The International Karate Organization’s (IKO) Academy of Guyana consistent with a commitment it gave to the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport has commenced an ‘engagement through community-based sport’ agenda in Guyana.
On Saturday last the body partnered with the Learning Nest Foundation, an NGO formed with the intention of giving the younger generation a chance at having a different perception of the world. IKO Guyana visited and spent the day at the Laluni area, a farming community on the Soesdyke-Linden Highway where the Karatekas held a demonstration of katas, kumite, embu and bunkai routines. Shihan Jeffrey Wong, a 7th Dan Black Belt who is the Chairman and Chief Instructor of Guyana’s premier karate organization, said sport has a unique way of making a positive social and cultural impact in communities and countries throughout the world.
Shihan Wong wanted his organization to focus on the “bigger picture”, by taking the time to understand and recognize gaps in communities that the IKO could fill by building and maintaining effective relationships between his organization and the people of Guyana, particularly the youths.
Wong said that using Karate as the vehicle, he wanted to encourage active lifestyles, encourage the right behaviour, build respect and tolerance, develop role models, achieve aspirations and build community relationships.
Vice Chairman and Vice Chief Instructor of IKO Academy of Guyana Professor Aubrey Mendonca of Iowa State University stated that engaging a community through sports can mean many different things to many different people, but believes the old adage “it takes a village” to make something good happen.
Professor Mendonca, who is currently on another of his regular visits to Guyana, said that sport is a unifier of people, and allows for the creation of a common identity within a certain culture of people, igniting passion, loyalty and community enthusiasm.
Under a program it is calling ‘Guyana Kickz’ IKO Academy of Guyana intends to visit, set up clubs and train youths in the martial art of Karate-do in all three counties of Essequibo, Demerara and Berbice which they are confident will lead to the reduction in the local level of crime and antisocial behavior in Guyana, through the provision of inspiration, motivation and the skills required to negotiate life in and out of the dojo.
In light of the of the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic, the Guyana Kickz initiative being pursued by the IKO Academy of Guyana, shall be placing special emphasis on showing that karate is a sport that can be practiced safely, through the “3 Cs” (no closed spaces, no crowded places, no close-contact settings).