Special to The Garden Island – Sensei Gwen walked calmly around the class lined up respectfully in their crisp white gis.
She picked up belts of various colors and stepped to the front of her students once again. She stood calmly until all of their attention was focused on her face. So began the belt ceremony of Sensei Gwen’s Karate class.
The hard-working KASA kids were about to receive the advancement they had earned by concentrated effort and discipline, by learning and performing the katas taught patiently and expertly to them by a master of Karate, Sensei Gwen Tamura.
Sensei Gwen has taught Karate and coached students on Kaua’i for many years. She has worked with students from Kaua’i Arts and Science Academy for several years, schooling them twice a week as part of KASA’s physical education program. She also offers Karate class through the Kaua’i Parks District at Kilauea Gym on Tuesday, from 5 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.
Her lessons are based on five key components: honor, respect, discipline, loyalty, and concentration. She instructs by example and demonstration, building the confidence and self-reliance of her students.
She is a firm believer in self-discipline. She encourages her students to use intelligence to face life’s challenges instead of relying on brute strength to react to situations impulsively with violence.
Her students are taught respect, which fits perfectly with KASA’s first rule: Treat everyone and everything with respect.
These respectful Karate students had worked hard. They, their parents and teachers were pleased. Their awards served as a challenge to themselves and the other students to achieve greater goals in the future, definitely in Karate, but in other areas of their lives as well.
As Sensei Gwen presented the belts to the deserving students, each face beamed as they bowed respectfully to their honored teacher and left the group to trade their old, well-worn belts for the bright, new ones, each belt earned through hard work, and dedication to the art of Karate.
Each student rejoined the group as others were recognized. The ceremony over, the parents and other audience members marveled at the concentration they had witnessed in each face as the students demonstrated the intricate katas perfectly.
The audience applauded the KASA kids’ efforts and photos were snapped as families and friends congratulated Sensei Gwen and the KASA kids.
How many people experience the value of difficult lessons learned and demanding goals achieved through personal dedication and practice?
These are some of the core values fostered by Sensei Gwen as she guides her pupils through her program. Arigato, Sensei Gwen, for all of your hard work and dedication to the keiki of Kaua’i.