Feb 25, 2024

By Elri Bester (1st Dan)

My karate journey started when I was 8 years old. At first it was just a sport I did twice a week, but now it’s a part of my life. “You had to learn how to protect yourself”, was my father’s words when I began karate at Middelburg IJKA karate centre. I did not quite understand what he meant with those words, but today I do.

As the years went past there were a few tough times. Hard times and sad times. There were times where I wanted to give up, because it felt like I couldn’t handle the pressure of karate and it felt like I was making no progress, but with those bad times there were also good times. Happy times. Times I did so good and I was proud of myself, because I achieved goals I never thought I would ever be able to achieve and it was all because I didn’t give up. I pushed myself to work harder and with the support of my IJKA Karate sensei’s and parents, who never gave up on me and pushed me not to give up, I achieved my goals!

Here I stand today, after 9 years of karate and I have my back belt (shodan), that I worked so hard to get. Now I’m training for my 2nd black belt (nidan).

After so many years of karate, karate gave me so many experiences. Yes karate is hard and yes karate is tough, but karate is also good and fun. It all depends on your attitude. There will be times that you are going to get knocked down, but isn’t that what life is about? Falling down and standing up again. Karate helped me in so many different ways. It helped me to be more confident. It taught me respect, not only for others, but also for myself. Karate helped me to become more focused, to clear my mind and concentrate. I learnt to stand up for myself and others. Karate is also a coping mechanism, that helps you to calm your mind when things get rough in the world, and to just take a breath. Karate gave me so many life experiences and life lessons that I never new I needed.

Karate isn’t only a sport, it’s a way of life and the only way you will ever be able to understand it, is when you experience it for yourself.

I definitely recommend IJKA karate, not just for children, but for all. Karate does not have an age limit. You’ll never know it’s benefits, if you don’t give it a try. Start your IJKA karate journey today and reap the benefits, like I did, for years to come.

That’s my experience, I wish you an even better one! OSS.