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Shihan Peter Stegmann – fighting for traditional karate


Shihan Peter Stegmann has been appointed as national coach for Karate South Africa, for the third year running.

Shihan Peter Stegmann from the Zanshin Karate-Do in Kimberley has been named one of the national coaches for Karate South Africa. Picture: Danie van der Lith

In a landmark moment for the discipline of karate in South Africa, Shihan Peter Stegmann from the Zanshin Karate-Do in Kimberley has been named one of the national coaches for Karate South Africa for a third consecutive year, a testament to his dedication, perseverance, and profound love for the martial art.

Stepping into this role, Stegmann shared his reflections, ambitions, and vision for the national karate team with the DFA.

Expressing his gratitude and enthusiasm, Stegmann acknowledged the significance of the opportunity before him. “I am deeply grateful and thrilled to have been given this incredible opportunity,” he said. “This marks my third year being appointed as one of the national coaches by Karate South Africa, and personally, it is a defining moment in my career as a karate coach.

“Having the chance to support our national athletes in reaching their dreams is an immense privilege, one that I do not take lightly. Being entrusted with this responsibility is a profound honour,” Stegmann added.

Shihan Stegmann spoke of his coaching philosophy, saying, “Coaching at this level is not just about sharing knowledge and experience; it’s also about continuous learning and growth. It’s about building trust with the athletes, earning their confidence that I am there to help them improve, and demonstrating that their best interests are always at the forefront of my coaching.

“This trust is something that develops over time, and it’s essential for the coach-athlete relationship to thrive. As their coach, I am committed to fighting for them with every ounce of my being, both on and off the mat.”

Meanwhile, outside the spotlight, Stegmann’s journey in karate coaching has been defined by his unwavering dedication to the sport and his efforts to revive traditional karate in the Northern Cape.

“I’ve been immersed in the world of karate for as long as I can recall, with a steadfast commitment to helping athletes excel both physically and emotionally,” he shared with the DFA.

“Originating from Northern Cape Karate, my journey took a turn when the previous provincial executive shifted focus towards sport karate, leading to the dissolution of the traditional karate provincial structure.

“Despite this setback, a group of dedicated instructors and I joined forces, reigniting the flame of traditional karate in the province. This revival led to the resurrection of the Karate Association of the Northern Cape, now an affiliated member of Karate South Africa and the sole Traditional Karate Federation recognised by SASCOC.

“My involvement evolved from acting secretary to the province’s technical convener, tasked with overseeing all technical aspects.

“As a result of my extensive engagement with provincial athletes at national tournaments, I naturally assumed a coaching role, having passed the rigorous National Kata and Kumite coaching exams, a requirement renewed every two years.”

As a national coach, Stegmann says that his primary focus is on enhancing the performance of athletes in the Kata discipline.

Emphasising the technical intricacies of kata, he highlighted the importance of precision and interpretation. “Kata is not just a bunch of single techniques thrown together,” he explained. “Each technique has a meaning and a purpose, and that must be showcased to the judges.”

Another aspect of Stegmann’s coaching philosophy centres on goal-setting, open-mindedness, and a commitment to mastering the fundamentals.

Also, creating a positive and supportive team environment is paramount for Stegmann. He underscored the significance of constructive feedback and the cultivation of discipline, respect, and responsibility among athletes. He explained to the DFA that his coaching approach aims to instil confidence and belief in each athlete’s abilities, fostering an overall environment conducive to growth and development.

Acknowledging the challenges inherent in leading the national team, Stegmann expresses confidence in the collective efforts of the coaching staff. With the support of the National Director of Coaching and Technical Convener, Stegmann believes that any obstacles can be overcome swiftly and efficiently, ensuring the team remains cohesive and competitive.

Looking ahead, Stegmann envisions a positive evolution of karate in South Africa under his leadership.

He highlighted the impact of national training sessions on nurturing talent and inspiring aspiring athletes across the country. The year ahead is jam-packed with competitions. In the upcoming months, a series of prestigious karate competitions await.

March brings the All Africa Games in Ghana, followed by the UFAK Region South in Namibia and the WKF Youth Cup in Croatia, both scheduled for June. August sees the UFAK Continental Championships in Egypt, followed by the Commonwealth Championships in Bangladesh in September.

October marks the World Junior Championships in Italy, with November concluding the year with the WKF World Team Championships in Spain.

Stegmann and his team are diligently preparing to represent the country on the global stage when these events take place.

Offering advice to aspiring karate coaches and athletes, Stegmann emphasises the importance of passion, humility, and continuous learning.

“Always be willing to learn and improve yourself,” he advises. “Surround yourself with friends and family who speak your language and support your vision.”

As Peter Stegmann assumes his role as a national coach, his dedication and commitment promise a bright future for karate in South Africa. With his leadership, the national team is poised to make a lasting impact on the global stage, and should, as a result, inspire generations of karatekas to come.

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