Sitting down for an interview Stephen Andrew, a 17-year-old matriculant of Hoër Tegniese Skool Tom Naudé and member of the Eksteen Ryu Bushido Freestyle Karate do and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Institute, appears to be less of a talker and more of a doer when taking his achievements in consideration.
Watching Stephen unpack his trophies and medals became clear that he takes karate serioulsy and that this introvert can turn into a fighting machine during competitions.
“Karate will continue to be a part of my life even after school. Next year I will be studying aircraft mechanics through the South African Air Force and will not relocate. So I will continue my journey with karate and remain focussed on achieving even more,” the junior belt said.
His interest in karate started a very young age as he loved to watch Kong-Fu movies.
“My father then suggested that I join a local karate club. I have been participating in karate for nine years now and never looked back one day,” he said.
What he enjoys most of being a karateka is the fighting element of the sport together with the exercise as one uses one’s whole body during combat.
He believes that a good karateka has to remain focussed and goal-driven at all times, have self-control and discipline while fitness and flexibility play and equally big role in the success of a karateka.
Stephen’s achievements started in 2012 when he was awarded as most up and coming karateka.
He continued working hard which resulted in him being named most dedicated karateka the following year.
His passion is eminent from accolades received in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017 for 100% gashuku (class) attendance.
He remarks that 2017 was a big year for him when he was awarded as Karateka of Excellence – Best Overall as well as the trophy for overall special performance.
During last year’s prize giving Stephen once again walked up to Soke Henri Eskteen to accept the awards for best overall karateka and best senior.
Stephen concluded the year’s activities with a gold for kata and silver for kumite during the annual Battle in the Bush Championships recently hosted in the city. Besides that he was also recently named Yudansha (junior leader) of the club and also acts as judge during some competitions.
Stephen has been participating in MMA for about a year but admitted that he got lazy and dropped the sporting code. “My dream is to take MMA serious again and to reach Olympic level soon.”
His advice to young karateka is to never let go of your dreams and to stay focussed. “Continue what you started and never give up. Maintain a high level of discipline and you will achieve,”
Story: RC Myburgh