WITH more real-life karate kids emerging, Philippine karate is alive and kicking.
Virtual karate medalist Fatima A-Isha Hamsain of Sen. Cayetano Science and Technology High School in Taguig is one of them.
Hamsain, who just turned only 14 years old last September, is doing her best to be world No. 1 like his Sempai James de los Santos.
“One day, I would like to be No.1, too,” said Hamsain during her appearance in the “Usapang Sports on Air’ by the Tabloids Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) via Zoom recently.
“It’s everybody’s dream to become No. 1. I want to become No. 1.That’s why I’m training very hard to achieve my dream,” added Hamsain during the weekly public service program sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and Games and Amusements Board (GAB).
“To achieve my dream, I have to keep the faith, do my best and surpass my limits.”
Hamsain, who learned karate at the age of eight years old, said she is confident that her determination and hard work will reap dividends.
“I train, train, train. While I’m training and competing, Senpai OJ is always there to correct my stances and movements. I learned a lot and improved a lot since he is always there for me. Aside from Senpai OJ, I also train under my Sensei, Gierby Lacorte. He gives me a lot of tips. He is also very supportive to me and my fellow karatekas,” explained Hamsain.
Starting karate at a very young age is also proving to be beneficial to Hamsain.
“Since I turned nine, I already started competing in karate tournaments. I have also participated in international tournaments, like in Thailand in 2018 and 2019 and California in 2019,” recalled Hamsain.
“I won some and lost some. But all those tournaments provided me the experiences that I need to become better,”added Hamsain, who was also very thankful for the support of her teachers and classmates at Cayetano High School.
On De los Santos, Hamsain said he provides the inspiration not only to her but to her fellow young but outstanding karatekas, Julia Marcos and Karen Colonia.
“First of all, he inspired me so much. I’m very thankful for him that he is introduced me to virtual kata tournaments. He is very patient and precise and I really love the way he teaches, and watches all of our movements very closely,” explained Hamsain.
“When I do karate and train with him, I’m very excited and I always do my best.”
De los Santos, for his part, said he is very proud of Hamsain and his other students for their achievements in online karate competitions.
“Being No.1 e-Kata in the world has really set me on a high, but I can also say that training these students and seeing them win, has even set me a lot higher,” said De los Santos.
“It’s very fulfilling to teach them and share to them the knowledge that I have and for them to use it out in tournaments, and to see them bring home great results. It makes me proud not just as an athlete, but also as a teacher for karate,” he said.
“Fatima is training with me and I can really say that I am very proud of her progress. She is fast learning and fast improving. I really wish her (Hamsain) the best of the luck.”
“But I’m also proud of my other students from MKKPI (Maharlika Karatedo Kai of the Philippines, Inc.), Julia Marcos and Karen Colonia. They have also improved as well. Lately, Julia grabbed the bronze in Katana and Karen is currently competing in the semifinals in the Pune Open India e-Karate tournaments and she will be also competing in outdoor tournaments to come.”
“They are the future of karate in the Philippines,” claimed De los Santos.
“I’m very also thankful to her chief instructor and my former teammate Gierby Lacorte for lending us his support.”
Both Hamsain and De los Santos vow to continue to train as hard as they can.
And maybe, both teacher and student can someday represent the country again in international competitions.