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Karate instructors empower communities in fight against crime

Karate-Zen pupils acquiring their orange belt after mastering their 10th self-defence move. SUPPLIED

Karate-Zen pupils acquiring their orange belt after mastering their 10th self-defence move. SUPPLIED

Published Jan 22, 2022

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Cape Town - In light of the surge in abductions and the high crime rate in communities, instructors at Karate-Zen kicked off the school year with an outdoor mass training seminar to give power back to the community.

With more than 140 registered black-belt holders, instructors at Karate-Zen lend their hands to strengthen core values among the youth in communities such as Kensington, Langa and Delft.

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Delft area co-ordinator Sensei Romeo Jury said that the aim of the outdoor mass training seminar was to make communities aware of the several benefits of joining a dojo club and the impact it would have on one's life.

"Karate has a huge impact on people's lives. Protecting yourself is important in today's world, especially in light of gender-based violence (GBV). Karate helps with your physical lifestyle, health, respect and discipline.

"Nowadays, it is critical that children look out for themselves as parents are not always present. Many pupils who joined us were either bullied or bullies themselves. However, karate had a huge impact on their lives, and many parents were happy that their children's lives had taken a whole 360-degree turnaround," said Jury.

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Salaama Rhoda, a parent of karate athletes and the Western Cape provincial head coach, said that given the pandemic, karate lessons provided her children with the opportunity to not only be active, but also engage in meaningful activities.

"Due to Covid-19, children have become extremely inactive and bored, and some suffer from depression due to the various challenges they face at home and school.

"The training seminar was held to tackle these situations head-on because it afforded my children the opportunity to engage and interact verbally and physically with others within the framework of the programme," said Salaama.

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Yakeen Rhoda, who is a purple-belt holder, said that karate helped him become mentally stronger and helped him tackle all the obstacles he faced and is yet to face.

“I think it’s important for children to learn self-defence and gain confidence, especially with the bullying at schools. It helped to discipline me and it helped me to focus on completing tasks without doubting myself, because I was disciplined,” said Yakeen.

With karate catering to both adults and children, Jury added that attending karate classes as a family adds more value.

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“The seminar brought communities together and allowed interaction with one another through team building, sharing our knowledge, etc.”

“The dojo club shows the community that life is about making choices and the time is now to make a change with yourself and follow the right paths to not only a better lifestyle through sport, but also defend yourself in unforeseen circumstances,” said Jury.

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