Sooke Shukokai student Suzi Dickinson

Karate club preaches control

Martial arts group in Sooke seeking new students, registration open all year round.

Power, speed, control. These are the three characteristics emphasized by Kimura Shukokai and taught to Sooke Shukokai Karate (SSK) students by sensei Alida Ensil.

“We are no contact, believe it or not,” said Ensil.

Don’t be fooled — no contact doesn’t mean this is some kind of watered down form of martial arts. The sharp sound of fists and feet on leather echoed in the SEAPARC fitness room when the club held an open house there last month.

“You need to have the power, the speed, but you also need the control. When I’m on the street (and need to defend myself) no way, I don’t need control but here in the club for training, yeah,” Ensil said, demonstrating a full-speed wind-up punch with her fist stopping millimetres from its intended target.

She has been in charge of SSK since it started in its current form in 2009. Previously, Ensil was a student herself, along with her kids, when another sensei from Brentwood Bay was running a club in the early 2000s. After that folded, a few of the students stayed on, along with her, and it grew from a handful of members of mostly women to now over 40 people of both sexes and all ages.

“It’s very family-oriented. We’ve got a dad and he’s training with two of his daughters.”

Practices are held at Saseenos Elementary on Tuesdays and Thursday nights and on Monday nights at the Shirley Hall. Part of Karate BC, SSK also takes part in competitions, which are optional.

“Some people just do it for fun, some people do it with their kids to condition, but some people are purely in here for the competition.”

Right now, Ensil is the only black belt in the club, although she said by next year there should be another two or three that have risen through the ranks. A full-time foster parent, she said she relies a lot on the higher-grade students that help out with the newer ones.

“That’s part of karate, right?” said Ensil. “I couldn’t do this alone.”

Registration is open year round, email sookeshukokai@live.com if you’d like to join.

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