Karate club raises hundreds for charity

STUDENTS of Essex based club Seitou Ryu Karate have been giving back in a big way by running two charity events this autumn.

October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and on the last day of the month the club’s advanced class in Wickford was opened up to all students on the condition…. that they traded their usual grade belt for a pink one, supporting the Pink Karate Campaign for Breast Cancer Awareness.

The Pink Karate Campaign is a unique and unusual way for martial arts clubs to support a very important cause and was started in 2010 by Seamus O’Dowd of Ireland who observed the ribbon symbol resembled a karate belt.

21 students from Grays, South Ockendon, Wickford and Chelmsford attended the special pink class; mostly brown and black belts, also 1 purple, 2 blue, 1 green and 1 white belt.

The club raised £330 from belt sales, with a number of students purchasing belts even if they couldn’t attend the event. Most notable of these was Ian Burberry, who matched the amount raised, donating £330 to a local Chelmsford charity, Helen Rollason Cancer Charity www.helenrollason.org.uk.

For the last four years Seitou Ryu Karate has hosted an annual charity tournament specifically targeting small and local charities and this year they supported Rays of Sunshine, a London based charity who grants wishes for children living with serious or life-limiting illnesses www.raysofsunshine.org.uk.

The tournament involved 17 clubs and over 100 competitors from as far afield as Newcastle, and raised £400 for the charity. Seitou Ryu brown belt Ian Burberry again couldn’t attend the event but supported both his club and Rays of Sunshine by matching the amount raised.

The events raised a combined total of £1,460 for two very worthy causes.

Richard Hang Hong, Chief Instructor for Seitou Ryu Karate said “A large part of karate is about developing respect, a sense of responsibility and a social conscience. Learning about and supporting local charities shows these values in action”.

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