Karate school celebrates 50 years

2018-01-23 06:00
Karate students were awarded during the 50th anniversary of the Goju Kai Hombu Dojo on Monday 15 January.

Karate students were awarded during the 50th anniversary of the Goju Kai Hombu Dojo on Monday 15 January.

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Mowbray-based karate school, Goju Kai Hombu Dojo, celebrated its 50th anniversary as it reopened the Nyanga Goju Kai Dojo in the Zolani Centre for 2018.

They were joined by the longest-standing students and highly respected veterans of the Nyanga community, namely Michael Nomjila, Amos Ragha and Eric Monco. During the celebration, the three were presented with lifelong achievement awards from ­Japan. According to their instructor, Frank Brandon, the three also received the honorary rank of Third Dan and the title of Sensei from Goshi Yamaguchi of Japan, the president of the world body, in recognition of their dedication and commitment to the art of Goju Kai during the harsh apartheid era in South Africa .

Two other veterans, Sony Sompeta and Samuel Sompeta, were also present and were awarded honorary black belts.

Christopher Nomjila (son of Michael Nomjila, who passed his black belt in the 1980s) was also present.

Receiving the awards, the veterans spoke about the times during the 1970s and 80s when this sport was introduced in Nyanga, highlighting the bravery of the founder of the academy, Peter Brandon. “Peter was often taken into custody by the police for teaching in the township, but that never stopped him from teaching his students. His bond with and love for the people of Nyanga is heartwarming,” Christopher says.

The younger students of this 50-year-old dojo were also recognised when they received their grading certificates and joined in the celebrations.

Brandon says that by reopening their doors in Nyanga, they aim to fulfil their mandate to develop the human spirit within the youth using karate as a vehicle, and in this way contribute to a nation full of vision, energy and hope where individuals can believe that opportunities exist if they work hard. He says the township has a beautiful history that needs to be commemorated in different ways, including inspiring youngsters to do better. He says karate instils discipline and promotes unity as learners understand that they need one another to achieve good results and be better in this sport.

“Goju Kai has a magic you cannot put into words. It is a magic that you will experience when you see children’s lives been altered and friendships forming that last a lifetime.

“In our post-apartheid South Africa, there are so many proverbial bridges that need to be built and still many more that need to be crossed before an equitable society is established. Goju Kai karate can and will make a difference,” he says.

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