Seabelo poised to become SA’s first Black with 7th Karate black belt – SABC News – Breaking news, special reports, world, business, sport coverage of all South African current events. Africa’s news leader.

Seabelo poised to become SA's first Black with 7th Karate black belt - SABC News - Breaking news, special reports, world, business, sport coverage of all South African current events. Africa's news leader.

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A testament to the enduring spirit of the martial arts is Chris Seabelo – a North West province-born Sensei. With over four decades of unwavering dedication to the art of karate, Seabelo has not only mastered the physical aspects but also embraced the profound philosophy that lies within the discipline.

Now he is poised to become the first black South African to achieve the 7th-degree black belt, the most highly-ranked belt in karate.

A life intertwined with the art of karate. Born and raised in Kanana village in Rustenburg, Chris Seabelo says martial arts movies stirred his interest in karate.

“When I was young, actually, what inspired me were the movies of Bruce Lee, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Jackie Chan. You know those action movies. So I was inspired. I wanted to see myself flying in the air, but that was not a real thing. It was just a fancy thing, but later on, as I started joining karate, I realised that karate was not only about action but was more about discipline. More about other benefits that, to me, played a significant role in my life because I was born a weak child. I didn’t have an opportunity to express myself. I did not perform well at school. So immediately, when I started joining karate, I started seeing all those benefits from a very tender age. So that’s when I started loving this sport.”

As Seabelo’s love for karate grew, he opened his own dojo to share his knowledge of karate with upcoming generations.

“There were a lot of previously disadvantaged communities that never had the opportunity that I had. And I said I have a lot of work to do. I didn’t want to be selfish and focus on myself only. I wanted to inspire all the other upcoming karate enthusiasts to make sure that I do not only keep the baton but also make sure that whenever I resign from competing and become an official, I want to make sure we have top black karatekas who play like me.”

He says his biggest achievement was attaining his current black belt. “For the first time in 2005, when I went to Japan, I became the first black to attain a 6th-degree black belt. in karate. That was the highest achievement, and it was all over the media and the world.

Now setting his eyes on the highest-ranked belt in Karate, he says this journey has not been easy. To meet the criteria, one should have trained for more than 40 years and be older than 50 years. Achieving this milestone will not only be significant to him but to the Karate fraternity as a whole. 

“What I am hoping to achieve is to make sure that I bring my 7th degree black belt. A 7th-degree black belt is equivalent to a doctorate in academic language. and if I bring that 7th-degree black belt to our country, to our province in particular, it will stimulate the growth of karate. It will stimulate the development of karate in our province.”

He assures South Africans that he will not return empty-handed. 

“When I arrive at the headquarters of World Karate Shotokan in Japan, from the first day, I will put all my efforts into ensuring that until the last day of training until the day of my grading, my concentration will be at its highest peak. Hence, I strongly believe that I will bring the 7th belt, and it will be for the benefit of our country. I want the North West to be proud. “I want the Royal Bafokeng nation to be proud of this achievement, and I promise to bring it home.

And his karatekas will support him all the way.

Karatekas at Seabelo Christopher Medupe Fitness Gym says, “What I can say to him is that his 7th black belt is not only significant to him but to the community also. So I am certainly 100% sure that he is going to bring it home, and I wish him all the best.”  

“I would like to wish him the best. I know he is capable, and he’s going to bring the 7th black belt to South Africa,” says one of the karatekas.

“I feel very happy for him, and I am glad that his hard work has finally paid off,” says one of the karatekas.

“He’s worked really hard, and I feel like even if he does not win, he is still going to come back the same,” says one of the karatekas.

 The Japan Karate Association World Federation instructors’ seminar and grading take place between the 8th and 16th of October.