GARDEN ROUTE NEWS - SA JKA Karate Knysna and Plettenberg Bay spent the month of October helping raise awareness of breast cancer by wearing pink karate belts in place of the usual colour-graded belts.
The pink-belt initiative undertaken by the local dojos and karatekas forms part of the wider initiative led by the SA Japan Karate Association (JKA) around the country, which sees hundreds of dojos and thousands of students don pink belts in October every year to help raise awareness of breast cancer.
One of the biggest goals for the initiative is to help raise awareness among younger children, while also granting them a better understanding of exactly what cancer is and what causes it.
For sensei John Peach, instructor at the two SA JKA dojos in Knysna and Plett, the initiative is something very personal for him and his students. "This is something that holds a very special place in our hearts, especially mine," he said. The initiative not only helps raise awareness around breast cancer, but also helps ground the students a bit by removing the usual grading system and placing them on a level playing field with a uniform pink belt, according to Peach.
Part of the initiative was also bringing a local nurse from the Knysna-Sedgefield Hospice to the two dojos to speak to the karatekas helping them improve their knowledge of cancer, and granting them a better understanding of what can cause it too, and the children enjoyed a productive Q&A session with Sister Dina Arends.
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