Duo awarded black belts in karate

Senpai and sensei . . . Senior student Mark Walter (left) and teacher Brian Walters have completed their respective black belt gradings.

Brian Walters and Mark Walter, both of Timaru, have started the new year with a kick and a punch, having just completed their Seido karate black belt gradings.

Mr Walter, who started karate in 2008, achieved his nidan second dan black belt, while Mr Walters, who began in 1983, achieved his yodan fourth dan black belt.

Mr Walters said he got into karate as he passed the dojo every day on his way to work, and saw the people outside doing it.

Mr Walter started as he had a friend who had just achieved his black belt and wanted to do something similar.

‘‘I work in a stressful environment and karate is a good way to refocus,’’ he said.

Mr Walters said he also found karate a good way to refocus.

‘‘Working in real estate can be stressful and while I am not sitting around as much, I like to move around and karate is a good stress relief.’’

They agreed karate was a very supportive environment, as everyone helped each other, and that they do not do it just to beat each other.

‘‘Just give it a go, there are beginners classes every Tuesday and they are free until your first grading,’’ Mr Walters said.

Mr Walter said getting started was the most important thing.

They were able to give back by teaching, and had to put themselves back in the beginner mindset when they moved up a grade.

‘‘We have gone up a grade and we have more to learn, so we are back to being beginners ourselves for this new grade level,’’ Mr Walters said.

His grading at the annual camp had its challenges as it was a big step up.

‘‘For me it was the unknown — you didn’t know what was to come as you turn up on Friday and on Sunday you still didn’t know if you passed or not.’’

Mr Walter said for his closed grading, the mental challenge was hard.

‘‘It is designed for you to be pushed and find your limit and then you go past your limit for a bit.’’

They said anyone can start at any time.

There were families involved where the children had started and the parents decide to join in too.

‘‘You have got people from all walks of life doing karate,’’ Mr Walters said.

‘‘It is about self-improvement — you are competing against yourself,’’ Mr Walter said.