Windsor sensei achieves WKF judge licence

Ashley Thompson, Hants Journal
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David Griffin is now qualified to judge the top kata performances in the world.

Griffin, sensei of the Windsor Karate Club, recently became the first person in Atlantic Canada to achieve a kata judge licence at the international level through the World Karate Federation.

Kata athletes must demonstrate proper breathing, timing, balance, power and strength while performing prearranged forms of karate.

“It’s like a fight against an imaginary opponent,” explains Griffin, in an interview at the Windsor Karate Club’s gym inThree Mile Plains.

Precision, control and focus are key elements of any kata performance.

“Even though there is not a real opponent, they have to perform with a great deal of skill,” the sixth-degree black belt added.

In order to achieve a kata judge licence, Griffin had to prove that he would know what to look for while judging high-level competitions. First, he qualified for the WKF by obtaining a Pan American license in Argentina in June.

Griffin had his sights set even higher, however.

“I felt confident that I could go further with it and I wanted to challenge it,” he said.

He had to master a kata and perform for a panel stacked with members of the WKF’s referee commission to reach his goal. And, he did just that.

In early November, Karate Canada acknowledged Griffin as a new holder of an internationally recognized Kata Judge B licence during the 2013 Junior World Championship in Guadalajara, Spain.

It was a proud moment for the local sensei that took up karate at age 15 and has since devoted more than 40 years to the sport.

“I’ve been doing it so long, I wouldn’t know what else to do,” he joked.

Griffin has achieved a number of noteworthy accomplishments throughout his karate career. He competed on the national team in the 1980s, won sportsman of the year in 1987, coached the provincial team from 1989 to 2001, earned a coach of the year distinction in 1995 and, just recently, was named official of the year at the 2013 Karate Canada championships.

He’s won awards as a competitor, coach and official, but, Griffin says, it is the people he’s met through the sport that have made his involvement in karate a most rewarding experience.

“The big thing is the folks and the people you get to know over the years.”

Griffin started teaching karate at the old Windsor Regional High School in 1981. In 1988, he joined a group of local karate club members in transforming an old weathered building in Three Mile Plains into the gym they use today.

The membership at the club holds steady at 40 to 45 active members, ranging in age from seven to 60.

“It’s been kind of an interesting window on life, just watching the generations come and go,” said Griffin, noting that he’s taught three generations in some families.

He says practicing karate is an excellent way to improve upon one’s endurance, concentration, self-defence tactics and confidence.

“The karate athlete will have all the attributes of any athlete in any sport. We stress a lot of the same facets and qualities and skills — speed, power, physical endurance.”

Many athletes based at the Windsor club have made their mark on the karate world outside of Windsor through competing in provincial, national and international championships.

“We’ve had quite a bit of success over the years for a small club in a small community,” he said. “I’m proud of that.”

View a video HERE

Organizations: World Karate Federation, Windsor Karate Club, Windsor Regional High School

Geographic location: Windsor, Atlantic Canada, Argentina Guadalajara Spain

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