Father-son relationship proves fruitful for karate training


The President of the Shotokan International Alliance, Chief Instructor and 8th Degree Black Belt Edmond Otis, left, with Jackson and Allan Youl of the Kapiti Karate Academy.

With his father starting karate school, it was only natural that at the age of seven, Jackson Youl would be the first student.

Five years later, the Kāpiti Karate Academy now teaches over 130 students at two locations in Raumati and Paraparaumu and Jackson has gone from a white belt to a black belt.

“Jackson is Kāpiti Karate’s first local black belt,” said Kāpiti Karate head instructor Allan Youl and Jackson’s father.

“Last week, he became the first student to complete the entire white belt to black belt route at Kāpiti Karate Academy.

“It seems fitting that the first person to come all the way to this club is Jackson, the first member and the founder’s son.”

Edmond Otis gives Jackson Youl his black belt.
Edmond Otis gives Jackson Youl his black belt.

The rank of Shodan (first degree black belt) was awarded to Jackson at Napier after intense scoring where no error is allowed.

Tests are conducted in this manner to teach a self-defense mindset as they must be able to remain calm and in control under intense pressure.

There is only one chance to get it right, which looks like a real situation where your life or well-being is threatened – one chance, no mistakes.

If an error is made, a minimum of three months is required until the test can be resumed.

The President of the Shotokan International Alliance, Chief Instructor and 8th Degree Black Belt Edmond Otis led the scoring and awarded Jackson the promotion.

“It has been a privilege to coach Jackson on this journey and it’s hard to believe he actually wears a black belt now,” said Allan.

“He is an excellent student and a role model for the many students who will follow in his footsteps in the near future.

“Quitting has always been an option for Jackson, but he quietly worked his karate, continuously improving and that’s the result.

“I am doubly proud, as a coach and a father.”

To reach the black belt you have to reach 10 skill levels which are all marked by different colored belts.

Starting with white and gradually getting darker as you progress through the ranks, each level requires a test before you can wear the next colored belt.

The levels go from white to white with a stripe, yellow, orange, green, blue, purple, three levels of brown belt then black belt.

“There is a specific test for each color that gets progressively more difficult and complex, examining attitude and behavior as well as physical skills.

“People with perfect karate can fail a belt test because their attitude is bad.”

Jackson put in a lot of hours and effort in training for his black belt.

“It took a lot of extra training hours,” he said.

“But it’s fun and it was a relief to get it.”

“I’ve never done karate with anyone else before so I don’t really know what the difference would be,” Jackson said of their father-son working relationship.

“I trained with some of our other instructors when daddy’s not around and it’s the same.”

“At the dojo I’m a sensei and at home a mix of daddy and sensei – mostly daddy, so he gets away with a little more nerve,” Allan said.

“He takes karate seriously and can distinguish the behavior expected in the two environments.

“He has naturally taken on a leadership role in the club and I can count on him to help me when needed.”

“We are a good team.”


Kristen T. Prall

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