Kids get their kicks from karate

The Tribune (NZ) - - SCHOOL HOLIDAYS - GE­OR­GIA FOR­RESTER

Manawatu’s bravest were kick­ing their way to vic­tory at the re­gion’s an­nual karate cham­pi­onships.

About 150 com­peti­tors punched, blocked and kicked their way through the cham­pi­onships, held at St Peter’s Col­lege on Sun­day.

Palmer­ston North School of Karate in­struc­tor Greg McLach­lan said chil­dren from the age of 5 to adults 55-plus com­peted in the event.

Karate kids and adults com­peted in both kata, a form of self defence, and ku­mite – free fight­ing.

Eight clubs from Manawatu, Welling­ton, Horowhenua and Wairarapa were at the event.

The na­tional karate cham­pi­onships were be­ing held in about two weeks, so many of the par­tic­i­pants used the Manawatu event to prac­tise com­pet­ing.

McLach­lan be­lieved karate was among the top eight sports on the world stage.

A for­mer fighter, he had been in­volved in the sport for the past 36 years.

One of the most re­ward­ing things about be­ing an in­struc­tor was see­ing the con­fi­dence and dis­ci­pline of chil­dren grow as they honed their skills.

‘‘I see all these kids come through and see them all grow up as re­ally good adults. That’s the best thing to see.

‘‘The big­gest thing in karate is self dis­ci­ple and re­spect,’’ he said.

McLach­lan said karate was a lot of fun for all ages and en­cour­aged people to give it a go.

Palmer­ston North Boys’ High School pupil Waldo Dreyer, 16, had been prac­tis­ing karate for about nine years.

‘‘It’s a way to ex­press your­self in a way that you can’t usu­ally do in front of other people.’’

His con­fi­dence in com­pet­ing and dis­ci­pline in the sport had grown over the years, he said.

Karate had also taught him pa­tience, learn­ing that you did not al­ways win straight off the bat.

Dreyer was watch­ing on Sun­day, un­able to com­pete due to dis­lo­cat­ing his shoul­der two days be­fore­hand at rugby, but hoped to be able to com­pete in the up­com­ing na­tional com­pe­ti­tion.

PHOTO: MUR­RAY WIL­SON/FAIR­FAX NZ

Alex Cole com­petes in the 11 to 13-yearold di­vi­sion of the karate cham­pi­onship.

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