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6-year-old Barnali becomes India’s youngest black belt holder in Shotokan Karate

2 June, 2023 10:29:06
6-year-old Barnali becomes India’s youngest black belt holder in Shotokan Karate

Ashtonishing to the ears may it seem, but Barnali Chanda of Karbala, Chinsurah, has become the youngest to achieve the black belt in Shotokan Karate. And that too, at the tender age of 6 years! She started taking karate lessons when she was only three years old. Her father, Sujoy Chanda is a businessman and he used to accompany Barnali to her Karate lessons. He himself had taken karate lessons in the past. Keeping in mind the safety of his daughter, he started Barnali’s karate classes as early as he could.

Since her childhood, she has been her father’s favourite. Gradually, Barnali started getting interested in her Karate lessons and slowly she started loving the sport. At present, she is taking karate lessons from Amitabha Kole in Chandannagar. With continuous practice mixed with her talent, Barnali has achieved many records at such a young age. 

Barnali has learned the Kata style of karate which is a part of Shotokan training along with Kihon (basics) and Kumite (sparring). Kata is often described as a set sequence of karate moves organized into a pre-arranged fight against imaginary opponents. The kata consists of kicks, punches, sweeps, strikes, blocks, and throws. Body movement in various kata includes stepping, twisting, turning, dropping to the ground, and jumping. In Shotokan, kata is not a performance or a demonstration, but is for individual karateka to practice full techniques—with every technique potentially a killing blow; while paying particular attention to form and timing (rhythm). Shotokan Karate comprises 26 katas, each with its emphasis on fast and slow or controlled and powerful movements. Virtually all of the katas taught today in the Shotokan system have two kiai points. The kiai or "spirit cry" as it is sometimes referred to, occurs only at certain pre-determined moments in each kata. It is precisely at these pre-determined moments that the karate-ka is required to demonstrate a total commitment of body, mind, and spirit, and to channel all of their available energy and apply it appropriately to the required technique. The kiai is a common thread that runs through all major styles of karate.

Every student needs to remember that as they rise through the various kyu levels and Dan ranks, the continued regular practice of all of the previous katas that they have been taught is vital to their future progress. Barnali, a Class 2 student of St. Thomas School, learned 10 Katas at the age of six and earned a black belt. Evidently, her family members as well as the people of her locality are very proud of her. India Book of Records, International Kalams Golden Award, international book of Records and America Records have recognized Barnali’s talent. Her family has applied to include her name in the Limca Book of Records and Guinness Book of World Records. 


During the pandemic, schools were closed and this helped Barnali to focus more on her karate lessons and keep the practice going. Barnali wants to teach karate to her sister as well. She believes that everyone should learn karate to keep themselves steady as well as for self-protection. Bengal has progressed a lot in karate. Many men and women have been taking an interest in karate these days. Seishinkai Shito -Ryu Karate-Do Federation organizes black belt examinations every year. In 2022, around 1000 karatekas took part in the examination and a huge response was received. Among the 1000 karatekas, 600 were female. The students were from different parts of the state. Premjit Sen is currently the president of the Karate Association of Bengal and chief technical Director of the Seishinkai Shito - Ryu Karate-Do Federation. The motto of this federation is to promote authentic karate among martial art enthusiasts across the globe.

In February 2023, Howrah City Police introduced self-defense courses for school children and initiated the Tejaswini project to teach self-defence techniques to 400 students. The training programme was designed to include basic training and counseling and grooming sessions to train women on how to deal with adverse situations and make them physically strong. Many such programmes are being launched in the state with the view that people, especially women, will be able to safeguard themselves. Karate also helps in maintaining the strength and immunity of the body. The body remains in good shape and gets sturdy with time. Karate is one such self-defence method that does not require any weapons. In karate, the body is treated like a temple. The body is considered pure. 

Barnali Chanda will be an inspiration to many others as will her parents who supported her all these years to ensure their child a fit body and a safer life.

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