Guyana Karate College (GKC) Vice Chairman Sensei Jeffrey Wong rose to the Shichi-dan rank after successfully completing his senior examinations last Thursday at the Thomas Lands dojo.
The GKC’s grading was highlighted by Wong’s accomplishments as he mastered the Seventh Dan Black Belt exams. The senior instructor is now a full-fledged Seventh Dan Black Belt which is also known as the Shichi-dan, but, more importantly, has been conferred with the title Shihan.
The term Shihan is of Japanese origin and is used in martial arts as a title for a Master or “teacher of teachers”, responsible for the structure and standards of style of the Senseis under his authority. Under the International Karate Daigaku’s rules, Shihans must carry the rank of Seventh Dan or above.
Shihan Wong is one of only two persons in Guyana practising Shotokan Karate under the world governing body, the International Karate Daigaku, to have achieved this feat of becoming a Seventh Dan and a Shihan, the other being Shihan Amir Khouri, the head of the Association do Shotokan Karate- Guyana (YMCA Dojo), who was successfully graded at the same time.
Wong said that grading was no longer the most important part of practising karate for him, and he was focused on passing his knowledge on to others. He added that he did not think of rank anymore, but if it came, he would accept it on behalf of all the thousands of Karatekas he has trained over the years.
The high-ranking karateka further opined that the idea was to keep training while he was still physically able to, and play a part in people’s lives to help them improve their calling. He began his training in the early 1970s along with other karate icons of Guyana like Khouri, Dr Guy Low and John Fernandes Charles.
Others such as Aubrey and Josef Woon-a-Tai, Keith Da Costa, Jackie Gomes, Aubrey Bettancourt and the late Ian Fung did their regimes at the Anglican Archbishop’s residence in High Street, Kingston under the teaching and mentorship of Shuseki Shihan Frank Woon-a-Tai, a Ninth Degree Black Belt.
Nevertheless, Shihan Wong’s capability in karate is clearly evident with the karatekas from the Guyana Karate College blazing the trail, both in Guyana and across the globe, capturing many gold, silver and bronze medals.