She kicks, she jabs and she keeps her dukes awake as she barely sweats. It’s Eurika van der Watt, 58, who never turns down an opportunity to improve.
No wonder she’s about to land her second dan in karate and her brown belt in kickboxing. If there’s one thing rock climbing has taught him, it’s that discipline and dedication are a small price to pay in order to be able to stand up for himself.
“I used to do karate when I was young, but I quit when the time was right, life came. It wasn’t until about five years ago, when I took my granddaughter for karate training, that I decided to go back to it, ”Eurika said.
Since then she has trained with Sensei Petra Smit at the Roodekrans Karate Dojo. However, when the dojo temporarily closed last year due to Covid, Eurika was adamant about staying active. She then joined her daughter at the Ring Contact Fighting Art Club in Krugersdorp where she quickly learned the ropes of kickboxing.
She fell in love with the discipline – which is quite different from karate – so much that she decided to continue with both sports.
“When the karate dojo reopened, I came back in while continuing kickboxing. It taught me everything about physical contact where karate is more technical. I just like to tire myself out and I like new challenges – the harder, the better. Being active keeps my mind clear, ”Eurika said.
Although she doesn’t like competition, she has managed to grab quite a few medals in competitions over the past few years. About two years ago, she won two bronze medals at the Derrick Geyer Provincial Championships and was even named the veteran dojo champion last year.
This year Eurika participated in a JKA Karate League where she and her teammates won silver in the Unison Kata division. In the first stage of a virtual Shotokan karate league, she received gold for Unison Kata and bronze for her individual performance. She then received the money for her performance in the second leg. This passionate athlete is now looking forward to the third stage which should take place in November.
“It’s something I do for myself, not because I want to prove something to someone. Anytime I can improve my personal best, I’m happy. I’ve been active my whole life and it has contributed to my self-esteem for all these years. It keeps the balance in my life, “she said.
Eurika trains for at least an hour and a half to five hours a day, and starts each day by running between eight and ten kilometers.
“As long as the Lord gives me the strength, the discipline, and the ability to do this, I will continue to do it. It’s nice to know that I would be able to stand up for myself if the situation called for it. It is important to believe in ourselves as women and not to be intimidated. We are capable of much more than we realize, ”she said.
She would love to earn her black belt in kickboxing as well, and continue karate to see where that could take her. She is grateful to Sensei Petra and Shihan Alfred Grunenburg for their advice in the sport, and hopes to learn a lot more from them in the future.