The ancient art of Shotokan Karate teaches its students humility, respect, compassion and patience as well as inward and outward calmness while it also teaches them self-defense, confidence, discipline, courage and honor.
The Manning School of Shotokan Karate has only been in existence since December and already its students are garnering respect at competitions throughout South Carolina and North Carolina.
At a recent competition in East Lumberton, N.C., Anthony Fernandez and Lakesha Carolina dominated the competition earning five first place awards and one second place award.
Fernandez placed first in kihon (basics), kata (forms) and kumite (sparring). Carolina placed first in kihon and kata and placed second in kumite.
Both Fernandez and Carolina have been students of the martial arts only since the school’s inception.
With just four months of training under his belt, Fernandez won the Grand Championship on March 31 at the Low Country Warriors Classic Martial Arts Tournament in Bluffton.
Fernandez is currently a yellow belt while Carolina holds an orange belt, which notes a higher skill level.
Shihan (George) Wilson teaches classes in Shotokan Karate at the old Head Start building on West Huggins Street in Manning. Classes are held at 6 p.m. every Monday and Wednesday and at noon on Saturday when the students aren’t away at competitions.
Wilson, who has been studying the art of Shotokan Karate for almost 43 years, holds a seventh degree black belt, the highest rank in this part of the state.
While Wilson said he is proud of all of his students, he’s particularly proud of Carolina.
“She’s overcome a lot of adversity to get to where she is,” Wilson said. “She’s had surgery on both feet. She was shy. Now, she has a lot of confidence and she’s doing extremely well.”
To be winning first place awards in competitions after just seven months of classes is quite an accomplishment for the two students, Wilson added.
Wilson said too many people consider the martial arts as a lot of kicking and punching.
“While it does teach self-defense, it offers students so much more,” he added. “They learn how to control themselves, their anger and how to put things in perspective.”
Several movie stars hold belts in Shotokan Karate, including Jean-Claude Van Damme, Wesley Snipes and Michael Jai White.