By Sama Lyne
SERIAN: Asahi Karate-do Club is promoting karate-do among students in rural schools by working closely with Youth and Sports Ministry and National Sports Council (Majlis Sukan Negara).Club president Hussin Osman revealed this at a karate-do exhibition and demonstration at SK Parun Suan on Thursday. The club also held a demonstration at St Dominic Pichin on Tuesday. “A pilot project is ongoing whereby a karate-do club is being set up in selected schools in Serian District,” Hussin said.
Adopted under this programme are primary schools St Dominic Pichin, St John Taee, SK Parun Suan, SK Lobang Batu, SK Jude Bunan Gega and SK Balai Ringin and secondary schools SMK Taee, SMK Tebakang and SMK Balai Ringin. Hussin revealed the club took part in a World Cup and Training Camp from July 19-26 where Malaysia beat Russia for the first time to emerge champions with 13 gold, 16 silver and 26 bronze medals against the Russians’ 13-10-7 haul.
Of Malaysia’s tally, Sarawak contributed one gold, two silver and two bronze medals. This was way behind other states like Sabah, Labuan, Penang and Selangor.
Asked why karate-do was going rural, Hussin said it was to give students there the opportunity to take up the sport. “The club wants to train up Olympic medallists and is starting with primary schools where seven-year-olds are targeted so that by the time they reach Form 6, they would be established in the sport.” According to him, beginners start with white belt progressing to yellow, orange, green, blue, purple, brown and finally, black.
The first Dan black belt is equivalent to a diploma, the third Dan, degree and the fourth Dan, masters. After the third Dan, an exponent has to pay royalty to the parent body, International Karate-do Club, headed by Tommy Morris and is allowed to teach karate anywhere in the world.
The minimum age to get a black belt is 15 years old. Hussin said instructors were sent to schools and students paid a nominal monthly subscription fee and got their uniforms at a subsidised price.
The club has an independent constitution, so it can send competitors direct to the World Cup since its president Hussin holds a fourth Dan black belt and is a member of International Karate-do Club. The club has participated in two World Cups held in Italy and Kuching.
During the last World Cup, Morris said he was very pleased with the club’s set-up and organising skills.
Asahi Karate-do Club Kuching was registered on February 21, 2007 and started with 20 members. Now, it has a membership of over 200 students holding various belts — two black belts, five first Dans and a second Dan held by petite Nur Farrah Ezzati of Chinese-Javanese parentage.
In the Asia Regional Tournament held in Sabah with 12 Asian countries taking part, the club was third overall with seven gold, six silver and eight bronze medals. In its first World Cup in Verona, Italy, the club sent 16 athletes and took home four bronze medals through Ashli Harris, Tsai Soon Chen, David Kuek and Idris Hussin. A second foray into the World Cup in Kuching this year saw the club increase its medal tally to one gold, two silver and two bronze medals. The gold were delivered by Tsai, silver by Idris and Fung Chik Kong and bronze by Ilyes and Allan Kong.
The club is preparing for the next World Cup in Egypt next year. On why most parents did not approve of their children taking up karate-do, Hussin said probably they thought it was a dangerous sport. “However, karate-do is not just about breaking bricks and tiles and delivering flying kicks. It’s a reputable sport, a form of self-defence that teaches one to confront danger, besides imparting discipline and self-confidence. “It is actually a safe sport as students are taught to be careful not to injure each other and 15-year-olds must wear protective gear like shin guards, gloves, face masks and vests,” he said.