An Eastern Cape sensei has been awarded the prestigious shihan title, which is only bestowed to selected karateka who dedicate themselves to martial arts.
Clayton Thom formed part of a delegation who visited Japan for two weeks (March 28 to April 10), where he was awarded the shihan title. He is the first person from the Eastern Province Goju-kai Karate to receive the title.
The delegation participated in intensive traditional training with the president of Goju-kai karate, Seiko Shihan Goshi Yamagutchi, and other senior members.
“Karate is not just a sport or art to most of its practitioners, it becomes a way of life. A karateka continues to strive towards improving physically, mentally, emotionally daily,”Thom said.
“The growth of oneself and realising your full potential is always the objective.
“Although one does not practise the art for any form of recognition, to receive an accolade like this is an honour not bestowed on many.”
He is the sensei at the Goju-kai karate dojo in Hillside, Port Elizabeth, and has trained in karate for 30 years.
He held the world champion senior kumite in Goju-kai Karate (fighting) title in 2009.
He currently has a 5th Dan in Goju-Kai karate. He is the team coach for Karate South Africa as well as Eastern Cape Karate and a former team member of Karate South Africa.
“Potential candidates are recommended for the new ranking, which has to be agreed to by the majority vote by all shihan of the country of recommended candidates. The president then has the final decision,” Thom said.