted his life and career to the development of the martial art in South Africa and the petition to make karate an Olympic sport in the Tokyo Games of 2022.

As the owner of Shotokan Karate International South Africa (SKISA), he trains a group of more than 30 children every Thursday at the Tongaat Town Hall, where Manabu held his seminars.

“As the president of KSA I am very optimistic about karate in our country because there is every possibility it will make the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which gives kids of today an Olympic dream to reach for,” said Pillay, who was recently presented with the Ammen Award for sporting excellence by the Mariammen Temple in Tongaat.

For those children with the dream of earning their black belts and representing South Africa in the Olympic Games, spending time with Murakami Manabu was an important first step in perfecting their karate skills.

Above all, what Manabu’s visit represents is how deeply immersed the small town of Tongaat is in the culture and spirit of karate.

“Karate is my lifeblood. It would be fair to say that I eat, sleep and dream karate and I was delighted that the Mariammen Temple committee recently honoured me with a special commendation as it inspires me to continue my work in the world of karate,” he added.

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