Saturday, 5 November 2011

My babies earn their stripes

This morning my older three kids graded in karate for the first time. They've been training at the local Okinawa Karate Dojo, which practices the Goju-ryu (hard-soft) style of Japanese karate, for the past three months. In addition to teaching at their dojo, their teacher sensei Reggie Lincoln, aged 72, has also been teaching karate at Robben Island thrice a week for about 20 years.

This harmless-looking fifth-dan, commands immense respect from his students, among whom are a few fierce and vicious-looking black-belts, who are the sempai's (seniors) of the school. (I must admit that I am so in awe of- and quite intimidated by the sempai's. I absolutely love watching them in action).

The morning started with one of the sempai's putting the children through a rigorous warm up and training routine. I was very interested to see how Shakeel (12) would do, since he had been complaining about being stiff and sore from cricket practice yesterday. But his discomfort did not show, as he performed his moves vigorously and powerfully as instructed.

Tharaa (9) was her usual graceful self. Play some classical music in the background, and her training moves could easily be mistaken for a very elegant dance recital.

I couldn't help but smile when watching Nuha. When the class punched left, she punched right. When the class moved in one direction, she moved in the other. It was as if someone was secretly whispering different instructions just for her to hear. However her coordination has improved tremendously since she started. She is now able to combine various blocks, kicks and punches in the correct sequences, which is major progress. Every now and then the sempai would interrupt class briefly saying, "Nuha, look at me" or "Nuha, look in front of you", as the child frequently lost interest in what the class was meant to be doing, and preferred rather to focus on her little sister's antics. I had to signal to her to concentrate quite a few times, as I did not want the intimidating sempai to think that I was distracting his class. But the sempai took Nuha's lack of concentration in his stride- thank heavens karate teaches patience.

Then it was time to grade. Just as my phone battery decided to die. But fortunately hubby was around with his phone and managed to capture the grading as best he could, with grumpy Aisha on his hip.

All three of them performed their kata's well and were awarded both green and red stripes. 

From left to right, Nuha, Tharaa and Shakeel with their sensei.


Room6OPS said...

Well Done Shakeel, Tharaa and Nuha and big pat on the back for the MOM! The Sensei looks real looks real good!!

themotherblogger said...

Thanks so much! I'm so proud of them. Yes, sensei is so passionate about teaching karate, and it shows in his relationship with his students. The kids are very fortunate to have him as their teacher