Alternative sports: Martial arts and TuksSport

NTOMBI MKANDHLA

Martial arts consist of various sports which largely originate from East Asian countries such as Japan, South Korea and China.

Furthermore, martial arts are characterised by high intensity self-defence and striking styles. Bridget Meso is a third year International Relations student who practices Karate at 3rd level brown belt. She admits that at the beginning of practicing for the first time, “the body will hurt”. However she added that the body will eventually become strong enough “to be able to absorb the pain”. Meso added that martial arts are practiced in a controlled environment, making extensive physical damage a rarity.

Martial arts are revered to have both physical and benefits on the body. Melissa Ferreira, a second year BA Language student practices Muay Thai at intermediate level.

Apart from it being means to control her weight, Ferreira added that “it is really good for peace of mind” as endorphins are released during practice.

Apart from Judo, which UP’s website categorises under “specialised clubs and individual participants”, TuksSport offers more forms of martial art as recreational activity. All martial arts training is offered at the LC de Villiers Sports Campus.

 

Taekwondo

Taekwondo is a martial art originating in South Korea. Derived from the Korean words tae (kick) kwon (fist) and do (do), the sport is characterised by rapid hand and foot movements. TuksTaekwondo’s webpage explains that the martial art was popularised by soldiers and warriors in times of war, particularly during the Three Kingdoms Period. Describing the movements as “sleek”, the club adds that the self-defence techniques have been refined over the years and has grown in popularity as to become an Olympic sport.

TuksTaekwondo offer extensive martial art training to all ages and levels. Children are pooled in Class A (beginners and advanced) as well as seniors who are new to the sport. Class B hosts seniors who are at beginner or advanced level as well as students who are also at beginner or advanced level.

The head TuksTaekwondo coach is Grand-Master Park, a 7th Dan. His other accolades include being a Bongsul 6th Dan and a Taekwondo 3rd level international referee.

 

Aikido

Aikido is also a traditional Japanese self-defence martial art that is not forceful, as it characterised by slow movements. Aikido translates to “path of harmony” and is distinguished by its throws and joint lock techniques. While this may inflict pain, TuksAikido’s webpage says that the movements are applied in a “graceful manner” making it unlikely that the victim will feel much pain.

Aikido is not generally practiced in a competitive manner and does not require aggression or much physical strength. Its nature allows it to be a sport that can appeal to all ages and to men and women alike.

 

Karate

Karate has grown to be one of the most widely recognised martial arts globally. Sandolvalkarate.net explains that it originated from Okinawa, one of Japan’s Ryuku Islands.

The four main karate styles practiced are Wado-ryu, Shito-ryu, Goju-ryu and Shotokan.

TuksKarate is open to all semi-contact karate styles and their webpage adds that annually they seek to have their students participate in the USSA Karate Tournament. This year in June at the USSA Karare Tournament, TuksKarate performed exceptionally well. Silvio Biagioni came first in the male Karata. Minét Tuys came second in the female team Kumite as well as the u/55kg female Kumite. Wennette Jordaan also came second in the female team Kumite and third in the female Kata. Babalwa Njomi came third in the female development Kata. Mark Coetzer came fifth in the u/65kg male Kumite.

 

Illustration: Sally Hartzenberg

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