The adage that dymanite comes in small packages rings true when looking at Cassidy Williams, 11, a karate student from Portland.
One would never guess that the tiny, soft-spoken girl has recently qualified to compete provincially and then nationally in Goji-style karate.
Cassidy, who attends Parkhurst Primary School in Westridge, first learnt about karate at an after-care in Mitchell’s Plain where she saw children training, and signed herself up.
“A month later my mommy got the bill and she had to pay for the suit.”
Cassidy’s mother, Shirlyn Williams, said when she received the note, she couldn’t believe it.
“It was just a handwritten note that read: ‘Cassidy started karate. She’s doing very well. She can do the kata (routine) and if she wants to continue she needs to pay registration fees’. It was R250, and I had to buy her a suit because, at the end of that term in December, she had to do her test.”
She said her family went to watch Cassidy at her first grading, where they saw how well she was doing and that she was very interested.
They have been supporting her ever since.
In March this year, Cassidy competed at the Karate South African Championships, where she won a silver medal, and has been chosen to compete in the elite team in Durban in a week’s time, then in Bloemfontein in August, and then at the World Karate Federation in Dubai in January next year.
Cassidy also forms part of the Karate Association of Cape Town Unicity (KACTU), a representative body of karate in Cape Town affiliated to Karate South Africa and the World Karate Federation.
The organisation is the vehicle for karate students to receive national and international recognition for the sport.
However, the trips are not sponsored by the club which Cassidy attends or KACTU, and her parents will have to pay for it out of their own pockets.
In an attempt to raise enough money for the trips, which collectively will cost about R26 000, Ms Williams said they have started selling foods, and she has been thinking of ways to raise enough money to help her daughter reach her goal.
She said besides the travelling costs, Cassidy also needs to have a new uniform for every time they travel, and the costs exclude food and snacks.
“We are a bit nervous to let her go. It is expensive.”
Ultimately, Cassidy would like to compete at the Olympics, as karate has a good chance of becoming part of the international sporting event.
Ms Williams said now that the karate students know that they stand a chance to be part of the Olympics, everyone is working hard to reach the next level.
“If you get to Dubai, you will enter the World Karate Federation then it’s a good chance that you will get into the Olympics team, especially if you make first, second or third.”
Besides being a good karate student, Cassidy is also doing well at school, having improved her history marks from the last school term.
“I got a 4 last term, so I got a 5 this term. It’s a bit difficult to juggle school and karate. But when it’s a holiday I start training, and on the weekend I start training, and when it comes to school work and exams I put karate aside and start focusing on that.”
Besides karate, the active little girl also enjoys drawing and playing soccer and netball.
“I want to finish school and then study graphic design, then I want to focus on karate again, and maybe become a shihan (senior student), or a sensei (teacher).”
If you would like to assist with contributions or sponsorships for Cassidy, you can contact Ms Williams via email at firstname.lastname@example.org