Brothers Raphael and Christian Mohammed possess a fighting spirit and energy that’s shown in the many events they take part in–karate, gymnastics, swimming, football and chess.
NewsdayKids spoke to Raphael, seven, and Christian, five, about their activities, school life and goals. The brothers attend Sacred Heart Boys' Roman Catholic School, Port of Spain.
When Raphael entered Sacred Heart Boys', at age five, he was immediately drawn to karate offered in the school.
Raphael told his mother he wanted to try out for the sport and she agreed. Raphael, now in Standard 1, has maintained his passion for karate by being consistent with his lessons and training. Over the two years of training, he has progressed to an orange belt. His favourite karate moves are the “roundhouse, tornado kick, front kick and bow staff.”
Raphael told NewsdayKids, that for a karate student to advance, they must pass through the process of grading.
“Grading is when you do all sorts of tricks to move to another level,” he explains. It involves routines such as kata where a series of moves involving stepping and turning within the correct form is performed by the student. Raphael also enjoys the weapon routine with the bow staff. He will participate in his first karate competition later this March and is looks forward to moving up in the sport.
Raphael's goal is to become a black belt fighter. He admires his masters who have the ability of tricking which is, “when you do cartwheels, tornado kicks and sweeps and flips.”
“Karate comes first,” says Raphael but that still has not stopped him from pursuing other activities such as chess. He has taken part in chess competitions in school and hopes to advance more in forthcoming events. He also takes swimming lessons during the week with Christian.
Christian is following in the footsteps of his older brother by also pursuing karate. An enthusiastic first year student, Christian is open to new sports and hobbies. In karate, he has already chosen his favourite move known as palm strikes. He is a white belt and loves to pound out palm strikes during his lesson.
However, Christian's favourite sport is gymnastics. He says his zeal for gymnastics comes from practising cartwheels, handstands and back wheels.
The brothers also enjoy drumming, but Raphael is the one who has drum lessons as Christian is too young for the class. Raphael plays with the Scared Heart Boys’ Drummers Corp. He also in the St John the Baptist RC Church music band.
Last year, Raphael and the Sacred Heart Boys' Drummers Corps won the drumology category of the National Gas Company sponsored San Fernando festival arts competition (Sanfest). Raphael hopes he and group will be able to defend their school title as reigning champion at Sanfest 2018.
The brothers also shared their goals with NewsdayKids.
“I want to become a welder because my daddy is a welder,” says Raphael.
“I want to teach people to do gymnastics,” says Christian.
The brothers had some advice for children interested in karate and gymnastics.
“Don’t laugh at gymnastics or say it's dumb or stupid or silly or garbage but respect gymnastics as a sport,” says Christian.
And Raphael says do not use karate in fights, practise it as a sport.