After participating in the sport herself and taking the time to teach others the basics and principles of karate for more than 30 years, godan Annatjie de Jager, the owner and coach of Yin-Yang Karate and Self Defence Studio, is now also focusing on teaching the sport to children with difficulties such as learning disabilities and a lack of concentration.
Due to the lockdown, she was forced to close her Nirvana classes for the rest of year but will be back in full swing from 2021. She has, however, just started a new class where she works with children facing various challenges in Ladanna.
“I have seen children who are on medication missing out on things in life, but I believe and have seen that a sport such as karate can change people and the circumstances that young people find themselves in,” Annatjie says.
She says that in the past she has seen first-hand the change in children participating in karate and parents returning to show off the progress their children have made.
“The sport is something that teaches patience, concentration and calm which has been life-changing in the lives of people for instance helping children with disabilities in learning to keep calm when studying and helping them concentrate on doing their work in class and also homework,” she adds.
She says the sport has made a difference in the lives of children who have been placed on medication and have made more progress than with the medication in some instances.
She says that she would like to see the sport grow and and create awareness among parents that karate does not provoke aggressive behaviour in their children but in fact helps many of them stop their aggression and channel their energy into becoming great karatekas. She urges parents to visit karate clubs to experience what the sport has to offer.
Story: Riana Joubert