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Karate News 
30 years of karate in Seychelles

THE Seychelles Karate Federation last year celebrated the 30th anniversary of its existence, considered as a milestone in the history of an organisation. To mark this occasion, the federation has portrayed the various stages of its development and has provided a brief history of the local schools which are affiliated to it.

 

Origin and evolution of karate in Seychelles

 

Karate was formally introduced in Seychelles in 1972 by Sensei Antoine Young, a Seychellois from Grand Anse Mahe, upon returning home from training Hawaii. While at university, he studied the Korean style of Kime-Ryu, a full contact style in which he obtained the coveted 2nd dan black belt.

He started teaching karate to some ex-Seychelles College students and other young enthusiasts. As it was a new activity, it attracted a lot of people, both Seychellois and resident expatriates. Among the expatriates was an Englishman, Sensei John Ashton, who came to Seychelles to set up the National Provident Fund which has since been transformed into the Social Security Fund. Sensei Ashton was a 1st dan black belt from the Japanese style, Shotokan. Together they formed the Seychelles Karate Club which later changed into Seychelles Karate Association and eventually in 1990 to the Seychelles Karate Federation.

Compared to today's training facilities, in the 1970s, karate enthusiasts had to train in open air in the “Government House” (now State House grounds) and at times in the Casanova Discotheque, which is now part of the SMB Supermarket. Albeit these difficulties, the practitioners were very serious and enthusiastic to emerge as the best and build a name for themselves. Among them were Dr Henry Naiken and Shihan (master) Donald Celestine who has now attained worldwide recognition as a 5th dan black belt and zonal referee and judge. Shihan Celestine heads the Japanese style of Joshinmon Shorin-Ryu and is also the secretary general of the Seychelles Karate Federation.

Until the 1980s only the Kime-Ryu style was known in Seychelles. This full contact karate style was tough for many and was appreciated by a large group. In fact, the Seychelles Karate Club was re-organised in 1982 when Sensei Jonathan Pitts, a teacher at the defunct Seychelles National Youth Service (NYS), decided to open the Shotokan Club at St Louis and the NYS. Upon his departure, the leadership was passed on to Sensei Rolly Denousse, who later left the country and the post was assumed by Sensei Allen Joubert who is the current head of the school.

Major change occurred in 1985 when Shihan Philip Moustache and Shihan Donald Celestine broke way from the Shotokhan Club and the Kime-Ryu Club respectively for various reasons.

Shihan Moustache formed the Victoria Karate Kai which was later changed to Ryobukai and eventually Kyokushinkai, which is a full contact style from Japan.

The following year (1986), after completing his training in Mauritius under the tutelage of Shihan Georges Li Ying Pin, who was a 5th dan black belt (now 6th dan black belt), Shihan Celestine, together with Senseis Georges Cherry and Gilbert Albert, introduced the Joshinmon Shorin-Ryu Karate School on February 4 at Plaisance which attracted a large number of enthusiasts. Owing to the big turnout, the school had to organise different classes for children and adults.

In 1987, the Tang Soo Do style was introduced by Sensei Ken Niasky, together with Senseis Steve Layton and Phil Shiver, all employees of the then United States Air Force (USAF) Tracking Station at La Misère.

Today, the school operates at Grand Anse Mahe and Anse Boileau under the leadership of Sensei Jossy Canaya and Sensei Andre Lucas respectively.

In 1990, Sensei Egbert Moustache, upon returning home from his studies in the U.S.A., introduced the Ashihara style which operates at Mont Fleuri and on La Digue.

The last style to join the federation is the Kimura Shukokai, whose leaders are break-aways from the Joshinmon Shorin-Ryu School.

As karate became more and more popular and competitive with various styles joining the association (SKA), it was approved by the National Sports Council (NSC) in 1990 that the association became a federation, hence the Seychelles Karate Federation, which is now composed of six schools – Shotokan, Kyokushinkai, Joshinmon Shorin-Ryu, Ashihara, Tang Soo Do and Kimura Shukokai.

Two representatives from each school sit on the executive committee of the federation and the chairmanship rotates every year. Each school has its own internal management system, philosophy and principles.

Members of the public are free to choose which school to join. In order to assist them in their choice, some schools have provided a profile or resume as a guide. This is important as karate has many aspects and different people join a school for different reasons.

Some come for vigorous exercises, some want to acquire techniques, others want to shape their character and others concerned with moral and ethical development seek their metaphysical potential.

 

Profile of Tang Soo Do

 

Tang Soo Do is one of the oldest martial art systems originated in Korea around two thousand years ago. Today, its technique and philosophy are still as they were first taught in  ancient times. The goal of Tang Soo Do is not to promote violence but rather a way of life. It provides a way of thinking and acting which will guide you and teach you in all areas of your life, so that you will be happier, healthier and wiser. 

Literally translated, the word “Tang” refers to the Tang Dynasty of China which reflects the shared cultural background between China and Korea (617-907 A.D). “Soo” means hand but implies fist, punch, strike or defence, etc. and “Do” means way of life or art. Thus “Tang Soo Do” means the Korean classical martial art which was influenced by the Tang method of martial art.

In 1968, Master Jae Chul Shin came to the United States of America from Korea as the U.S. representative for the Korean Soo Bahk Do Association founded on November 9, 1945 by Master Hwang Kee. He formed the United Sates Tang Soo Do Federation in Burlington, New Jersey. The organisation expanded to all parts of America and foreign countries, including Seychelles in 1987.

 

History of Kimura Shukokai

 

The Kimura Shukokai Karate was introduced here by two former members of Joshinmon Karate School after contact had been made with the secretariat of Kimura Shukokai International which is based in London. The Kimura Shukoai has the following origins:

Master Kenwa Mabuni, the founder of Shito-Ryu, trained originally under both Master Itosu and Master Higashiona in Okinawa. The founder of this style, Master Chojiro Tani Soke, trained directly under Master Kenwa Mabuni.

Master Tani Soke founded the style as part of the international programme of Shito-Ryu in 1949. Shihan Kimura, a good technician, became one of Master Tani Soke’s best students and in 1970 it was approved that she travels to the U.S.A. to spread the knowledge of Shukokai to countries outside Japan.

Shihan Kimura evolved a method of techniques of his own that was not readily available to the teachers and students in Japan. After Shihan Kimura's death a few years ago, the fourth highest ranking student of his decided to take over the association and to lead the international group forward in the same way that Shihan Kimura wanted. More information about this organisation can be found on www.kimurashukokai.com.

 

History of Joshinmon Shorin-Ryu

 

Joshinmon Shorin-Ryu originated in Okinawa in the 1820s from Grandmaster Sokun Matsumura and transcended down to Grandmaster Chotoku Kyan of Shobayashi Shorin-Ryu.

With reforms along its path to Shorinji-Ryu, Seibukan Shorin-Ryu, Renshinkan  Shorinji-Ryu, it became Joshinmon Shorin-Ryu in 1969 through Grandmaster Hoshu Ikeda. This is better illustrated in the Okinawa Shorin-Ryu Karate Lineage chart. The Joshinmon-Shorin-Ryu style is a combination of the Shuri and Tomari styles. Joshinmon means the openness of heart and mind to persevere in learning, teaching, and overcoming obstacles and harmonious growth.

The karatekas learn discipline, to respect their instructors and their peers. They also learn to respect and appreciate the efforts of others.

Jealousy and envy have no place in the dojo (place of training), as the students learn that only hard work and self-improvement hold the key to progress. They learn self-cleanliness of the body, the kimono (training uniform), the dojo, clean thinking and clean living. They develop a sense of belonging, appreciate the truth, learn about humility out of self-realised efforts and learn of integrity out of the fact that there are no short-cuts to reaching higher grades or attaining any goal.

They learn about tolerance, patience, compassion, sharing of knowledge to become self-confident and positively aggressive persons. These qualities cannot but make a person a good citizen of the country and a true patriot.

 

Conclusion

 

A person who practices karate correctly in a good school, develops good qualities and depending on his intellectual capabilities, there is an infinite scope for him to progress spiritually.

When a person makes the required positive efforts, cultivates good values, develops strength, self-confidence and progresses in life, it is said that God has helped him, hence Divine help is not something to be taken for granted without making any effort. Moreover, the person should look inwards, would realise that changes have occurred in him/her and that he/she is moving towards divine virtues.

Godly qualities exist in each of us, but we have to realise them and aim to achieve them to the maximum. A karateka should learn to live in perfect harmony with nature and with fellow humans.

A person who practices karate properly learns these positive values as karate becomes with time, a dynamic meditation and also a means to strengthen one’s body and resolve towards positive attitudes.

 

 

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