For the first time in history, a traditional Karate competition will be coming to Eeyou Istchee, but don’t worry; you don’t have to be an expert to participate.

“It will be mainly for the white and yellow belts in Wemindji and the other Cree communities,” said Chanh Chau Tran, President of the Traditional Karate Federation of Canada.

“What we want to implement in Wemindji is a pilot project,” he told the Nation. “It’s different from other sports. Sometimes in sports it’s more important to win. And sometimes if there is too much at stake, people will cheat. But the traditional Karate that we want to promote is not only about winning, but winning against yourself. To do that, you have to understand and respect yourself and respect your opponent.”

Some of the elite athletes of the Quebec Karate Federation at comparable levels to the Cree enthusiasts will be heading to Wemindji August 26 and 27. The Club de Karate Montréal Concordia will be there as well.

“Through Karate training, they will develop patience and determination and they will develop a strong mind,” said Chanh, who is sixth Dan black belt.

“They have to have somebody to guide them and motivate them and inspire them. That’s what we’re here to do. You cannot be good in anything unless you have discipline,” noted Chanh, who added that at 59 years old, he still trains everyday to keep himself in shape and flexible.

“When we put the young people in the right context they become motivated. We use that motivation for them to continue to persevere.”

Chanh is an electrical engineer by trade, but he has been practicing Karate since 1968. “Through learning Karate, I was very efficient in my job and career. And it enabled me to develop a good relationship with my family and the people around me,” said Chanh. He said he had the opportunity to learn in Japan through the great masters and now he wants to give back to youngsters what he has learned.

“When I look at the people there (in Eeyou Istchee), they have the natural ability to move and fight. It reminds me of my people from Vietnam.”

For more information and to register, call 1-877-252-1432.