Karate, a growing Pietermaritzburg sport

2015-10-14 06:00
PHOTO: supplied 

Shihan Elvis Soobramony (front, left), Shihan Ndlovu (front right) and trainer Sensei Lisa-Marie David (middle row, right).

PHOTO: supplied Shihan Elvis Soobramony (front, left), Shihan Ndlovu (front right) and trainer Sensei Lisa-Marie David (middle row, right).

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KARATE is a growing sport in Pietermaritzburg and Shihan Elvis Soobramony is one of a few karateka who teach this ancient sporting discipline.

Soobramony began training in Kyokushinkai-Kan karate when he was nine. He received his first Dan black belt at the age of 21 from Master Oyama­.

He achieved his second Dan at the age of 24, his third Dan in 1987 and in 1991 his fourth Dan. He was awarded his fifth Dan in 2015 through the Akira Masuda Organisation and as a result, was promoted from Sensei to Shihan.

“I decided to learn martial arts at a young age. When I was a young boy living in Chatsworth, I was attacked by some boys on my way from school so I had to learn how to defend myself,” he said.

Soobramony fought in numerous karate tournaments, including the Bloody Ring tournaments that used to be held in Curries Fountain. He began teaching karate when he attained his first Dan. He has taught karate in most parts of the province and locally did extensive training in Imbali, Woodlands and Northdale. At the time, the home base for the karate school was at Eddels Sports Club.

In 1981 Soobramony became a warrant officer with the Pietermaritzburg SAPS. He is based at the Loop Street police station and has just been promoted to Major.

He was a qualified carpenter before joining the SAPS.

“I trained a lot of children. Some of them are doctors and attorneys. I used to train them in the afternoon and on weekends. I would encourage young children to take up karate because it will teach discipline and self-defence.”

One of Soobramony’s students, Leshna Bunsee, said that karate has taught her how to defend herself.

“One day a thief tried to steal my phone from me and I was able to defend myself,” she said.

Soobramony is associated with Sensei Sipho Ndlovu, whose karate school is in Mayors Walk, and Sensei Sifiso Ndlovu, whose school is at Indumiso College in Imbali.

Ndlovu and Soobramony are members of the All World Kyokushinkai Karate Union.

“We do it for the love of the sport,” said Soobramony. Apart from Soobramony there are seven senseis who assist with the development and training of younger students.

Soobramony’s karate classes are at the Protea grounds every­ Wednesday from 5pm to 6.30pm.

The Indumiso College classes are from 5.30pm 6.30pm and the Mayors Walk Sports Centre classes are from Mondays to Thursdays from 5pm to 6.30pm

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