A display of grit and skill: Two VUT students steal the show at the Nakamura Kyokushin Karate Tournament 2023
By: Qhawekazi Memani – 11 October 2023
Left to right: Tumisho Thobejane,Palesa Mokoena (coach) and Andile Masilela
In a display of unparalleled skill and determination, the IKO Nakamura Kyokushin Karate Tournament took center stage at the Vosloorus Civic Centre on the 7th of October 2023, where two Vaal University of Technology (VUT) students and karatekas showcased their mettle, earning silver and gold trophies.
Andile Masilela and Tumisho Thobejane, both in their advanced diploma studies, pursuing Electrical Engineering (eletronics) and Biomedical Technology, respectively, showcased exceptional performance at the tournament. They secured the first and second positions in their respective categories.
This annual event, a cornerstone in the African karate calendar, served as a platform to exhibit the finest knock-down fighting abilities from across the continent. Although not restricted to university participants, the tournament saw esteemed institutions like VUT, North- West University (NWU), and the Walter Sisulu University (WSU) showing what they are made of, adding an extra layer of competition to the already charged atmosphere.
One of the standout moments of the tournament was the remarkable performance of the fighters, who exhibited not only their hard-earned skills but also a level of readiness that left spectators in awe. This display of prowess was not without reason, for these warriors were preparing for an upcoming international showdown in Kazakhstan, where they would proudly represent South Africa on the global stage.
For Andile hailing from Katlehong, this victory was not just a triumph; it symbolized the culmination of tireless preparation and unwavering dedication. His resounding knockout victory echoed through the arena, leaving no doubt about his mettle. Andile, also known as “The Ghost,” reflected on the significance of this win, stating, “This means everything because the preparations and the sweat we went through proved to be effective in us winning. The results were great.” He went on to share his ambitious plans which he says include becoming a world champion, not just international champion.
His advice for those considering entering the world of karate was both insightful and motivating. “The sport is a very fun and entertaining one to spend time in and be a part of,” he expressed. “You also gain a new family, and the most important part of it is that you actually learn a lot about yourself the most. Whatever you learn in karate (principles), you can actually use them in your daily life.”
Another standout performer, Tumisho also from Katlehong, proudly represented not only VUT but her community on the grand stage of karate. Her knockout victory not only showcased her formidable skills but also marked a significant moment for women in this male-dominated sport.
For her, this achievement carried profound meaning. “The recent achievement holds significant value for me, my senseis, and the karate family,” she shared. “As a woman in a male-dominated sport, it encourages me to work even harder, as it also showcases the spirit of sportsmanship.” Her humility in both victory and defeat set an inspiring example for aspiring karatekas, proving that true strength lies in grace.
Tumisho’s aspirations reach beyond personal accolades. She envisions her success as a beacon to draw more women into the world of karate, fostering growth and empowerment in this challenging discipline. She credited Kyokushinkan for instilling in her the values of discipline, perseverance, and humbleness.
In closing, the two had sage advice for those considering joining the ranks of karate enthusiasts. They emphasized the importance of approaching the sport with an open mind, a willingness to learn, and an understanding that it offers not just physical prowess, but also invaluable life lessons. “It’s a world full of excitement, challenges, and personal growth – a testament to the transformative power of martial arts.”
As a proud coach, Palesa Mokoena remarked, “As a coach, I am really proud of the fighters. They showed their hard work and readiness in preparation for their upcoming tournament in Kazakhstan, where they were also elected to represent South Africa.”
Congratulations to karate athletes for flying the MaVUTi Flag high!