Meet the fierce karate women


As the nation celebrates women and their place in South Africa, Grocotts Mail, East Cape Shotokan-Ryu and Joza Karate Club have teamed-up to offer free karate lessons for girls (seven years and older) and women. In this spirit, focus and appreciation must be given to the women that have been practicing karate for some time.

Zarina Syed Cassim and Shehnaaz Asmal-Motara

Zarina Syed Cassim (left) and Shehnaaz Asmal-Motara practicing their Kata (form) at weekly training in the Hill Street Masonic Centre.
Photo: Stephen Kisbey-Green

Good friends and training buddies, Zarina Syed Cassim and Shehnaaz Asmal-Motara, have been training at the Hill Street Masonic Centre Shotokan Karate Dojo for just over a year. Having been watching their children participate for a couple of months, both women noticed the benefits of karate, and decided to take up the art themselves. Both Syed Cassim and Asmal-Motara believe that karate has helped bring balance and focus to their lives, and that it is important for teaching discipline for both young and old.

“With karate, it is completely mixed,” said Asmal Motara. “You don’t feel any less than a guy does on the floor… it does not matter whether you are a woman or a man.”

“I think t is also a sense of empowerment in the sense that you have the confidence to actually get up there [at competitions]and have people watch you do this,” said Syed Cassim, “especially as a woman.”

TO RSVP your place in the free classes, please contact Gary Grapentin at As venue space is limited, the offer will be on a first come, first served basis.

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Young and up-and-coming sports reporter with a passion for rugby and cricket. Born and raised in Boksburg, Gauteng, I came to Grahamstown (Makhanda) to learn the journalism trade, and improve all round.

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