Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition)
Esteemed Kyokushin martial artist earns a new black belt
DURING the day Gary Trappler is busy sharpening his skills in the courtroom but at night his alter ego takes over and he lets off some steam in the dojo.
The Green Point resident is a practising attorney at the Western Cape High Court, but he is also a registered 4th dan black belt sensei.
Trappler, 60, will officially be presented with his new black belt – which will now have four gold stripes and his name in Japanese script – at the Kyokushin Dojo in Green Point today.
The father of three practises Kyokushin karate, which is a full-contact knock-down style. Gloves are not worn and it’s only stand-up fighting.
However, children do not fight at this level and they are compelled to wear full protective gear.
Trappler said: “It feels really great to have my 4th Dan black belt but it’s not an end in itself. It is rather part of a mental and physical journey, learning to understand the hardships and obstacles, and to overcome these in order to succeed. My own teacher, shihan Bas van Steunis, was very encouraging and I am grateful to him for my accomplishment.”
Trappler teaches hundreds of students at the Green Point Kyokushin Dojo and Gugulethu Kyokushin Dojo.
“Training keeps me strong, fit and flexible. It also makes one feel far less vulnerable when walking the streets. There is no shadow of doubt that an accomplished and trained fighter has a huge advantage over someone who has not learnt any fighting skills,” he said.
Trappler found himself in the sport 51 years ago, after he was influenced by his eldest brother Brian, who excelled at karate.
“I would encourage men, women and children to acquire more than just basic skills in any fighting sport. It gives one confidence in all spheres of life, and it’s splendid for learning self-discipline and control. It will lengthen one’s longevity and keep one’s eye on healthy eating and living,” said Trappler, who has been an attorney for more than 30 years.
“Practising law is very much like playing a game of chess. It requires much thought, foresight, strategy, an understanding of all the pieces on the board and the prescribed limitations in terms of rules of play. It’s a game I enjoy, knowing that I’m utilising my skills for the benefit of others,” he added.
Junior instructor at the Green Point Kyokushin Dojo and one of Trappler’s students Christian Menda said: “He is a technical instructor and understands the body and its potential. Sensei Gary is a good listener and always makes time to hear your issues. I would describe him as being a hard-working, friendly, generous, kind, and a very funny person,” he said.
Bas van Steunis (master Kyokushin instructor, Southern Africa) said: “I have known Gary for over 40 years and he is a well-respected martial arts instructor. He has been a loyal and faithful instructor in our organisation, including sponsoring some of our less fortunate members.”