Wits team rakes in 20 medals at SA Champs

Wits team rakes in 20 medals at SA Champs

There was not much to fault in the performance of the Wits Tang Soo Do team at the South African Championships held at Wits this past weekend.  9 members of the team walked away with an impressive 20 medals among them.   

BATTLE SCARS: Kim Lucas' hand got injured during a sparring event, but he managed to bag a silver medal for sparring at the South African Championships held last weekend. Photo: Lameez Omarjee
BATTLE SCARS: Kim Lucas’s hand was injured during a sparring event, but he managed to bag a silver medal for  the event at the South African Championships.
Photo: Lameez Omarjee

Winning streak

The team of 13 attributed their success to their instructor, Master Gregory Hart. “He (Hart) always expects us to win.  He trains us hard.  He trains us to be the best and that is what he expects and that’s what we produce,” said Kim Lucas, chairperson of the club. 

 [pullquote]“You don’t really notice pain when there’s adrenaline flowing through your veins,”[/pullquote]

Lucas received two silver medals and a gold, but suffered a nasty bash to his hand during one of the sparring (fighting) events, “Someone bashed my finger with a sword.”  But he did not notice until the fight was over, “You don’t really notice pain when there’s adrenaline flowing through your veins,” he said.  Generally a fight is stopped when there is an injury.

Other team members were lucky to win without any injuries.

Ipeleng Malope took five medals alone.  A silver, two bronze and two gold medals.   He said he was not intimidated during the competition, especially during the sparring (fighting). “If you feel intimidated, that’s when you lose,” he said.     

Shakira Minty won a bronze medal for sparring in only her second tournament.  

Other team members who performed well include Robert Makoloane who took two silver medals, Mlami Ncontsa and Candice Lockyear both won silver medals, while Trisha Rajkumar took both a gold medal and  bronze medals. Ngwato Kekana received a gold and bronze medals while Kurtis Kavila received two gold medals and a bronze. 

The team is now preparing for the next national championships, to be held in Bloemfontein on May 31.  

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Wits Tang Soo Do ready for action

Wits Tang Soo Do ready for action

Wits University Tang Soo Do get ready for the South African Championships this weekend. From Left to right: Lushan Sundram, Robert Makoloane, Master Gregory Hart (trainer), Kim Lucas (Chairperson) and Ngwato Kekana Photo: Luke Matthews

EYE OF THE TIGER: Wits University Tang Soo Do get ready for the South African
Championships this weekend. From Left to right: Lushan Sundram, Robert Makoloane, Master Gregory Hart (trainer), Kim Lucas (Chairperson) and Ngwato Kekana
Photo: Luke Matthews

Members of the Wits Korean martial art, Tang Soo Do, are slaving away in preparation for the South African Championships to be held tomorrow, Saturday, at Old Mutual Sports Hall.

The Tang Soo Do South African Championships is the main event of the year for this martial art, and competitors come from across the country to participate.  There are three national tournaments a year, one at Wits and others are held later in the year in Bloemfontein and Nelspruit, according to Titus Masike, vice-chairperson of the club.

Traditional martial art

Tang Soo Do combines traditional Korean martial arts and modern techniques of self-defence such kicking and boxing.

Last year the Wits team excelled, collecting 24 medals in total.  Three members qualified for the World Championships and returned with eight medals.  Masike said: “[Tang Soo Do] is the best performing martial art club at Wits probably. It is not well-known so we don’t get as much funding as we would like to.”  Last weekend the team won 10 medals at the All-styles championships where they competed against Karate and Taekwando style teams.

[pullquote] “Use your mind to push through the limits of your body, to push through the pain and carry on”.  [/pullquote]

Masike emphasised the importance of practising forms and stances, working on fitness, cardio and sparring (fighting).  He said Tang Soo Do was strategic, “You need to think.  It’s not just about overpowering [your opponent].”  He said martial arts involved teaching the mind. “Use your mind to push through the limits of your body, to push through the pain and carry on”.

Practice makes perfect

Fitness is one of the key things the members are working on for Saturday.  Member of the team, Shakira Minty, an Accounting student, said she was making sure that her fitness was at an acceptable level and that she was physically ready.

To handle the stress of the approaching competition, Kim Lucas, the chairperson of the club said: “A lot of us have been competing for a while so we know what to expect, but for the new people we help them a lot; we make sure they train properly and help them with anything they need”.

Nerves of steel

As for pre-competition nerves, Masike said: “At first, when you are about to get punched, you flinch.  It takes a long time to get use to it before you stop [flinching].”  Minty said: “Turn nervousness into excitement.  Take the nervous energy and tell yourself you are excited.  Nerves are normal, they are good.”

The team is positive about the competition.  Ngwato Kekana, a Wits graduate has been part of the club the longest. He said: “It’s like any other tournament, just get ready for it.” Lushan Sandrum started competing this year and said: “I’m nervous but excited.  There’s nothing not to be excited about.”  Robert Makoloane, who use to do Karate before joining Tang Soo Do six months ago said, “I am confident, especially because I got a gold medal in my first Tang Soo Do contest [last weekend].”  Their confidence is not unfounded, as proven in the past, the Wits team generally performs well, according to Lucas.

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Wits Tang Soo Do excels at qualifying championships

Wits Tang Soo Do excels at qualifying championships

KICKING IT: Kim Lucas and Mlami Ncontsa train for the South African Championships  to be held on Saturday, April 12 Picture: Lameez Omarjee

KICKING IT: Kim Lucas and Mlami Ncontsa train for the South African Championships taking place this coming weekend. Photo: Lameez Omarjee

The Wits Tang Soo Do came away with 10 medals at the national all-styles championships in Vanderbjilpark last weekend.

The outstanding performance of the team means that a few of them are now eligible for the world championships in September this year.  

Kim Lucas, B.Com student and chairman of the club, explained that competitors who win a gold medal qualify for the world championships but the results are still be to be confirmed.

Ipeleng Malope, 4th year Chemical Engineering, won three medals, one of which was a silver for sparring (fighting). When Wits Vuvuzela asked him why he chose Tang Soo Do as a sport, Malope said, “Because I get to beat people up! Just kidding … It’s a martial art and I need discipline and the fitness [the training provides].”

[pullquote]”Tang Soo Do is a traditional Korean martial art, modified to incorporate modern techniques”[/pullquote]

Lucas won gold and silver medals. Team members Robert Makoloane received gold, Ngwato Kekana walked away with a silver and Lushan Sundram received two bronze medals. Team instructor, and one of the competitors, Tommie Strydom received silver.

Tang Soo Do is a traditional Korean martial art, modified to incorporate modern techniques like kicking, boxing pressure points and grappling. The group is trained by master Gregory Hart and Tommie Strydom, both black belts in the sport. The club is still quite small, and has about 40 active members.

The group is presently training for the South African Championships which takes place on Saturday, March 12 at Old Mutual Sports Hall from 7am to 5pm.

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