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.
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.
Members of the Wits Tang Soo Do club with their medals from the Bloemfontein national championships.
THE WITS Tang Soo Do club were the dominant contenders in a national championship in Bloemfontein recently when they snatched 23 medals and won the tournament overall.
Tang Soo Do is a Korean martial art which involves hand and kicking techniques similar to taekwondo.
The team were among 150 participants and, according to Wits Tang Soo Do coach, Gregory Hart, it was “competitive with strong guys”. “There were 20 people in each category, age and belt levels and the competition standards were high.”
[pullquote]“It really is a great achievement”[/pullquote]
Wits brought home 23 medals in total. Three bronze and three silvers as a team; four individuals won gold medals, five won silver and eight bagged bronze.
“It really is a great achievement. It’s quite a good return on investment. They all did very well,” said Hart.
Wits Tang Soo Do club member Titus Masike said the team’s performance in Bloemfontein was successful, but further acknowledged they could have done better.“We don’t have a lot of gold [medals], but we would love to have a lot of gold come through.”
At the South African championships in February, six club members qualified to compete in the world championships in the Netherlands in October. However, only three are going because of the cost involved.
Hart said in order to qualify for the world championships, individuals had to win a gold medal at the SA Champs. The three who are going will be sent to a training camp in Nelspruit, in July, where they will be put through a series of tests.
Hart said the main challenges the club faced were team members balancing their academic studies and commitment to the sport. However, Hart said the Tang Soo Do club at Wits was growing and people were finding interest in the club.