Williams Lake Shogun Martial Arts Academy Senseis Sheldon and Lee-Ann Lainchbury had a big surprise in store for one of their own this past weekend when they played host to the World Karate and Kickboxing Council Provincial Championships.
That surprise came in the form of a special honour bestowed upon Smithers Shogun Martial Arts Renshi Marwan Abu Khadra. Unbeknownst to Khadra, WKC’s grand master, Shihan Geert Lemmens, had travelled all the way from Heidenberg, Germany, to grant Khadra his seventh dan black belt. Lemmens is the master of the Shogun Martial Arts Academy’s discipline (kadgamala karate).
Renshi Mihran Aghvinian also travelled to Williams Lake from Los Angeles, CA., to be a part of the ceremony, which helped kick off the provincial championships.
Khadra’s seventh dan was presented to him in recognition of the work he’s done for Shogun Martial Arts in B.C.
“His performance would need a few hours to tell you,” joked Shihan Lemmens. “He’s changing things in people, and I think that’s the most important. If you see these guys the attitude of the students is thanks to education. You will find this where all our students are presenting themselves with a great attitude, and I think that’s most important in education and karate.”
Khadra’s friend, teammate and training partner Aghvinian echoed Lemmens’ comments.
“It’s an honour to be here today on the day when [Khadra] gets what he deserves, and the only man who could give it to him was our grandmaster, who came all the way from Germany to do this in front of our [Shogun] students so they know how special he is,” Aghvinian said.
“We have to give credit to Sheldon and Lee-Ann because they made it happen. We’re very happy and proud to be here and enjoying the event and the people here. They’re very warm-hearted, very nice, welcoming people and I have to say I love it here.”
Khadra said receiving his seventh dan is the greatest honour he could achieve.
“It comes from the highest for me,” Khadra said.
“There is nothing higher. Shihan Lemmens, getting it from him, for me, is the achievement. It was a surprise and it was a well done surprise. Shihan Lemmens is my father figure and I always look up to him. If a student asks me a question I ask myself what Shihan would tell me to do.”
Khadra and Aghvinian began training with Lemmens in 1977 and, in turn, helped train and prepare Sheldon and Lee-Ann to open their own dojo in Williams Lake.
Martial artists competing at the WKC Provincials Saturday at the Williams Lake secondary gym were given the opportunity to earn a spot at the WKC National Championships in May in Ottawa.
Events included kata, team kata, point fighting and continuous fighting.
At nationals the top four in each division will earn a berth to the world championships this year in Italy.
For results from Saturday’s provincials see a future Tribune.