29 July 2011

Sean Kardar wins gold for UK at world Silat championships

Sean Kardar is a successful young British sportsman and a recent convert to Islam. Kardar began training in the martial art of Pencak Silat in 2000 at the age of 14, and became Muslim in 2009.

In May this year, he won Gold for the UK at the Belgian Open Silat Championships - the event was open to competitors from around the world, and Kardar had to win against Malaysia to attain Gold. He was also awarded the cup for the Best Sportsman of the Championship.

Winning Gold, Kardar told The Muslim News, “was a result of an equal amount of inspiration as perspiration and gave me a great deal of self belief for future tournaments and challenges outside the ring. All thanks to my supportive team and the Almighty.”

Pencak Silat, (often abbreviated to ‘Silat’) originates from the archipelago of islands which now constitute Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam. Silat was practised before Muslims arrived in the 13th century, but since then, has been influenced by Islamic philosophy.

This South East Asian martial art, practised in the majority by Muslims, appealed to Kardar, whose mother is French Vietnamese and his father Pakistani.

As a student of Bapak Aidinal Alrashid, Grandmaster of Pencak Silat Gerak Ilham, a style from South Sulawesi, Kardar learned traditional self defence techniques, and also the sports and the artistic competition categories.

Kardar and his brother Adrien were first selected for the UK national team in 2002, competing in the artistic categories - but it was fighting in Sports weight class B which led to Kardar winning his first Gold medal for the UK at the 2003 Belgian Open Championships.

While studying for a BA in Film Studies at Queen Mary University, Kardar’s training continued in London and also at training camps in Indonesia. Competitive highlights included winning Silver at the ‘03 & ‘05 European Championships and finally becoming European Champion in male weight class B in 2008.

Kardar went on to train students of Silat Gerak Ilham at Graveney School in London, coaching and mentoring pupils towards selection for the UK Junior team and was made head of sports training for the UK team in 2009.

Spending time with British Muslims and Muslim fiends in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, Kardar gained a positive view of the Muslim way of life and accepted Islam before the start of Ramadan in 2009.

Kardar said it would be hard to pinpoint one reason why he converted to Islam. “It was a combination of refusing to accept western science in its explanation of the creation of the universe, the acceptance of the scientific revelations explored in the Qur’an and unmatched anywhere else. Most importantly, observing the simple and harmonious lifestyles of Muslims within the Silat community and their total submission to Allah was a humbling and enlightening experience for me during my travels in South- East Asia.”

Kardar works in London as an Account Manager in Education Assessment. One of his greatest sporting achievements to date has been winning Bronze for the UK at the World Championships in December 2010, a level not often attained by Europeans when pitched against the best fighters from South East Asia and across the world.

To find out more about Pencak Silat & the UK team, contact the PSF UK at psf_info@btinternet.com Website: www.pencaksilat.co.uk.

Sourced from http://www.muslimnews.co.uk/paper/index.php?article=5374

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