Karate keeps her on the right track

2017-08-08 06:00
Kaylin Stubbs hopes to add more awards to her already impressive collection when she heads off to Mauritius for an international karate competition later this month. PHOTO: Samantha Lee

Kaylin Stubbs hopes to add more awards to her already impressive collection when she heads off to Mauritius for an international karate competition later this month. PHOTO: Samantha Lee

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She has been kicking and punching her way to the top for the past 12 years, and it is paying off with a chance at international gold.

Kaylin Stubbs from Rocklands is well on her way to fight in an international karate competition set to be held in Mauritius later this month.

The 20-year-old black belt has been at it since 2006.

“As a child I was always very active and playful and my parents decided to enrol me in karate,” says Stubbs.

But her mother Elmarietta says it actually stems from an interest in a well-known ­actor.

“When she was about three years old, she said she wanted to be like Jackie Chan. And when she was five years old I asked her if she really wanted to do karate and that is when we introduced her to karate,” her mother says.

Kaylin won a variety of awards in the following 12 years, including Western Province and Western Cape champion as well as South African champion. But her biggest challenge is yet to come as her first international competition nears.

Another standout for Stubbs so far is being named sportswoman of the year at her dojo at a young age a few years ago.

A student at Trevor’s Kyokushin School of Karate based in Westridge, Stubbs has been training hard to reach her goals.

“I achieved my black belt in 2013 at the age of 16 and that was something I really wanted and it took me a long time. The journey has been tough and many times I thought of quitting. It takes a lot, physically, and you also have to be very strong-willed to do karate,” she says.

But her resilience has seen her tough it out, adding the sport is not only about ­fighting.

“The lessons I have learned through karate is not only how to fight and defend myself but also lessons [such as discipline] that I can apply in the real world. These skills are valuable and I cannot repay my sensei and coaches for this,” she says.

Training and long hours of fighting to improve have given her more than just life skills.

“What kept me most interested all this time is that at the level I am now, as a senior at the dojo, it is my time to give back. Just as my sensei spent all his time investing in me, it is my time to give back and invest time in the new members joining in karate,” she says. “That keeps me there. It isn’t just about winning trophies and travelling to places, it is more about how I can help someone else, by teaching them karate.”

Stubbs is one of three heading off to represent their dojo at a competition in Mauritius on Wednesday 16 August.

“It’s a world tournament so we will be competing against people from all over the world,” says Stubbs.

“I am very nervous about the trip because I don’t know what is waiting for me there. This is the first time I am travelling for a karate tournament but I am looking forward to the experience.”

She participates mainly in full-contact karate and qualified through a variety of local tournaments last year.

“I train six days a week and training has been a big part of keeping me away from negative elements and off the streets away from drugs and gangsterism. Karate keeps me on the straight and narrow,” she says.

She says karate and other sports are some of the best outlets for youth.

“The discipline that any sporting code can teach you should be enough to motivate people to join. If you are on the streets [engaging in negative activities], join a sporting code and it will change your life. Not only physically but also mentally,” says Stubbs.

“You will find that you grow more as a person, mature more in a lot of aspects not only in your sporting code but in life as well.”

She attributes her success to the support of her parents Russel and Elmarietta and her karate instructor Trevor.

“I just want to say a big thank you to my sensei for all the effort he puts into us. Not only at the dojo, but outside as well. If it was not for him, I don’t know where I would have been today. He shows interest in all his students individually and that is a big part of where I am today.”

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