The Goju Kai Karate Academy will be launched in the new academic year with after-school and weekend classes at GEMS Wellington Academy, International School, New Millennium School (all Al Khail), Wellington International School and Al Khaleej National School. Open to pupils, aged between four and 18, classes will be delivered by qualified Japanese graded instructors under the head of Peter Brandon, vice-president of Goju Kai International.
While Goju Kai Karate is not as widely popular as other sports in the UAE, there are plenty of advantages that youngsters can gain that will help them in everyday life.
“Goju Kai is more than just a sport,” said Graham Corbyn, head of Academy Plus. “It can develop leadership skills; help them become a better individual in terms of building mental strength as well as physical strength. “This sport helps them attain a number of skills that they can attain and at Academy Plus, we want them to develop and learn those new skills. This will help them build their focus and confidence.”
To ensure UAE kids are receiving the best education, multiple-time world champion Frank Brandon Shihan has been appointed the programme’s technical director. During the 10-week programme, students will have the opportunity to travel to Japan and Europe on cultural exchange programmes to compete in tournaments. Brandon is looking forward to working with the children. “Our target has been to bring this form of karate to the UAE and have home-grown children who can compete globally and travel to other countries,” he said.
“It’s a lifelong experience that forms friendships forever. Peter will be responsible for the programme and our target is to have three people who can qualify for the World Championships in Vancouver next year.”
While five schools are registered, Corbyn hopes to expand the programme. “This is the beginning of a long journey for us,” he said. “We want to take this on a wider scale. Academy Plus is about opportunity and excellence. It gives everyone an opportunity to take part in sports that they’ve never taken part in before.”