Dedication and discipline is the name of the game as karateka sempai Litha Mtalalisi gets ready to represent SA in the Kyokushin World Union Karate Tournament in Kazakhstan from December 7 to 8.
He describes his last tournament as exciting but intimidating.
“There is a high level of fighting and you must know what is expected.
“I have rectified my past mistakes, and I will not be a ladder for other people to pass me, I am determined to do better,” Mtalalisi said.
He is also the current SA kyokushinkan karate champion for three consecutive years.
“It is hard work to maintain being a champion, bearing in mind that the ones you gym with ultimately want to be where you are,” Mtalalisi said.
Mtalalisi started doing karate in 2003 in Lusikisiki, his home town, and became seriously involved in the sport in 2009.
“I entered my first tournament in 2010 and came in second place and I have gone up the ranks since,” he said.
He said his journey in the sport had helped develop his character.
“It keeps you fit, keeps you busy and keeps you disciplined.
“It also changes your way of thinking as you perfect your craft,” Mtalalisi said.
Mtalalisi has a First Kyu Brown Belt, but qualified for a First Dan Black Belt in June, which he is waiting to receive as the belt is being crafted overseas.
Kyokushinkan SA is a non-profit organisation which relies heavily on private donors or sponsorships.
Although the tournament organisers will cover the fighting fee, accommodation and transport from the airport to hotel, and travel to the tournament venue, Mtalalisi must pay for the rest.
“When I went to Russia in 2017, I had to pay about R33,000 – the sport needs a lot of financial support,” he said.
For those who can assist, contact Mtalalisi on 082-845-6229 or e-mail email@example.com.