CHENNAI: Srivarsha is a soft-spoken kid of a few words. But once she’s on the mat, she lets Karate do the talking! The Chennai-based girl in Class 6 is among the four who won medals at the USA Open, which was held a few months ago in Las Vegas.
The competition saw the convergence of about 40 countries and over 2,000 participants. “We practiced vigorously for a month. The first 10 days, we trained for two hours in the morning and two in the evening. The next 20 days were a test of endurance and stamina where we practiced for nine hours from 9 am to 6 pm,” shares ‘Sensei’ Suresh, who runs Legends Karate in Porur.
Yaminye Prabha, a Class 12 student, managed to balance school work and karate and excelled in both. Bagging the second rank in school and the first place in the 14-17 Team Kata categories, she talks of her inspiration. “Karate Kid is my inspiration. I wanted to join Karate only after that movie.. I’ve been doing this for five years,” she smiles.
Speaking about her experience during the USA Open, Yaminye recalls that one of the best moments was when they were walking around wearing their India jersey. “Several Indians came up to us, took pictures and gave us words of encouragement,” she says.
For Srivarsha, the experience was something different right from the beginning. “I met so many different people... Everything about them, from their way of talking to their dressing and mannerisms was different,” she smiles.
Hoping to achieve big in Karate, Srivarsha adds, “Participants from other countries have very fast moves and are professionals. But with enough practice, we will match them. We want to achieve something big.” Despite being only in Class 6, she had the full backing of her father, KingMakers IAS Academy MD Boominathan, to go abroad for the tournament.
Aravindha Baabu, a class 9 student was the overenthusiastic one. He practiced even at home after the gruelling workouts. “It was tough, but we had trained enough to win,” he says solemnly. “We have to thank the parents and the kids’ schools for being so cooperative,” says Suresh, who himself was a part of the team that won first place in the 18-34 Team Kata. “We also had support and guidance from Karate R Thiagarajan, president of the Karate Association of India,” adds Suresh.
Next, the team plans to contest in the Nationals and nurture hopes of representing the country in the Commonwealth Karate Championships. “Our ultimate aim is to take part in the 2020 Olympics,” says Yaminye. Karate is one of the sports proposed to be added in the future.
“The motto of my academy is to reach for the stars,” says Suresh. And as we take a look at the serious-faced young talents performing powerful kata moves for the camera and leaping two feet off the ground, we get what he’s talking about.
What is a Kata?
A choreographed series of Karate movements that lets one engage the opponent using a systematic approach, rather than in a disorderly manner