Koradekumbura, the first and only Karate Village in Sri Lanka


Jayaweera Jayasundara with the villages of Koradekumbura

Jayaweera Jayasundara with the villages of Koradekumbura

Having learnt from my good friend Mr. Daya Wijesinghe from Kandana, that there is a small rural mountainous hamlet in Badulla district, which runs a very successful program of a whole village getting together to do physical exercises and karate practices,  I decided to go and see for myself  this village. It was night when I reached the village of Koradekumbura. I stayed at the house of Mr. Jayaweera Jayasundara, the founder of the karate program. I was woken up by Jayaweera early in the morning of May 17, 2017.  I had asked him to do so to see how his “students” practice physical exercises in the early hours of the day in the village playground.  Mr. Jayaweera arranged a three wheeler for me and I felt uncomfortable, as to why I could not walk to the venue, while all others in the village just walked, jogged or ran to the playground. I suppose he wanted his guest to be comfortable.

It was about 5.20 am when we reached the village playground; already there were more than 50 children, adults and seniors assembled in the playground. They had already started doing physical exercises. There were more adults and seniors than the young.  I was surprised to see the range of ages of the villagers who came for the karate and physical exercises. Kids as young as 5 to seniors as old as 80+!!!

The practice had begun last year and it gathers momentum every day. All of the 82 students in Medainna Primary School in Koradekumbura start karate practices from 6.30 am to 7.00 am. Altogether, around 130 children and 100 adults do both physical exercises at dawn and karate practices in the evenings. Around 25 young girls and women do stick fighting. With such numbers in a small village like this, it may be the village with fittest people in Sri Lanka. One could observe at the very first instance that the inhabitants of this village are all in a very fit physical state.

The program and the structure Mr. Jayaweera has formed seem very strong that even without his presence, the program will continue. He formed a Parents Association to run the project. Each member contributes 200/- LKR per month towards the expenses for attending tournaments etc. But the Founder of the Program Mr. Jayaweera does all his training totally free of charge. Though money can be counterproductive for a genuine initiative like this, I am still of the view that Mr. Jayaweera’s great service has to be recognized and rewarded in some way. Aligning a whole village for karate practice and physical exercise is no easy task anywhere in the world.

Mr. Jayaweera wanted to have a building to carry out the karate practices during rainy days, which is a regular occurrence   in this mountainous village. Having understood the importance of the program by being an active member of the trainees, one of the members of the sports program and also the treasurer of the Parents Association Mr. B. N. P. Somarathna donated a quarter acres of his land situated in a strategic location in the village.  Mr. Somarathna also works as Mr. Jayaweera’s deputy in the sports program in the latter’s absence. Their dream is to build a 90×35 feet building (auditorium), to house the training program. The estimated cost is around 3.5 million LKR. I feel it is your duty to help complete this project and make this a good example for the rest of the country that usually waits for the government to do everything.

Non communicable diseases such as; cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory problems, diabetes and cancer are the main problems in Sri Lanka, claiming 103,500 lives each year. (http://www.searo.who.int/srilanka/areas/noncommunicable_diseases/en/) It was this reason that Mr. Jayaweera, being a retired Physical Health Instructor, was instrumental in starting the sports program.

Should not both the State and Private Sector take this physically fit village as an example and replicate it across all over Sri Lanka?

If the current Minister of Sports, Hon. Dayasiri Jayasekara is as interested as he shows in physical fitness of the people, I suggest that he visit this village in person and spend a day and then take this golden example and replicate it throughout the island by using Mr. Jayaweera as the national consultant to the program. Appointing an official from an air-conditioned office from Colombo will not be as effective as Mr. Jayaweera, who is a son of the soil.

 

 

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Motorcycle Journeys – Trip to Koradekumbura from Bandarawela with Aleksandar Isailović from Serbia


Route to Bandarawela from Mirahawatta

Route to Bandarawela from Mirahawatta

In the morning of May 16, 2017, Aleksandar Isailović from Serbia and I went to Devananda Public School (Sri Devananda Madya Maha Vidyalaya) in Mirahawatta with Nimal Gunarathna, the ICT teacher of the school and did a presentation on how the school can be benefitted with foreign volunteers as teachers.

Mirahawatta-Presentation-1

Presentation at Mirahawatta Devananda Public School (Sri Devananda Madya Maha Vidyalaya)

In the afternoon we had a similar presentation at a private tuition class at Bandarawela town to the students and the parents that had gathered there. The problem with the students there is that, despite attending to some of the best public schools in the town, still their English knowledge is not satisfactory. I don’t know why the big monies spent by the Ministry of Education on teacher training do not reflect in the students’ English knowledge.

The busy Bandarawela town

The busy Bandarawela town

Route to Koradekumbura from Bandarawela

Route to Koradekumbura from Bandarawela

In the evening, we went to Koradekumbura to meet a retired Physical Health Inspector (PHI) who was introduced to me by a friend of mine called Daya Wijesinghe from Kandana. The PHI’s name is Jayaweera Jayasundara and he runs this wonderful program where he teaches martial arts (mainly karate) to the villagers. You will be surprised to hear that men and women who are even over 80 years of age practice karate with him. (I will write a comprehensive story about him in the coming days.)

The road to Koradekumbura is not carpeted still it is decent and travelable. (Now that most of the roads are nicely carpeted by the former government, we expect them everywhere we go.) We reached the village around 7.00 pm and had a good shower at the bathroom of Jayaweera’s massive house. His wife is a sweet lady and she cooked a huge feast with a lot of delicious dishes. We were treated like princes there. I can never forget the kind of hospitality they extended to Aleks and me.