Mitchells Plain karate kids to compete in India

In less than four months, seven learners from Mitchells Plain will jet off to compete in their first international martial arts tournament.

They will have an opportunity to test their skill against contestants from over 20 countries at the Ashihara Karate World Championships held in Pune, India, from December 10 to 20, GroundUp reported.

Parents of children at the Tiger Academy of Martial Arts SA dojo in Rocklands are working against the clock to raise funds for the team’s travel, food and new tracksuits.

"As a parent, it is a dream to have your child reach this level. But we knew that we needed to start raising funds for them as soon as possible," says Nigel Nitzky.

His 15-year-old daughter Natania joined the club when she was 6. She has won many local and provincial Kenpo Karate tournaments.

"She trains all the time, at the club and on her own at home," says Nitzky.

'Dangers'

Parents have been hosting karaoke events, teas and raffles to raise the R20 000 still needed for the trip.

"Initially there were more kids going but because of the amount needed, some of the parents had to decline… The total might not sound like a lot of money to some people, but for us it is quite a lot. So we are really putting everything into this just to make it a reality," says Nitzy.

Natania says she enjoys Kenpo because it teaches discipline and how to defend herself.

"There are a lot of dangers, especially for girls in Mitchells Plain, and this way I feel more prepared. It will be my first time on a plane and going overseas," she says.

Head instructor Cobe Jephta has been running the club in Mitchells Plain for over 20 years. He says it will be the first time in the club's history that its members will participate in an international competition.

"The team we are taking has great potential. Most of them have competed nationally and took first place in their categories… As an instructor, it's amazing to see where this group started.

"We don't just focus on the physical training, it's also about boosting their self-esteem and character building. Competing in this competition, regardless of their results, will mean a great deal for us," says Jephta.

The club caters for children aged 8 to 18. They train at the Rocklands sports ground three times a week, but with the trip coming up, Japhta says he advises his students to train at home for at least 30 minutes every day.