A local senior has been honoured with a 6th degree black belt at the World Kobuto Federation’s annual Capital Conquest in Gatineau, Quebec.
Ron Wattie has been practicing karate seriously for almost 35 years. He joined the Merrickville Karate Club when it opened in 1985 as a white belt, and has been slowly working his way up through the levels ever since. During the first weekend of November, Ron attended Capital Conquest for the 3rd year, which is an annual karate conference that draws practitioners and instructors from all over the world. Ron received his 6th degree blackbelt in Shotokan karate through the recommendation of the other instructors he has worked with over the years. “I didn’t know it was coming,” he says. “I am very pleased where I am.”
Ron has been the chief instructor at the Merrickville Karate Club since 1989. Since then, 21 black belts have been through the club, an accomplishment seeing as they are a small club that only practices once a week. Ron says they currently have around 20 members of all ages, from 7 to 71.
Ron loves karate not only for the physical aspect, but also the connections he has made through the sport. “Martial arts is a family,” he says. “I haven’t met anyone who didn’t want to help.”
Now 71, Ron says he hopes to continue to practice and teach karate for many years to come. He has his sights set on the 7th degree black belt even through it will take him at least 6 years to achieve. “The more you move up, the more dedication is needed,” he says.
Ron says his achievement in Karate has been largely thanks to the support of other instructors he has met along the way. “I want to thank everyone who has helped me get up where I am,” he says.