Abby Wilson (left) and Kim Garcia work through a pattern at the Cheam Yama Dojo.

Making the grade at Cheam Yama Dojo

Agassiz karate students kick it up a notch for black belts

Achieving a black belt in karate isn’t just about brawn and agility.

It’s not how fast you kick and it’s not in the way you hold your weapons.

It’s about how you hold you head. It’s attitude, and behavour.

But to get there, you still have to put in the work. And on Saturday, several students at the Cheam Yama Dojo in Agassiz worked at their grading, for as long as three hours.

And after a grueling afternoon of focus, they passed.

Deanna Wilson earned her brown belt, Ann Schneider and Kim Garcia earned their black belts, and Nathan McKay earned his ‘ni dan’, or second level black belt.

The 18-year-old has been attending class at the dojo since he was little boy.

Karate is a part of him, but he was still surprised when his sensai called to say that he was ready for grading up a level. There are 10 levels to black belt — increasingly more difficult and nearly impossible to complete in a lifetime.

But McKay plans to keep working at it. a

“It would be hard to leave it,” he said. Practicing the martial art has always provided a way to release tension, calm down and focus, he added.

“I always feel calm and open minded when I leave,” he said. “You always forget what’s going on in the outside world.”

For Garcia, 16, karate is a time to relax and feel accepted. She struggles with health issues, such as asthma, and pushing through for hours on end can leave her exhausted.

That’s where the discipline comes in, says sensai Bruce Tupling.

“No matter how busy your life is, what happens in your day, or if you’re feeling well or not, you come here,” he said. That’s the first step.

The second step is self confidence — a natural progression from the discipline.

“The self confidence comes from being here and learning what we do,” he said.

And once a student really nails the discipline and the confidence, the athletics follow suit.

But it’s really the least important aspect of a black belt, he explained.

“It’s everything they do once they step inside the dojo,” he said. “Ability is the last thing, almost the least important.”

At the same time, ability is something. And on Saturday, Tupling’s four students all showed their skills.

For Wilson and Schneider, they also showed what amazing things can happen when family supports each other. Schneider is Wilson’s mother, and grandma to former student Ian Wison and current student Abby Wilson.

“It all started with my grandson when he was five” Schneider said. “And Abby has been around it all her life.”

Schneider decided to join the dojo in 2005.

“It’s something I always wanted to to,” she said, and she jumped into it with the hopes of helping her balance and memory as she faced the inevitability of aging. And it’s helped, she said.

“Self defense is not really why I’m here,” she said.

Earning her black belt on Saturday was the second biggest accomplishment in her life to date, she said — second only to her children. But for Schneider, the practice of karate has given her gifts she wasn’t expecting at all.

“I’ve learned to let people into my own space,” she said. “You do learn to let people in, because you learn to trust people, and trust yourself.”

To learn more, visit the Cheam Yama Dojo on Facebook.

news@ahobserver.com

 

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kent council votes 4-1 in favour of Teacup properties development

Coun. Kerstin Schwichtenberg was the only ‘no’ in difficult vote

MP Vis advocates for faster internet in rural communities

Less than 45 per cent of rural households in Canada have high-speed internet

Peace on the water

Harrison Lake was rather serene recently with the lack of usual traffic… Continue reading

UPDATE: Police oversight agency investigating after shots fired Saturday night in Chilliwack neighbourhood

RCMP reported a ‘distraught male’ fired at police officers on Christina Drive – IIO is on scene Sunday

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Kelowna man charged with harming a hamster

The 20-year-old Kelowna man faces several animal cruelty charges

High tech fish transport system set up to ‘whoosh’ salmon past Big Bar landslide

Fish will spend roughly 20 seconds inside the system, moving at roughly 20 metres per second

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Snowbirds jets will not be leaving Kamloops, just yet

The Snowbirds have been in Kamloops since May 17 when a plane crashed killing Capt. Jennifer Casey

COVID-19 checkpoints ‘up to them,’ Bonnie Henry says of remote B.C. villages

Support local tourism economy, but only if you’re invited in

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

Eight people arrested in Victoria homeless camp after enforcement order issued

Those living in tents were given until May 20 to move indoors

Most Read