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Karate club teaches respect and discipline
FORT ST. JOHN – Under the watchful eye of Sensei Robert McGuire, the Northern Tigers Karate Association, a group of children ranging in age from four to about 12, run through their drills in the art of Shotokan.
“We try to be a very friendly club so we don’t have any set [times]. We take a very casual approach,” said McGuire.
The club practices at Ecole Central Elementary a couple days of he week and then at Bert Ambrose on Saturday.
The Shotokan club was started in the 1990s and it has been full steam ahead. In November, under the tutelage of Grandmaster Bernardo Salinas, the four top students took part at the Sikaran Nest Invitational Martial Arts Tournament, held is Saskatoon.
Seven-year-old Nate Bouchard took home two gold medals in a sparing competition, Samrath Aulakh won Silver and Bronze in Sparing along with Alex Rugina took home metals for Sparing and Guroshabad Aulakh, 12, also took home awards in Forms.
The Shotokan style was invented in Japan in 1939 and is broken down into three forms: basics “kihon,” kata “patterns and movements and “kumite” or sparring. According to a Shotokan website, the techniques help strengthen leg muscles and focuses speed.
At the competition, people from all over Canada including Golden, Saskatoon, Ottawa, and Toronto joined the Fort St. John martial art competitors for a tournament to test the strengths and abilities of all who participated.
“We focus a lot on discipline and respect so self discipline…do homework, non-violence and respect for others,” he said.
“If you have respect for others, you come across as a lot more successful in life,” he added.
According to McGuire, the main difference in different karate styles is the way an instructor teaches and how hard the students are willing to push themselves.
“There’s no one style that encompasses everything. I happen to like mine because I’ve been doing it for 27 years,” McGuire said.
According to the Sensei, which means ‘instructor’, all karate teaches a variety of kicks, punches and self defence.
“We all have a component of sport. Our style doesn’t do much grappling such as…Judo, but, like I said, there’s different focuses on every style but all in all, we tend to focus on the same things,” he said.
At the moment, the class has 55-60 students but there is always room for more, he said.
For more information on the club and how to join: email firstname.lastname@example.org.