Luyanda Dukanamahlathi Mntonga started karate in 2010 while doing the boot-camp extended course at Vaal University of Technology (VUT). He has been grading (moving to a rank higher than the current one) from then until May 2017 where he got his first dan black belt.
In June 2017, the VUT karate team took part in the USSA (University Sport South Africa) championships where they came third overall. Mr Mntonga picked up two gold medals, one in combat and the other in kata (combat against imaginary opponents where the practitioner is judged on his/her technique and inner strength).
He was then selected to go to Russia for the Kyokushin World Union Tournament 2017 which he unfortunately wasn’t able to attend due to some political issues.
Karate in South Africa is not yet considered as a major sport, so the administration and logistics thereof is up to the gakuseis (students) and the sensei’s (instructors) to sort out; and if the sensei’s have issues with one another it becomes a nightmare for the gakuseis to go attend these big tournaments. He will, however, go to Japan in June this year for the Kyokushin World Union Tournament 2018.
Mr Mntonga sees his sport as a way of life. He says it is something which structures one’s life and helps in the development of good character and discipline.
“Karate is not only something which involves kicking and punching, but it also has a whole philosophy and etiquette at its core. If the essence of traditional martial arts can be given a description, it is that ‘the one who possesses true strength is the one who can cause harm but chooses not to’,” he says.