Top martial artist Tetsuji Nakamura hosts karate masterclass at ASB Sports Centre
Dozens of Wellington athletes have taken the rare opportunity to learn from, and train with, one of the world's most senior karate instructors.
World chief instructor Sensei Tetsuji Nakamura from the International Okinawan Goju-ryu Karate-Do Federation has been in town for a three-day training camp with students old and young.
The federation is a network comprising more than 75,000 members in 55 countries, all dedicated to preserving 1000-plus years of karate history.
Wellington Sensai Rajesh Ravji said it was a "real honour" to have the newly-appointed instructor not only visit the capital, but use his platform to inspire those practising the discipline locally.
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"My objective for the training camp was to create exposure for my intermediate grades so they realise they are part of an extremely large organisation, which spans across the globe, he said.
"It's one filled with depth and talent, which can open the doors to their own personal development."
During the camp, known as the Oceania Gasshuku, the students practised self defence techniques, traditional kata forms and many applications of the traditional kata.
Representatives from 30 Goju Ryu clubs across New Zealand took part including a team from Australia, much to the delight of Ravji, who helped organise the event.
"In today's fast-paced, technology-driven world, it seems there is still an important place for karate to provide physical, mental and spiritual training for all ages and abilities."
Ravji said plenty of pathways were available to karate students once they had decided to commit to the discipline.
"They can follow in the footsteps of some of my senior students who have recently graded for their black belts and travelled to Okinawa to practise with our master.
"What separates us from a lot of styles is once you've done the competition rounds there is still more to learn, develop and improve on," he said.
The final training session saw the large group, all clad in white, gather at Lyall Bay Beach for an intensive workout involving basic blocks, punches and kicks, followed by sparring and kata.
Sensei Nakamura gradually moved the training from the sand into the sea giving those gathered a refreshing way to cool off after three days of hard work.
*For those interested in finding out more about traditional karate, visit karate.org.nz/dojos/wellington.