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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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