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Sensei Joseph Rodrigues: The backbone of karate in Goa

Explore the remarkable journey of Sensei Joseph Rodrigues, a veteran karate instructor with 45 years of experience in Goa. From his beginnings to international
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Sensei Joseph Rodrigues
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Karate, originating on the island of Okinawa, is a martial art that has been around since the 17th century. It is a discipline that requires years of endurance, perseverance and discipline. While many take up the sport as a passion, few dedicate their life to perfecting it while passing down their wisdom to aspirants. One such personality is sensei Joseph Rodrigues. A karate instructor with an illustrious 45 years of experience under his belt, he has taught most of the senior karatekas in Goa. Born and brought up in Kolkata, Sensei Joseph relocated to Goa after completing his high school studies in 1979. It was in this very year, that he began his tryst with the sport. 

Recollecting his memory, he said, “We’re talking about the late 70s. Bruce Lee movies had just come out and learning karate was all the rage. When I was in Kolkata, I resided far away from the class, so I was unable to attend it. However, when I came to Goa, things changed as I didn’t face any problem attending the only karate class available in Goa, which was at Don Bosco College. I’ve always loved sports, but I looked at Karate and realised this is something I’d love to pursue.”

Reminiscing about his journey to becoming a sensei, he shared, “In 1982, I began training under a German sensei. Whenever he would make his yearly visits to Germany, I being the senior student would take the classes. This was my first brush with teaching. After attaining my black belt in 1985, I finally began to take my own classes. During the same time, I worked in a bank for the next seven years. However, with the pay not being lucrative, I considered venturing into newer avenues. When my classes started doing well, I took a leap of faith and decided to become a full-time instructor. While the stability of a bank job was comforting, my dislike for the liability of transfers also helped in make up my mind. Now it’s been 45 years since I first began my journey of karate. It hasn’t always been easy but there have been several memorable experiences. Getting my black belt, going to several states and countries for competitions and getting my second dan black belt in England are just a few. However, the highlight of my karate career would be getting a bronze medal at the world karate championships in Japan”

Expressing his thoughts on people’s opinions, he shared “People think karate is a sport that only revolves around fighting. However, what they don’t realise is that it is an art with a controlled system that conditions your mind and body. It is a fantastic activity as it gives you a full body workout and keeps your mind and body healthy and young. Today, it is a sport recognised by the International Olympic Committee and regulated by karate federations.”

“My piece of advice to beginner karatekas would be to be focused and determined about the sport as it develops you physically, and mentally, teaches you to be respectful and helps in becoming a better person. While for aspiring senseis, it is a great way to pursue your passion as it is a fantastic earning opportunity once you obtain your license while also staying healthy and physically fit. To conclude, I feel what sets me apart from others would be my years of experience. I have trained under some of the top instructors in the world and attended international camps and tournaments while passing down my wisdom to others. I believe I still have a long way to go and don’t intend on stopping any time soon.”

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