Martial artist Anton Charles of the World United Martial Arts (WUMA) is a person who has travelled the world, but believes sound improvement can be made by training in isolation.
This is what he does most of the time in his dojo in Mahara, Kadawatha which also serves as a breeding ground for budding martial artists. He conducts classes on Sundays and has passed this stage where students latch on to their teachers (Master) in their pursuit of learning the art of fighting.
But he is in touch with the outside martial arts world and even takes students overseas for tournaments. At present he is training his students to take part in a competition he hopes to conduct later this year. This tournament will be named ‘Sri Lanka Freestyle Championship’ and will comprise among other fighting categories a Super Heavy Weight Class. Charles expects to invite foreign fighters and referees for the championship.
Very recently he exposed his students to an invitation tournament held in Sri Lanka which featured martial artists from India. “I got the students to compete because I wanted them to gain experience before the big tournament that will be held later this year,” explained Charles who is a black belt holder from WUMA.
He however frowned at Sri Lankan martial artists who travel abroad and take part in tournaments which he claims can’t boast of being competitive.
Charles said that a martial artist has to train regularly and upgrade his knowledge by reading up stuff from books and the internet. “You have to evaluate yourself all the time,” said Charles who has fought in the British Open and European Championships conducted by WUMA.
He said he can’t blame teachers taking students abroad for private tournaments. “You sometimes get frustrated when the sports ministry doesn’t understand martial arts. When the authorities can’t contribute to martial arts then you have to create the opportunities for yourself,” he said.
He encourages martial artistes to fight in overseas competitions, but warns them to check the competitiveness of these tournaments.
His advice to Sri Lankan martial artists is to develop speed because he believes that the islanders are greatly behind in this aspect of fighting.