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Lagos karate festival: Pathfinder for the beautiful sport

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Bamgboye Sensei (left) slugging it out with Kasuya Sensei.

Bamgboye Sensei (left) slugging it out with Kasuya Sensei.

The noble art of self-defence, Karate, is about to stage an event that holds good tidings for adherents of the sport. It is the Lagos Karate Festival, an event that has elicited interest from the best of the sport across the world.

Among the distinguished masters expected in Nigeria for the festival is 68-year-old top Japanese female karate-ka, Tomiko Mitsuoka Sensei, an instructor listed for the three-pronged event scheduled for the Teslim Balogun Stadium and the VGC Club, Lagos.

According to officials of the World Shotokan Karate-De Federation, Mitsuoka Sensei will be part of the Third Zainab Saleh International Female Karate Open Championship billed to hold at the Teslim Balogun Stadium from June 1 to 5.

Speaking to The Guardian ahead of the event, World Shotokan Karate-De Federation, Nigeria Chapter’s Chief Instructor, Bob Bamgboye Sensei, said the female Karate Championship is organised by Zainab Saleh, a Nigerian-born female Karate star, to help develop and discover talents at the grassroots.

He noted that the event, which is open to all female Karate students around the world, would help Nigerians nursing the ambition of excelling in the combat sport to gain experience and exposure as their counterparts from across Africa and other continents, who will participate in the event.

Bamgboye explained the female Karate championship would also feature a two-day seminar and interactive session to be conducted by Mitsuoka Sensei before the main championship begins on June 3.

According to Bamgboye, the June 1 and 2 seminars at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos, is open to children and adults of all ages and all grades and styles.

He said the female championship would feature two main events, including Kumite, which involves two competitors sparring on the mat to score points.The second is Kata, a demonstration of fighting an imaginary opponent.

Bamgboye disclosed that the Zainab Saleh competition would involve adults over 18 years, who will be grouped in weight categories, adding that it is on a knock out basis.

“The Zainab Saleh International Female Karate Open Championship will be exciting for all karate-kas in Nigeria and neighbouring countries because it is an all styles open ladies event.

“The championship will precede an open seminar for male and female players of all grades, with a children’s class to be run by the visiting 8th Dan Japanese instructor, Tomiko Sensei of the WSKF at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos from the June 1 to the 5.”

Bamgboye said the event is expected to improve the standard of karate in Nigeria, as it would give opportunities to international karate students to gauge their development in the sport.

The sponsor of the championship, Zainab Saleh, he said, has finalized the necessary logistics to ensure the championship is a success, adding that trophies, gifts and medals would be given to participants after the championship.

He added that registration was still open for female karate students, who want to take part in the event, adding that the festival aims at providing world-class events for Nigerians who cannot afford to travel abroad for training and competitions.

According to Bamgboye, this is the first time a senior Japanese karate lady is coming to Nigeria to teach and boost the standard of the sport in the country, as the country begins preparation to feature in the games at the Olympics, as it would be part of the 2020 games.

Aside the female event, the World Shotokan Karate-De Federation, Nigerian Chapter, Bamgboye revealed, will hold a Karate seminar to be conducted by WSKF Chief Instructor, Kasuya Sensei, from June 10 to 12.

He described it as part of events of the 2016 Karate Festival billed to hold at the VGC Club, Lekki Lagos, adding that the seminar would go a long way to help build confidence on Nigerian students aspiring to make impact at the 2020 Olympics.

“After the female Karate Championship, the following week, a WSKF Chief Instructor will be visiting Nigeria for the first time. Kasuya Sensei who graduated from the famous JKA instructor class in the early 70s and won numerous competitions during his younger years in the sport, is excited to come to Nigeria and pass on his knowledge to all those that will be able to attend his seminar at the VGC Club, Lekki, from June 10 to 12 at the VGC club hall, from 1.00 p.m. to 5.00 p.m.

“WSKF Nigeria is honoured to be working with the LSKA and NASK on these events and we are looking forward to collaborating with other karate organisations that share our vision of “karate-do” in Nigeria.

“We also hope there is a high turn out for the ladies competition so our ladies can showcase the skills they have acquired over time due to hard and dedicated training. This would be the third in its series and the “Brain Child” of Hajiya Zainab Saleh  (fourth Dan Shotokan), who is a senior karate-ka, the sponsor and also the technical director of karate of the Lagos State government,’’ he said.

“The karate seminars are open to men and women, who participate in all karate styles, organisations, groups and non-affiliated groups. All traditional karate protocols are to be adhered to during the seminar, where the attendants would display the true spirit and etiquette of budo in the training hall (Dojo) at all times.

“The seminar is for everybody to improve on our knowledge base in the art of karate,’’ he added.
He revealed that the championships are in association with the Lagos State Karate Association, Nigerian Association of Shotokan Karate and the World Shotokan Karate-Do Federation of Nigeria.


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