Every week Perdeby sends their journalists to experience something out of their comfort zones. This week Nandipha Dilla attended a defence class at Karate Academy in Hatfield.

Pretoria High School Old Boy’s Club (PHSOB) is strategically nestled away from the flurry of the Hatfield student community, with our experience ushered in by the sun setting quietly on the charming club located on Queen’s Crescent.

The floor shook under me, the wooden floor yielding to the many feet that ran back and forth across the karate mat in the dojo as part of the warm up for the session. We were welcomed warmly and given the instructions to take all shoes and jewellery off before going on the mat where Sensei Chris was giving instructions to the floor.

When we joined the class, we were immediately put to work with Sensei Chris making us do ten laps back and forth on the floor, each lap ending in three push-ups. We were afterwards taught basic punches, how to use them effectively against an attacker and how to deflect from an oncoming punch coming for your face or abdomen.
The exercises proved to be more exhausting than I expected, but I suspect it was mostly because my mid-training push-ups were shaky and displayed my alarming lack of arm strength and general unfitness. However, Sensei Chris was patient and gave us extra attention when we either struggled terribly or lacked technique, not only showing us the correct way to either deflect or attack but also giving us the reasons why it would create unnecessary pressure on our bodies to do things incorrectly, making these actions more detrimental to us than to the attacker.

Sensei Chris and Sensei Reyn graciously performed for us with a bow of respect, a structured pattern of movements that is just as rhythmic as a dance.

Throughout the entire experience the cultural nuances that date back to the art’s origins in Japan were still prevalent in the respect that everyone showed for the other, regardless of status or belt colour. There was a certain way to do things and everyone followed the procedures without complaint, displaying patience, humility and trained discipline.

We asked Sensei Tshwete, a primary school teacher who is also on his 4th Dan having started participating in the martial art in 1990, the greatest thing karate has done for him.

“While karate is a great way to be more fit and healthy, it has given me more confidence because I can not only defend myself but others as well when the need arises. I first became interested in the art because of movies I saw, and then earned my first black belt in 2007. The secret to succeeding in karate is to train regularly, lots of hard work and a commitment to succeed.”

By the end of the evening we were intrigued by this JSKA affiliated karate academy that had a dojo full of people who passionately sought to use their bodies to advance the skills of the other without the malicious intent to harm. They showed the deepest respect to their dojo, their Sensei’s and to their companions, following the practices that have been instilled within them from the beginning of their first training session.

There are various training sessions that can fit into any students’ schedule with KarateFIT at 18:30 being the perfect solution for everyone. Soon Pretorious the Chief instructor and owner of the studio said that the defense classes 
will offer more than just a physical exercise but it will stimulate the mind and memory.  For more information UP students can call Pretorious at 0861527283 or visit


Photo: Una Mudimeli

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