Karate at USJ

Karate is one of the most popular martial arts among many existing today. This significance has been occupied by Karate because of its vigour and the scientifically proven techniques used. Karate is not just a sport. To be precise, it is a martial art. It is believed to have its origin in the islands of Okinawa which is a part of Japan, and then brought into public demonstration and practice by sensei Gichin Funakoshi. He is considered as the father of modern Karate. In Japanese “Karate-do” implies “the way of the empty hand”. It is a way of lifestyle that goes well beyond the self-defense which strengthens both the mind and the body.

Four Main distinctive Japanese styles of Karate which have evolved so far are Goju, Shito, Shotokan and Wado. Modern Karate is both practiced as a martial art as well as a sport. In Sri Lanka, kumite (fighting) and kata (patterns of movements) are practiced individually as well as in groups.

“Dojo” is the gathering place of karate students. Before entering the dojo, students take off their shoes and bow the dojo, and when they leave the dojo they do bow again. Before and after any encounter with the sensei, practicing with other karate students and fighting with an opponent it is a core etiquette to bow each other. It is a mark of respect and gratitude. Karate is not just about fighting or defending. It is about patience, attention, speed, reaction time and most importantly never ending courageous hard practice. Karate begins and ends with respect while discipline is the essence which transforms a novice to a master.

The karate team of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura has a very significant history among the universities of Sri Lanka as a pioneer in practicing karate as the traditional Japanese budo, or simply, Shotokan traditional martial art. Currently, the boys\’ karate team is headed by the captain, C.R.U. Korala, vice-captain, S.N.C.M.N.K.Nugawela and the women’s\’ team is led by captain, A.P.S.P. Abeysooriya and the vice-captain, V.A.B.Dilruki. The team marks its excellence over the years with continuous and consecutive victories in Inter-University Tournaments, SLUG and tournaments organized by various karate associations like Sri Lanka Shotokan Karate Federation, Sri Lanka Karate Do Federation etc.

In the 2015 Inter-University Games, D. Lakshan became the men’s best player of the year and S. Kaushalya became the women’s best player of the year, while both the men’s and women’s teams altogether won 3 silver medals and a bronze medal in Kumite category acquiring overall the 6th place . In the year 2016, E.D. Priyadarshani became the Kumite gold medal winner at the national level tournaments. In the same year, she became the best player of the year in the women\’s category by winning the gold medal for Kumite at the Inter-University Games, while P.G. Maduwantha was the best player of the year winning a bronze medal for Kumite. Overall, the team was in 4th place winning a gold medal, a silver medal and three bronze medals in the Kumite category.

In the year 2017, the women’s team won one gold medal ( E.D. Priyadarshani, Kata and Kumite), one silver medal ( Chathu Pathirage, Kumite), and a bronze medal (A.P.S.P. Abeysooriya, Kumite) while the men’s team was able to secure two bronze medals ( P.G. Maduwantha, C.P. Balasooriya, Kumite) at the national level tournaments. They were the overall 1st runner-up at the Inter-University Games acquiring three gold medals, one silver medal and five bronze medals. In the year 2018, V.A.B. Dilruki from the women’s team was selected for World University Kata. Notably, in that same year, the women’s team won 3 gold medals, one silver medal and one bronze medal at the national level tournaments while winning one gold medal, one silver medal and two bronze medals at Inter-University Games. In this year, the men’s team won four bronze medals at the national level tournaments while winning one gold medal, two silver medals and two bronze medals at Inter-University Games. The endeavor of both the men’s and women’s teams secured the 5th place overall at the Inter-University Games this year. Several SLUG nominated players also emerged from the team. (M. Harshana, N.K. Silva, E.D. Priyadarshani, A.P.S.P. Abeysooriya).

Behind all these achievements stands the Sensei Rohana Greasman, whose wise, masterful guidance has helped J’pura Karate stand apart and stand tall over the years. He has been the coach for the team since 2010 and for a significant ten years being an un comparable strength for the team like no other. He is the current treasurer of the Sri Lanka Karate-do Federation and the chief instructor and a representative of the IJKA Sri Lanka Branch.

As the founder of modern Karate, Sensei Gichin Funakoshi once said, the ultimate aim of Karate lies not in victory or defeat, but in the perfection of the character of its participants. Karate has given that spirit for the lives of the players to succeed at whatever the missions they are involved in their lives, while gifting so many black belt skilled martial artists, national champions as well as international players to the nation. We, the Flamians, wish all the strength and good luck for the J’pura karate team to conquer each and every victory all of you deserve for your hardwork and practice.

Written by: Maheesha Piyarathne
Graphic designed by : Jithmi Rajapaksha

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