REPORT – World Bravery Karate Championships Turkey August 2007
On the 31st of August, the South African full contact karate team, comprising members of Ashihara Karate, African Enshin as well as Kyokushin (Matsushima) returned from Turkey after competing in Ashihara's World Bravery Games, a full contact - no pads, no gloves event fought on grass in a soccer stadium, organised by the Turkish Ashihara Sayokan Federation. This event really challenged the fighters viz. fighting time (2 x 5 minutes rounds), fighting surface (on grass), altitude, heat (outside in over 30 degrees) and really lived up to its name - the Bravery Games.
Hoosain Narker served as delegation leader, with Shihan Trevor Fredericks (UWC dojo) as the Seniors Coach, Aysha Narker as the Juniors Coach and Shihan Neville Paulsen as the Manager. The team placed third overall out of an entry of 39 countries with Haashim Mullins narrowly missing gold in the lightweight division as he could not fight the final fight due to doctor's orders as he had sustained a bad cut above his eye in a previous fight. Haashim weighed in at 58kg and was the lightest fighter and outweighed by at least 20kg. He was well supported by everyone whenever he fought, even from rival countries as they admired his tremendous spirit.
Abubakr Petersen (Kyokushin Wynberg) was awarded with the "most technical fighter award". Abubakr made it to the second day and was unfortunately eliminated in the semi-finals. He got the 5th position in the middleweight division. Another person that made the semi-finals was Bonnie Ngobo - he placed 8th and was given a special medal for his excellent knockout victory.
Other members of the team were eliminated in the first day's rounds of fighting with Stanley Ngcobo, Gakiem Hayzer and Lwazi Dlamini winning two fights before losing out in their third match. Oldman Koboto won his first fight, but lost the second one due to what can only be described as referee's mistake when he was penalised for consistent sweeping and following up. The two junior members on the team, Joseph Hardenburg won a gold medal and the only female competitor, Nasiera Abrahams got a silver medal. Four of the team whilst not placing received awards for their excellent performance. The team was 12 persons strong with 8 of them being from the Cape.
What stood the team in good stead was the fact that Narker knew about acclimatising and carbo-loading. The tournament was held in Kayseri City and everyone stayed at a ski-resort (Erciyes) which was 2215m above sea-level. Narker had fought in Denver (the Mile High City) in the 1988 US Open Full Contact Challenge where he learnt the hard way about breathing at high altitude. The moment the team arrived in Erciyes, they ran and trained at least three times a day when most of the other countries took it easy.
Fighting time was 5 minutes at a soccer stadium on grass with the extension being another five minutes in the event of a draw - so they also carbo-loaded with Corn Syrup and Energade and it all proved to be effective as the team's overall points gave them the 3rd Place victory. The first position was taken by Iran - they had a team of over 30 fighters compared to the South African team's handful, with Turkey second (also a big team)
Prior to arriving in Turkey, the team visited Cairo and coach Narker even had them training at the Pyramids just to get used to the heat. All that stood in good stead. Whilst in Turkey, the team also had the opportunity to train in the Korean Sword Art of Haedong Kumdo as taught by Grandmaster Kim, Jeong Seong. A friendship was struck with him and he proudly wore one of our South Africa tops for the duration of his stay there.