Kicking open doors of opportunity

2019-06-25 06:01
Junior students in action during their grading at the school.

Junior students in action during their grading at the school.

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A karate school in Mowbray made history as 20 of their members graded to black belts at the school on Saturday 15 June.

Goju Kai Hombu Dojo Karate School teenagers between the ages of 12 and 16, as well as adults graded together with two senior students achieving their third Dan grading and in doing so, obtained their international teacher’s licence.

The karate school commemorated 50 years of teaching karate in the townships of Cape Town and for them, having dozens grade was an unexplainable moment.

Started by Peter Brandon Hanshi in Nyanga in 1968, the school has members from many townships including Khayelitsha, Crossroads and Langa, among many others.

Peter, assisted by his son Frank Brandon Shihan, continue to develop and grow the art of karate in the townships and throughout South Africa.

Goju Kai is one of the oldest traditional karate styles in the world with members throughout 72 countries. Goju Kai is supported by African Warriors of Light, a non-profit organisation that was formed to help their less fortunate members.

“This initiative started 50 years ago with African Warriors of Light taking many members from our townships to world tournaments and cultural exchanges throughout Europe and Japan and in turn changing the lives of many,” says Frank.

These newly graded black belts, with the assistance of African Warriors of Light, will have the opportunity to travel to Switzerland and Holland in July next year to train with the head of Switzerland, Horst Baumgartel, and head of Holland, shihan Jan van den Dries, along with all their junior and senior students.

With sensei Buntu Mpetsheni at the helm as the technical director of Goju Kai within the townships, Frank says a lot of doors have opened for the members.

“Buntu is one person that pushes the members to go forward and enter a lot of competitions. He even goes further to push for bursaries to ensure that the members get help,” he says.

Mpetsheni has recently returned from Japan, having graded to fifth Dan and attended the famous Warrior Week held in the Mitake Mountains outside Tokyo where he was exposed to intense training in temperatures below zero degrees.

Peter and Frank are committed to changing the lives of as many young people in the township, through training and travel.

“We believe that through travelling to different countries and experiencing different cultures culminates in opening the minds and hearts of our youth to realise opportunities they may not have thought possible.

“Even when they come for training at the studios, they learn a lot from each other because they all go beyond culture, race and religion.”

He continues: “By mixing with other people it really gives them a better perspective in life.”

Frank adds that these children and the youth in the townships need to be recognised because once they are recognised they can do so much more.

“By them doing better, it gives hope to other kids coming up to see what they have done and they can follow suit. We have a fantastic support structure – we take these kids out to Europe, Japan every year,” he says.

V For more information call 083 290 7327.

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