Skai Senior Black Belt Grading

The successful Karateka at the Shotokan Karate Academy International (SKAI) National Senior Black Belt Grading held 17 November 2018 were honoured at an illustrious ceremony on Friday 5 April at the Dome in Swakopmund.

As this was the National Senior Black Belt Grading, the emphazise of this grading was on the senior karateka striving to obtain from 2nd degree black belts and higher.
All Karateka that graded had to submit theoretical papers on various subjects ranging from basic fighting concepts to in some instances, for the higher grades, some very sophisticated and complex subjects requiring analysis of the science behind optimising power on fighting techniques through the correct application of body dynamics. These papers had to comply with a very high standard and were moderated until the required standard was met. Once the chief moderator was satisfied, the papers had to be formally tabled to the grading panel. Karateka then had to explain and demonstrated aspects of the papers tabled as well as answer questions from the grading panel regarding some theoretical or practical aspects of the paper tabled. During this phase karateka were also evaluated on ethics, values and character traits. Only once satisfied with the presentation of the papers were graders allowed to move on to the practical aspect of the gra-ding where they were tested on aspects like, proficiency in techniques, proficiency in forms, proficiency in combat, fitness, etiquette and procedure, neatness and attitude, eye position, concentration and self-con-trol.
The grading panel, consisting of the five highest graded Namibia Shotokan karateka, was very impressed with the standard displayed by the karateka.
The chief instructor of SKAI, sensei Willem Burger, outlined the route to obtain a black belt. He observed that one of the main traits of a black belt that is installed through training is loyalty, courage and the ability to grid ones teeth and persist, even in the face of adversity. These are very important traits given the challenges that we all face in modern times.
Sensei Willem highlighted some statistics regarding the achievement of obtaining a black belt.
∙ For every 10 000 people that join a Karate school, half will drop-out within 6 months,
∙ Of those remaining students about 1 000 will complete a year of training before quitting,
∙ Approximately 500 students will study for 2 years, but only 100 will be there in 3 years,
∙ Usually only 1 or 2 will progress and be successful in obtaining their 2nd degree Black Belt,
∙ 1 Will progress to teach others as he/she has been taught – this person, 1 in 10 000, is a true Black Belt
Sensei Willem Burger also observed that a black belt means that the person now fulfils the role of a modern day Samurai. The word Samurai originally meant “one who serves”. Black belts serve their family and community and protect those that cannot fend for themselves. The black belt also lives by the bushido code (warrior code) and living values like loyalty, honour, courage, unselfishness, fairness, sincerity, honesty and courtesy are of the utmost importance. Being a black belt means constantly developing yourself physically, mentally and emotionally to face the challenges and opportunities that life presents, and then to pass along these tools to those around us so that they all may benefit and take best advantage of all opportunities that arise in their lifetimes. Sensei Willem explained that wearing a black belt does not mean you are invincible, it does mean that you never give up, you are prepared to work past pain and disappointment and do not cave in to your doubts and above all you are prepared to face your fears.
The karateka who graded and who were honoured on Friday were: Nidan (2nd Degree Black Belt): Shane Husselmann, Keanu Stuurman, Kyle Davids
Sandan (3rd Degree Black Belt): Stephan de Jager, Theresa
Shotokan Karate Academy International is extremely proud of the achievement of the above karateka and we are honoured to have these fine and loyal warriors, on the “Shotokan Scroll of Honour”.

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