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Perth 2019: Finding warmth in the cold

In July 2019, Shinyuukai participated in the 12th International Shito-ryu Karate Taikai held in Fremantle Perth, Australia. We competed alongside 9 other nations and bagged a total of 9 medals — 2 golds🥇, 5 silvers🥈and 2 bronzes🥉. On top of that, six of our black belters also completed their respective gradings and advanced to their next dan.

Clement (centre) and the sea of international black belters.

Our trip began as we stepped out of Perth Airport. We quickly realised our greatest challenger wasn’t a physical opponent — it was the weather. Accustomed to hot and humid Singapore, we were not used to the cold.

When it comes to training, any open space works!

And so our training continued in a new environment. Getting out of the warm comfy blankets in the morning was tough, but our #sykwarriors were determined to give their all. Who would have thought that we would be training on an uneven grass patch, right opposite the hotel, with the cold wind piercing our skin? But of course, every cold grueling training would be followed by a hearty warm meal that no one could refuse.

The mandatory cake-cutting shot!

This competition presented many challenges but definitely brought our #sykwarriors closer together, strengthening our spirit. Everyone was cheering and clapping for one another during the intense matches. Winning or losing hardly mattered to us. We celebrated everyone’s efforts, regardless of the results. (Speaking of celebrations, we surprised Karen for her birthday, which coincided with the competition day too!) As we spent more time together, this competition trip quickly felt like a family getaway.

As 4th dan Chew Wai Kong remembers, “[The team’s] perseverance and grit was a huge motivation for me and I am thankful that I had the opportunity to experience this with a group of passionate karatekas. The best takeaways from this journey were not the medals but the friendships that were forged and the memories that were made.”

Looking good on the podium, Wai Kong.

The Competition posed many challenges for our #sykwarriors. Namely, the cold weather, competing on hard wooden floors, a new point system, and having to balance between training and work/studies. At first glance, there were many new factors involved. However, we were glad that the team spirit and grit of the team pushed and helped us to grow into better karatekas.

Yet, we missed the warm weather and local food back home, and were eager to head back. It was a bittersweet goodbye as this Shinyuukai competition adventure came to an end.


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