Shodan- Ho (2)
Rei de Haijimari, Rei de Owari
Success the Reward of the Few
Karate and Fasting
Training in South Africa during the Apartheid Era
Do Instructors Ignore the Needs of their Female Students?
I have been a brown belt [1st kyu] for 2 years now and should probably have gone for my Shodan-Ho grading before the Training Camp. Well, some months before grading time grew near my name was mentioned. As time went on, one day my name was mentioned for grading and the next day not. I guess I just took things in my stride. It was asked of us [potential black belts] to come to extra classes on a Tuesday and Thursday evenings in preparation for our grading.
These classes were exciting and challenging. They were mainly aimed at doing katas in application and I think that it was in these classes that we learnt the true meaning of kata applications because we really built up some sweat.
About 3 weeks before the grading I walked into Kaicho's house where he was busy with the student handbook. When all of a sudden he made some adjustments on the computer. As I was standing by, watching what he was doing, I noticed on the list of Black Belters my name was excluded and at that moment he put it in. So in my mind the question arose that did he really forget or was it convenient just to remember as I came in. I know that in many ways I am hopeless and will never reach the capabilities of Sensei Bertha, Kohai Moira or even Senpai Saaida, but I sometimes try hard not to be lethargic and incompetent. If Kaicho thought that I was not fit to grade, I expected him to tell me. But he obviously kept quiet and I continued training for the gasshuku, at which we were to be graded.
The weekend of the 6,7,8, September 1996 finally came, when everyone was allocated to a cabin, I was appointed as a cabin leader. It was my first time being a cabin leader and there were a few new faces, so we all had to blend in. The first training session that night was quite basic but gave us all time to come out and to see all the new and old faces. That night in the cabin I felt strange, probably because I had to see to everyone's sleeping arrangements and with every knock at the door I had to be up, well lucky for me, I was alert enough to hear the morning wake-up call.
The breakfast on this camp was good. The Jungle Oats actually tested like Jungle Oats. The training with the Japanese instructors (Saiko Shihan Goshi Yamaguchi and Shihan's Futawatari and Yamaguchi of the Goju Kai) was once again good exposure for us, but was nothing extra- ordinary. I think we impressed them because we came from a Camp where it was pouring "Cats and Dogs" to train with them - I'm sure that they saw that we had good spirit.
When we arrived back at the camp, Yazeed (my Dohai) and I were fortunate enough to sit in one of the black belts talks. I felt a bit out of place and intimidated, I suppose. But it was good to know that behind the "monsters" who will grade us, they are human being.
The brown belts going for Shodan-Ho were told that at 6 pm they will have part of their grading. Well at 6 pm the black belts were still in their meeting. This continued till 9:15 pm. Through this time I think we were all panicking and the waiting was unbearable. I thought that this was part of their plan to unnerve us. All they wanted to do through the whole camp was to demoralise us and break out spirits. Well they were doing a good job. I know that they would either kill me on this camp or else I would survive and be stronger in character at the end of Sunday.
The best thing was that all the people in my cabin were so concerned about my grading and wanted to come see us grade (to which I objected too). Doing our katas in the air and in application was not that bad. It was like we did it on Tuesday and Thursday but just with a bit more pressure on us all. After the training session my room mates were quite stunned/shocked and were quiet all the evening. They did not ask so much questions as they did before the training.
Sunday morning beach training was challenging and fun. It reminded me of my first gasshuku I attended and the seniors did this sort of training, and now I was at their level. Being in a wet gi all morning made me feel miserable. The fighting and katas we did were OK, yet painful. While we were sitting in the rain, waiting for the YudanshaKai's decision on if we passed or failed, I really expected them to say that we will be continuously assessed for the next few weeks and then they will decide. I did not expect us to get our belts there and then.
When Senpai Moeti tied the belt around me, I smiled and felt relieved, but I then thought back to my Uncle who would always say that I was favoured in all my endeavours in life (despite the fact that I have worked hard for all that I have today). I knew that he was always pulling my leg, but if he was standing there that day he would be correct in saying that I was favoured.
I know that I have worked hard to be a Black Belt but part of me cannot stop thinking that it was just given to me.
I think that the concept of Senpai Aysha only sank in at home the next morning, because at 6a.m. everyone was addressing me as Senpai Aysha. This felt odd.
I thought that it would be a normal day at the dojo and that I could train in my tracksuit seeing that my gi was still wet. I guess Kaicho(Hoosain) was too ecstatic to leave his new black belts alone. He insisted that I wear one of his gi's and he gave me another black belt. Too much emphasis was put on the "new black belts".
One comforting thing was that when I was in class, Jessica (room mate) tried to get my attention to say hello. This meant that some link was made on this camp because before, she was all to herself, so now there is room for greater improvement as far as friendship is concerned.
In that class, Kaicho spoke about what lies ahead of us as New black belts, and that now only were we real students on "the path". He reminded us too that as Senpai we now had the additional responsibility of being "driving rods" in the dojo and to push and motivate the lower ranked students.
I am partially proud on attaining my Shodan-Ho black belt level, but much needs to be done to attain Shodan level(black belt). So instead of focussing on all the obstacles in my way, I should focus on my goal. I know that I will never come anywhere close to my role model, who used to be in the dojo but I think by learning one thing at a time and just taking things one day at a time, I will improve.
People do karate for different reasons, but I only did it as a sport and now it became part of me. As the years have gone by, I have seen that Instructors give belts for many different reasons. If you work for your belt then you deserve it, then no one can say or do anything about it. To me a belt is there just to close your jacket and people should look at the person behind the belt. My grading was going on for a year. It was tough, but I still came back for more. I was excited before everything started and knew if I should get this belt that a lot of responsibilities will be on me.
That Wednesday night I started with fighting they gave me the lower ranks just to make me tired. By the time I got to the seniors I couldnít lift my legs. That was only the fighting I didnít even reach the kataís. I did my fighting in tears and already knew what the decision was going to be. They then told me to come back in two weeks time. That night I thought that it was the dumbest thing to grade alone, but there was no turning back. I then tried my best to train for that two weeks. That night there were only seniors and then I did fighting and kataís then the story was the same again. What I didnít like about that night was when Dai-Senpai asked Senpai Granwell if he donít see 10 movements that is wrong I will then fail automatically.
I was upset and really thought that this man was trying to be funny. Then I just gave up hope. I went home and just cried as I didnít know what to do. After that the test went on to the following year and it was going to take place in June. Again I was not successful. They gave me reasons why I didnít get my belt. I was told that I didnít improve on my blocks and throwing, but there was also one that I didnít understand, which I was only told one Saturday night in Johannesburg on the 28/07/96. Two weeks before the Spring camp they said I should grade again. I then trained with the other six who was going to be graded at the camp.
The night of the test I did my katas in application. My belt then was given to me, but only after all the students were asked as to what they think. At first I was not pleased to hear it because I remembered words that week-end. I just wished that I could have been part of that six black belts who graded at the Spring camp. The grading was off well, because they had each other to push on and to keep the spirit up, and they had unity amongst them. Now the game has only started for me, which we call the first step. Now a person must be able to see the different between the black belts and the normal student. The moment I received my belt. I did not know how to feel. I waited so long and I really do not know if I received it, but I know I have worked for it. It was the best thing that happened, but also sad, a lot of things was running through my mind. I know that I do not have the best of the technique, but I can strive to have it. To be a black belt one should have leadership and should be able to be in control at any given time.
We hope that the following points will give the student an insight into the rituals, etc. of Ashihara Karate so as to obtain a better understanding.
Your training at the dojo is partly steeped in tradition and ritual and some of our customs may be subject to misinterpretation. Confusion sometimes arises over the significance of the Shin Zen (Shinden) and the purpose of bowing and kneeling.
The Shin Zen has absolutely no religious meeting, but merely serves as the ceremonial centre of the dojo. As you know, respect is a cornerstone of not only Ashihara Karate, but all other Martial Arts. Respect for the dojo, instructors, fellow students, and most important of all yourself. Bowing is a gesture which serves as an external manifestation of this respect. When we bow to the dojo, we need a symbolic centre to which we direct this gesture of respect and appreciation. The Shin Zen serves this purpose by representing the symbolic centre of the dojo's total essence. This is the Shin Zen's sole significance.
Bowing, as mentioned above is external manifestation of respect. It connotes appreciation and courtesy and in no way is associated with an attitude of subservience. Instructors bow to Juniors as well as Students to Instructors, and Seniors bow to Juniors as well as Juniors to Seniors. Respect and appreciation flows both ways.
Kneeling down to meditate and to begin and end each class is sometimes also misunderstood. The very idea of kneeling or dropping to one's knees is often thought of as a gesture of subservience. It is important to realise that in the Japanese society, as in other Oriental Societies, kneeling is merely a common way of sitting. People kneel to eat, converse and carry on many normal activities. To kneel down is in oriental parlance, to sit down. However, if any student do find this position objectionable, they are welcome to sit with their legs crossed.
Ashihara Karate seeks neither to support or interfere with a student's practice of his or her religious faith. Ashihara's goals are the attainment of a strong mind and body and the integration of the two. Osu!
The pathway to success as a Martial Arts exponent, or indeed in life itself, is fraught with difficulty, hardship and pain.
Success, even when achieved is never final. The rower rowing a boat upstream knows if he stops rowing, his boat will be carried back downstream. Thus the effort is consistent with progress achieved.
As a Martial Arts exponent seeking perfection it is necessary first of all to define your objective in the clearest way, secondly to plan how you anticipate achieving this objective and lastly to want to achieve the objective. Do not underestimate this third step for without a very strong desire for success you have no chance at all. When the going becomes difficult you will find any number of reasons to slacken off. Tell yourself how much you want success and keep telling yourself - do not deviate for a moment.
If your aim is to achieve a Black Belt or to become a successful fighter - Provincial Champion, National Champion or even World Champion you will need to develop:
1. A disciplined mind is able to remain calm and functional under extreme duress.
2. Exceptional physical fitness.
3. Above average speed. 4. Adequate physical strength.
5. Flexibility of mind and body.
6. Understanding and mastery of a variety of techniques.
7. An outstanding defensive capability.
8. Absolute control of breathing and the use of ki (ki is the power derived from Seika Tanden, the area slightly below the navel).
Let us consider these requirements.
1. The disciplined mind. The mind controls the fight, for fighting is as much a mind game as a physical battle. Temper the mind with your physical training. As you become tired, develop the ability to detach your mind from the fatigue and pain. When you achieve this ability couple it with strategy for strategists throughout the ages have proved that even supposedly inferior forces can beat superior forces with use of correct strategy.
2-5. Fitness, speed, strength, flexibility. You will be conditioned during your classes at the dojo, but whether you attain the degree of excellence required to become a champion will depend on your putting in long and regular hours of additional training. Regular training is the key - one hour per day for six days a week will give better results than six hours once a week.
6. Understanding and mastering. Understanding is the key to mastery of technique. Without understanding your technique will at best be mechanical. With understanding flow and ease of application will open the door to exciting combinations, opportunities and victories.
7. Defence. Mastery of defence and blocking techniques are a prerequisite for the successful fighter. Not only are you able to prevent unnecessary injury, but you will become proficient in using blocks to set your opponent up for your counter attack. Regrettably, few martial arts exponents pay sufficient attention to this most important facet of their training. Sooner or later one will come up against a physically stronger opponent. You will then have to rely on your blocking and counter attack capability for success.
8. Controlled breathing limits fatigue and infuses strength and courage into your fighting. It is part of the ideal of Seika Tanden from which all action should emanate: Practice constantly.
A positive manner is not just something with which you are born. It is a process that requires a certain amount of work to start and to keep it going. You have often heard, I'm sure, the phrase "YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT" and this is perfectly true. But perhaps even more important, "You are what you think!"
Thoughts lead to action Action repeated leads to habits and Your habits create your destiny.
You become what you think, so if your vocabulary consists of phrases such as I CAN'T, I'M NOT AS GOOD AS, I'M TOO STIFF, TOO OLD, TOO SMALL, NOT CLEVER ENOUGH or NOT FAST ENOUGH, it's not your limitation that is holding you back, but your NEGATIVE THINKING!
It's your attitude that's letting you down and, WHO creates that attitude, YOU DO! So, you are the only one who can change it. The first thing you need to know (and I'm not saying it's easy, but it is easier than you think) is to eliminate all those negative words and phrases from your vocabulary, but most important, from your thoughts. So instead of thinking "I CAN'T", change it to "I CAN IF I WANT TO". Stop apologising for being yourself. You have the same right to "BE" as anyone else, and the same right to reach your full potential.
Don't cramp your own style, be positive about yourself and you will soon see that others will begin to be positive about you too! Performance both in Karate(Budo) and outside the Dojo (Dojang/Kwoon) will improve, because a positive attitude breeds positive results. Don't believe me, try it for yourself and see. REMEMBER: "Argue for your limitations and sure enough they are yours". Life is a self fulfilling prophecy. Make yours a POSITIVE one!
The following is an article taken from the Cyber Dojo in response to a question by Sensei Jay Collins.
To those who might not be aware of it, the Muslim community has just ended its period of fasting. There are those of other faiths (the Baha'i's, for example) who also have prescribed periods of fasting, and others who may also do it as part of their spiritual development. Has this element appeared anywhere as part of MA training? How do those CD'ers who fast combine this this with their training? What do you find are the benefits? Any hints?
I will try to give my impressions about the effect of fasting and training for the benefit of the CD. This is my personal experiences and might be a little biased to myself. I am also posting this message to the CD if you don't mind.
The following quote I received from William Hitchcock who responded with kind words to my posting regarding Eid Mubarak and my response to him.
"I believe that a person must be spiritual to be a complete person. We are encouraged to talk about religion in the dojo (not during class but when there is time for small talk). It is important for personal growth. "
I would agree with you. This month (Ramadan) is a fine example of that completeness. Fast starts at Sunrise (about 4.30am) and ends at Sunset (about 8.00pm). Kindly note that this is for S.A. and that it varies all over the world. For the past month my program has been - get up at 3.30am for a light snack and Fajr (first prayer), then off at 8.00am to help my brother in his business. Back by 2.00pm - then did some admin work- then off to the dojo at 4.30 cycling 4km there. One hour of weight training and then teach/train until 7.30pm. Leave the dojo at about 7.45pm and arrive home for Maghrib (4th prayer at Sunset) and breaking of the fast. At 9.00pm to Mosque (church) for Eshai (last prayer of five) and Tarawih (Ramadan prayer) - mosque finishes at 10.30pm. Get to bed between that time and 12 midnight. I usually used that time to surf the Net or worked on updating my site!
This meant that most times I was a zombie but the one thing that I actually enjoyed was that I could train really hard even though I was fasting. Cycling back from the dojo was very tough because by then my legs were just dead.....! It seemed to as the wind was forever testing me, blowing against me on the way home and I really had to pedal hard - specifically also to be at home in time for breaking of the fast.
It is amazing how one can do this and be able to survive. It just shows what you can do but it takes something like Ramadan ( or something similar) to show you your capabilities.
During Ramadan, more so than other times, we are encouraged to read the Quran and spend time in reflection and to do good. By fasting for this period we learn to appreciate the many people who have to go without food throughout the world and how fortunate we are. We must also mind our speech, and so many other things which normally you would not do. I've found that coupled with Religion, Karate has been so much more rewarding. The feeling that I get is like "Satori"- Enlightenment.
Having done some nutrition courses, I've learned about the value and importance of fluid replenishment. I am constantly amazed at how hard I could train without having to quench my thirst. Some of my Exercise Teacher colleagues could not understand this - "you know you cannot do that" they say. Many of my Muslim students also trained very hard this past month, so I cannot claim that only I could do it. Naturally, by the time I have to break my fast - then in that first 15 minutes or so I finish a 1,5L of Coke (yes, Coke is it! - it does wonders for the replacement of electrolytes - but it does give the odd cramp if consumed too fast on an empty stomach).
Japanese Budo has the "Shugyo"- or Austere Training. To me this was a good example of pushing oneself - whilst it may be far from Shugyo - it was "Osu No Seishin".
What was also good to me was that this month was one of the few times when I spent the whole month at home. Most months I'm travelling or visiting affiliated dojo in S.A. and other countries teaching karate or in my capacity as an Sports Administrator. This means that my training is not that controlled, because I'm teaching more than training.
Coupled with the fast, I've not only lost a few kilo's of "fat" but I also pushed my fitness level up considerably. I also worked on the Makiwara a lot. Some of my students "chastised" me as I said that during Ramadan we would have light training only. I kinda forgot that..... :-)
I spent six days a week following this program. Only twice did I have no energy to train. The one time was on Lailatul Qadr (the 27th Night of the fast - also known as "The Night of Power") when I stayed in Mosque from Tarawih until nearly Sunrise (for a special program). That evening I was dead and I just went to the dojo and supervised training. The next day I was fine again. The other time was when I had to get some work done and I worked throughout the night. If I look at the reason why - I can attribute it to lack of sleep mostly and also lack of energy - carbohydrates. During fasting your stomach shrinks so you can get by with less food and you eat considerably less which means that you have less energy resources.
What was pleasing is that in February our normal class schedule resumes and those that did not train in January will be way behind...... and will feel it!
Earlier I mentioned spending time in reflection. The art of honest self-analysis is a excellent weapon. The period of meditation which follows training (or any time put aside for it) is an excellent time to reflect on your performance. Analyse your attitude honestly for just one training session and see how much you do not know! No one else is responsible for the quality of your training. You alone carry the responsibility of yourself.
Having established a attitude of "Each One Teach One" in the dojo - I am fortunate to be able to receive "Hihyo" - constructive criticism from my senior students. This keeps me on my toes as I do not have an instructor of my own. I could not tell my training partners that I could not give as much as they could because I was fasting. No, I had to give as much or more because that is the Way of Budo! Also because I must "Lead by Example". This has only strengthened my spirit!!!
I sincerely hope that I have been able to give some insight into what I have experienced this month. Although the fast has ended, I usually do another 6 days which is then equivalent to as if one has fasted for another 11 months.
Ramadan has come and gone. I will miss it. I just hope too that even though my normal teaching schedule now resumes, that I will still be able to maintain what I started on and to build on that. Osu!
Today I finished my last day of fasting. This past six days was more difficult than the whole month of Ramadan. Maybe because I'm the only one in the house that was fasting could have attributed to that. Not having the support of family members makes it even tougher. Having meals alone was not nice, therfore I realise that the Way of Budo is easier if one has the support of loved ones. This past six days reminded me of the Ramadan I spent in the USA(April/May 1988) - in cold conditions, very little Muslim friends, no proper food (the issue of Halaal), etc. Fortunately the discipline of karate helped and I could survive.
The following is an article which I submitted to the CyberDojo discussion group regarding a question asked by Rajeev Venogopal.
Firstly you will find a response to the article with the impressions of the reader.
You are invited to form your own opinion of the times then! Should you differ or have anything to add, do pass your comments!
From: Sara Aoyama <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thursday, October 22, 1998 12:44 PM
Subject: Your post on training in S. Africa
Dear Narker Sensei,
Thank you so much for the fascinating post today on the CD!! It is the most interesting thing I have read in a long time. Please continue to write more ... Surely I am not the only one hungry to read about MA history in other countries!
Again, thank you for taking the time to tell us all about it.
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 12:56:19 +0200
From: Hoosain Narker <email@example.com>
To: Cyber Dojo <KARATE@UKANS.EDU>
Subject: re: Digest 1791/ A Question for Hoosain?
I was wondering if you could educate us on a particular topic regarding your place of residence.
Since apartheid fell, has there been a movement of blacks towards martial arts? Was there a barrier (economic, social, political......) during the days of apartheid?
What kind of access problems do/did blacks in South Africa, to the best of your knowledge, face when and if interested in learning budo?
To answer your question, I'm giving a brief back ground into the state of affairs then.....
The history of karate/budo in South Africa has not been able to escape the effects of the Apartheid system which has brought about severe imbalance and disparities amongst the underprivileged karate practitioners in this country.
Martial Arts was linked to politics in the way that practically all existing organisations had to apply for a permit from the Minister of the Interior, so as to allow people from all the race groups to join and practise the arts at so called "white" schools as it was called then. The American Martial Arts Magazine, "Black Belt", in one of their early issues (Vol. 4, No. 5, May 1966) had an article covering this entitled "Karate Introduction In South Africa Scares The Minister Of The Interior". (He probably thought of the danger of karate as an offensive art falling into the wrong hands).
This permit system was due to the "Apartheid" system and
previously, several teams were picked for International matches, ie. S.A.
"White" team, S.A. "Black" team and S.A. "Indian" team. This led to South
Africa's expulsion from several International Sporting Organisations, ie.
International Olympic Committee, International Amateur Athletics Federation
as well as other
associations, also the World Union of Karate-Do Organisations, the Official World Governing Body. White owned clubs considered themselves as multi-racial and proudly they were when they had one or more members of other races training at their dojo.
Many of the non racial instructors had their origin in the larger clubs which was associated to "Establishment Sport". Dissatisfaction in the running of these Organisations and the many blatant racist practices forced these karate-ka to go on their own and operate in isolation without being affiliated to any National or International body.
Only gratitude can be expressed for this type of dedication which kept the spirit of karate alive in the "townships". This isolation resulted in a lack of external exposure causing a negative effect on development which influenced standards and a deprivation of International recognition. Many of these instructors and organisations have become stagnant, thus only being able to promote internally and developing amongst themselves at a rate which can only be measured by internal standards.
A small amount of instructors and organisations, despite being disadvantaged managed to gain an acceptable degree of autonomy and standard of performance. Since the late 80's many of these groups starting developing - some even only as recent as 1992. The catalyst for improvement and changes was the formation of the Karate Association of South Africa (KASA).
Then the following is excerpted from an Interview the Australian Martial Arts Directory had with me :
A.M.A.D. - Cape Town would have been a difficult place to grow up in the 70's. Could you tell us what role (if any) Apartheid played in your decision to pursue a career in the fighting arts ?
H.N. - I wouldn't really attribute my decision to make the Martial Way my career to "Apartheid". Cape Town, more than any other City in the country, was less rigid with its adherence of the application of Apartheid Policies. In the initial years it was OK in training. Fortunately I trained with "Non White" (as people were classified then) instructors, so we were not directly exposed to Apartheid in training that much. My instructor and other "Non Whites" could only train on Fridays and Sundays at the "White" owned dojo's as the laws did not allow mixing of races.
Around the time when I started, teams were still selected from the various colour groups - rather than one national side. When I started training at the Kyokushin Headquarters, Multi Racial training was then allowed under a blanket permit which allowed other races to train openly at "white" owned dojo's. Training was good, but I can distinctively remember the few Non whites being excused after normal class ended, the curtains drawn and the "whites" only received extra training where they were taught kata, etc.
Because we did not know the advanced kata which was not taught in normal classes, we could not progress. My former Dohai (Training Partner) -William Quantoi, was a brown belt for more than six years, he started training in 1969 and only obtained Shodan in 1981. In fact, for example, he was already a brown belt when Kenny Uytenbogaardt (now 6th Dan) was still a blue belt, but because of racial differences, Kenny Uytenbogaardt received his 4th Dan in 1981.......... now tell me, does that not sound like blatant racism ?
Even when I went to University, I had to get a permit, as I was classified "Indian", and as the University was technically for "Coloureds" only. It is obstacles like that and many others that forged my character. I am thankful for being exposed to some of those disadvantages.
Now coming back to your questions..........
Since apartheid fell, has there been a movement of blacks towards martial arts? Was there a barrier (economic, social, political......) during the days of apartheid?
Not really, people non - whites (Blacks, Coloureds & Indians as we were classified then) generally took to sport. The system made it difficult though to continue. One must remember that most of the dojo and facilities were in the historically "advantaged" areas, ie. due to the Group Area Act, certain areas were designated for each racial group - a type of curfew was in place where you could not be in another groups area, etc.
Now, just looking at myself - When I started training at the Kyokushin HQ, I had to take a train at 4.00pm and then a bus to get to training which started at 6.00pm. Training would finish at 8.00pm and I would get home around 10.00pm. I was still fortunate - that I lived close to the Railway line - others in the "townships" or certain areas where public transport was not so good - had greater difficulty.
Other obstacles included - the fee structure - in South Africa at that time, one's salary was determined by your colour, ie. a white school teacher got four times as much as a black, maybe three times more than the coloured and twice as much as the Indian - then if they were teaching in another group area, they also received a travelling allowance as well as "danger pay" - that is for venturing into another group area - there was so much of unfairness built into the system that it will still take us years to eradicate. This meant that non whites could not really afford luxuries, and training karate was then a luxury.
Other barriers included not being able to travel with the team or celebrating with the team if they won, you could not go into the same pub or play or train on the same beach, when national colours were issued - the infamous "Springbok" - this was reserved for whites only and other races got the Protea. Today I am the proud holder of the very same Protea colours............:-) - now the official emblem of the National sporting fraterntiy The Springbok was kicked out because of its racists connotation, although Rugby was granted permission to still use it for a while.
The list of barriers or obstacles are so great, I will just leave it here - hopefully the above should have given you an idea?
What kind of access problems do/did blacks in South Africa, to the best of your knowledge, face when and if interested in learning budo?
Some of the aspects above can also be given here. Most times, training was in places that civilised people would hesitate to train in. Dojo like the Masters of old had in Okinawa is the norm here - training outdoors irrespect of the weather due to lack of facilities.
In that regard, I'm spoilt, my main dojo is nicely matted - when I visit dojo in Rural areas the contrast is so stark - that many times I cannot believe that we are nearly in the year 2000.
Today there are more qualified instructors amongst the "non-white" groups - at least training now is of a higher standard - not only that, many instructors have been taught proper methodology, so at least the training offered is of a safer and scientific nature.
Much can still be done w.r.t. facilities - but with the change of government, new structures like Multi-purpose halls are being built in areas that never had them before. This means that within the next few years, dojo will be run from those centre's.
W.r.t. joining Martial Arts schools today - there are virtually no obstructions in anyone's way. Classes are offered in most corners of the country. Karate is the most widely practised art, and its infra-structure is great compared to the other arts.
By using modern tools such as telephone, fax and even
now the internet, dojo's can stay up to date. If I look at my own organisation,
before many of our representatives did not even have their own phone and
had to call me from pay phones to get up to date news other than the normal
circulars by post. Many of them now has access to fax machines at work
or by a friend,
etc. and some even has access to Internet. This means that we can be in touch instantly!
Hope I have been of help. My apologies for the length of this post.
INSTRUCTORS IGNORE NEEDS OF THEIR FEMALE STUDENTS?
By Donnie Marx
Every training hall is full of men with only a few ladies amongst the lower grades, so obviously instructors tend to teach fighting methods aimed at the needs of their male students. This creates a dangerous sense of security amongst female martial artists. More applicable training is required to help those who need it the most-the average female student who has to live under the constant threat of rape and sexual harassment from people close to her.
Rape can be divided into two main groups: rapes committed by unknown attackers and rapes committed by an attacker known to the victim. The cases of non-violent rape from a known attacker could virtually be eliminated if all the victims studied the martial arts.
In many rape cases the victim knows the rapist before the rape takes place. This would include family rape, rape by a friend of the family, date rape etc. Society does not seem very sympathetic to victims of this kind of rape and these cases are seldom reported. The criminals stay free and rape again and again, often abusing the same victim over a period of years.
Instructors must be aware that this field of self defence training is a little more complicated than just punching and kicking. Students must be taught to make the correct decision, quickly. They must be given the correct training to handle this specific crime.
Imagine your 16 year-old female student breaking her 70- year-old grandfathers nose with that perfect punch and then finishing him off with a jumping spinning kick. No matter that he deserves it, she would not do it and if she did, she would have endless problems with her family thereafter.
The actions are to obviously violent and a better course of action would be to bite effectively.(soft parts of the body with a tearing motion.) Let the old goat try and explain that one! Victims must be alert to any escalation in the level of violence and stay ready to change tactics, but an over-amorous drunken boyfriend can be brought back to earth with a solid slap on the ear. Teach students an open handed slap to the ear with the hand slightly cupped. Work parties lead to a lot of rapes, especially when there is a lot of drinking. It may not be very prudent for a secretary to put her boss into hospital for a couple of months when she could just apply an immobilising locking choke and turn the situation into a joke. After all, she will still need a job on Monday morning.
Not just the attacker and the victim are involved when it comes to family or friends of the family. The victim must realise that she may never be able to discuss the incident with anyone and will have to face her attacker on a regular basis. In a case like this, a clear superiority must be won by the victim: a really painful lock will do wonders to shift the balance of power.
The degree of consent must also be considered. A date invited in for coffee can be a problem if there has been a form of consent that could be interpreted as an invitation to intimacy. It is then important for the victim to send a very clear message. The message must convey categorically that the attacker is not welcome and could very easily get hurt. The student must be taught to fight effectively while on her back and trapped. With training this can be made to look effortless.
Trying to throw punches when you are being pinned down on a couch is not very effective, and a good grappling knowledge is required. Do not expect a student to be able to throw a groin kick just because it is easy- it must be practised.
An entire area of self defence with minimal violence exist, which is seldom addressed by martial arts instructors. Maybe a little correct training can prevent a lot of heart ache and even the male students will have fun training.
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Updated by Hoosain Narker