Jan 06, 2021 Sports
Kaieteur News – The International Karate Organization’s (IKO) Academy of Guyana, a not-for-profit organization with the objective of promoting, organizing, and popularizing the sport of karate all over Guyana, has just released its foremost plans for the year 2021, that will see a major recruitment campaign being kicked off this month, the hosting of Karate Camps during the year, the opening of several new dojos across the country, the attendance of a team from the Academy of Guyana at a World Karate Tournament abroad where they will represent Guyana and the coordination of a youth development and empowerment programme in the 10 regions of Guyana.
Karate is a martial art that was developed in Japan for the purpose of defending one’s self whilst unarmed, against an assailant by using one’s whole body and employing techniques such as takedowns, thrusts, blows and kicks.
Karate consists of two disciplines: in “kumite”, competitors actually engage in a fight that is regulated by rules and try to win more points than the opponent; in “kata”, competitors perform movements according to a designated form and are evaluated based on the tempo, power, speed, accuracy and other aspects of their techniques.
The term “karate” (or “karate-do”) can be translated as “Way of the Empty hand”; it designates both a traditional martial art and a modern combat sport which was originally developed in Okinawa (Japan). Karate was disseminated across the globe during the 20th century, and very quickly became an extremely popular activity even in Guyana, thanks to the numerous benefits, healthy lifestyle and wholesome values which it promotes. It is currently estimated that there are approximately 100 million karate practitioners worldwide.
The IKO Karate Academy of Guyana ‘the newest karate kids on the block’ literally, only got started at the end of February of 2020, when it had its grand and official launch at the New Thriving Restaurant on Main Street, where the keynote address was given by the Hon. Deodat Indar, the current Minister within the Ministry of Public Works. That is where the Guyanese public got their introduction to this new martial arts body in Guyana which is accredited by the world governing Karate body, the International Karate-Do Organization that is headquartered in Florida, USA and is also proudly affiliated and sanctioned by the World Karate Martial Arts Organization (WKMO).
It should be noted however that its senior instructors have been training since the 1970’s and its younger instructors have been training for many years, many of whom are International champions and gold, silver and bronze medalists at world tournaments.
The IKO Karate Academy of Guyana is extremely proud of its achievements since its launch in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic which has occurred causing the most significant disruption to the worldwide sporting calendar since World War II. Among some of their achievements subsequently are the launching of its official website and social media platforms, the opening of two dojos in Georgetown, along with one in Berbice and one on the West Coast of Demerara, and most recently engaging in a major charity activity that saw the donating of gifts and linens which brought Christmas cheer to the Sophia Care Center.
Chairman and Chief Instructor of the IKO Karate Academy of Guyana, Shihan Jeffrey Wong 7th Dan Black Belt, informed that his administrative committee has decided that this year the Academy shall be hosting a Karate Summer Camp where Karatekas from all of IKO’s dojos across the country and even those from other Karate Organizations will be invited to participate. Attending the camp, which will be held at one of Guyana’s beautiful nature resorts, shall be a Japanese master of Shotokan karate who will be conducting morning and afternoon training sessions, alternated between physical and mental training days.
He said that they will also be hosting another camp which will not just be for Karatekas but which will be for an inspiring, enjoyable, and effective way for ordinary persons to kick-start a more active and healthier way of life. It will feature apart from Karate training, mountain biking, CrossFit, hiking and swimming.
Vice Chairman and Vice Chief Instructor of the Academy Professor Aubrey Mendonca who resides and lectures in the USA but who visits Guyana every four months to play his part in administering the academy, revealed that other plans for the institution for the new year include embarking on a comprehensive student recruitment campaign all across Guyana including in the school system, in rural communities, and with the adult programmes targeting companies, government departments, public corporations and NGOs. This he said will be complemented by the opening of at least nine other dojos in places like Linden, Timehri, East Coast Demerara, Parika and at Bartica this year as they prefer to decentralize.
The Academy which has already been having meetings with several government functionaries, apart from teaching karate, intends to, in collaboration with the government, engage in a number of youth development and empowerment projects such as encouraging skill acquisition, engaging youths as volunteers, social entrepreneurship and community projects and social action.
Another major activity Professor Mendonca said the Academy will be engaged in shall be branding and merchandising, as they are in advanced discussions with martial arts uniforms and equipment suppliers to market their products in Guyana.
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