WTKO Instructor of the Month

 

Soon Pretorius 

Gentleman, Athlete and Martial Artist

At a recent tournament I had the opportunity to see a true karate master in action.  Soon Pretorius is a master not because of his karate alone but because of his character.  He is an individual who can perceiver under the most difficult conditions and demonstrate what true karate is.  A true gentleman, he is what we as karateka should aspire to.  His conduct under fire is what one would expect of a leader in karate.  At the 2002 Shotokan Karate-Do United Nations World Championship in Spain there was a group from a country, who will remain nameless, whose performance was less than expected and who in response to their poor showing, they were to take it out with particular venom on Soon Pretorius.  This team had a rather loud approach to Kata and every move was loudly expressed, almost a kiaai.  As a result Soon as chief judge indicated to the corner judges to mark them accordingly.  As a result he was marked by the team for particular scorn.  During the event finals when an individual of that team came up perform in the Kata event they would march into the competition area turn bow to their own team mates lined up outside the ring and walk off in protest.  On the evening of the final day of the championship Soon had to leave to catch a flight and was roundly booed out of the gymnasium by the offending team.  Not only did he keep his composure but returned five minutes later as he had to return the property of one of the officials who had left something in his rental car and proceeded to weather the storm of their derision again with calm detachment, that left us all a little humbled.  The rude treatment of a senior karateka by this team was disgusting, but the dignity with which he comported himself was a statement about the character of the man and the true spirit of karate.      J. Mullin
Soon Pretorius is the Chief Instructor of the  Karate Academy of South Africa and has a large organization.  He is affiliated with JSKA and he WTKO.  He is a senior karateka  in  South Africa, his kumite team won the 2002  JSKA World Championship.