Mdantsane competitors from Gijana Martial Arts Club recently took part in the annual Full Contact Martial Arts National Championships in Gauteng last week and came out victorious in their divisions.
Lihle Kekezwa, 24, Phila Mapasa, 23, and 13-year-old Avuziwe Macdonald participated alongside their sensei, Mkhululi Gijana in five divisions over the two days of the tournament.
They competed in traditional kata, traditional weapon kata, continuous fighting, point sparring and traditional kumite
Gijana won both his divisions and each of his students won their respective divisions.
Kekezwa, who is also a national champion, says that participating in this year’s tournament was tough but very rewarding.
“The tournament was fantastic. It was not easy. The competition was very tight, but I was able to make it through in the end.
“There were moments where I got nervous, but I was able to overcome it and pushed through thanks to the teachings of my sensei,” Kekezwa said.
After winning their divisions, the boys qualified for the national championships again, where a national team will be selected.
The celebrations have been short lived as the team is already concerned with how they will travel to their next tournament.
“We are very proud of this achievement, but we are struggling with funding. We have tried many avenues, but we have not received any help. Martial arts are not well supported and we often have to rely on our own funds for our boys to compete,” Gijana said.
The students have been training at Mqhayi Senior Secondary School in NU 10 Mdantsane and the dojo is registered under Shoshinkai, which is registered under Martial Arts SA and the World Martial Arts Organisation.
Gijana stressed the importance of martial arts for young people as it teaches them life skills.
“Martial arts teaches them discipline and how to behave.
“It also teaches them to defend themselves when in trouble. It is something that they can keep themselves busy with and keep them off the streets,” Gijana said