IKO Academy of Guyana shares five-year plan with Sport Minister
The International Karate Organisation (IKO) Academy of Guyana recently paid a courtesy call on the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Charles Ramson Jr., at his office on Main Street, Georgetown.
The delegation, which was led by the Chairman and Chief Instructor of the IKO Academy of Guyana Shihan Jeffrey Wong 7th Degree Black Belt, included the Vice-Chief Instructor and Vice-Chairman Professor Aubrey Mendonca, Vice-President Waynewright Orderson, Committee Members Trevor Hurry and Eulex Stephens, and Karatekas Aliya Wong Third Dan, Tyler Orderson Third Dan, Tashana Wong Third Dan, Otto Harris Second Dan and Chelsea Ram Second Dan.
Vice-President Waynewright Orderson presented to the Minister the plans for developing the sport of Karate-do in Guyana over the next five years and beyond and proposals of how the Academy could collaborate with the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport to advance the martial art and combat sport throughout the length and breadth of Guyana.
Professor Aubrey Mendonca pointed out to the Minister that contrary to the belief in some quarters, martial arts classes do not make youngsters violent and asserted that juvenile delinquents in Guyana could benefit from classes to help to rehabilitate them.
He highlighted the fact that learning karate can combat bullying, as research has shown that martial arts reduces physical and verbal aggression, theft and vandalism.
He indicated the intention of the Academy with the Ministry’s permission to provide free classes to help to rehabilitate juvenile delinquents at the Juvenile Holding Centre in Sophia and at the New Opportunity Corps (NOC), Holding Centre in Essequibo, Region Two of Guyana.
Karateka Tyler Orderson, in his presentation to the Minister, dealt with the concept of Sport Tourism, particularly in the discipline of karate-do, and the impact it could have on our country’s economy.
He shared his experiences and observations in North America and Asia and urged that Guyana give some serious attention to this niche market through the hosting of more international martial arts tournaments and training camps.
He pointed to the fact that Sport Tourism is a huge and growing industry around the world, with important economic implications for the sport, the event, and the impact of travel and tourism-related benefits on host destinations.
He expressed the belief that Sport Tourism could become a viable and sustainable component of Guyana’s overall tourism product, making a tangible contribution to national development.
Another Karateka Aliya Wong underscored the benefits that karate training can have on the children of Guyana, helping them to build their self-confidence and emotional skills so they have the chance to reach their full potential in everything they do.
She proffered the desire of the IKO Academy of Guyana to introduce Karate classes into the school system through the PE curriculum all across Guyana since the physical education and sport syllabus of CSEC offered by CXC includes karate-do as one of their subject areas.
Miss Wong said that although the benefits are there for all to see, some people still regard martial arts as a violent physical activity, rather than a form of self-defence and suggested that the best way to get rid of such false ideas was to promote the true value of martial arts in the schools.
Shihan Jeffrey Wong assured the Minister that even though Guyana is in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it was his intention when it was considered safe and responsible to resume training, to abide by the Ministry of Health and Government of Guyana restrictions and recommendations regarding limits on social gatherings, physical distancing and hygienic measures.
The Chief Instructor outlined to the Minister, protocols that the Academy has developed for the various clubs/dojos under its purview to reduce risk as they return to karate training during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
First, there will be the physical distancing requirements where all participants, coaches and staff must keep a physical distance of two metres apart at all times and physical contact of any kind will not permitted.
Secondly, there will be the rigorous sanitation requirements for the proper sanitation of all areas within their dojos, including all equipment being disinfected after each individual use, including all high contact surfaces, such as doorknobs, counters and benches that must be wiped before the start of every class.
Additionally, all mats and washrooms will have to be sanitised daily, preferably after each session (class). Basic hygiene rules such as handwashing and not touching one’s face shall be reinforced in the clubs/dojos.
Hand sanitisers will be available upon entry into the club/dojo as well as within the training areas. Thirdly, there will be strict adherence to public gathering requirements to ensure that all dojos comply with maximum public gatherings limits.
The Minister thanked them for the visit and assured the Academy as an avid sportsman himself, of his commitment and that of his ministry to working along with all sporting bodies for the benefit of the people of Guyana.