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If you want to be the best, you've got to train with the best. We have achieved excellent results nationally and internationally because of our high calibre coaches.
Datuk James Lo who passed away on 31st December 1999 at the age of 65. As all of you probably already know, Datuk Lo was one of the few people in this world who did not like to glorify himself and therefore
there is no written history of what he had done for SKA even though he had devoted so much of his life to the association. Therefore, this brief background actually comprises information obtained verbally from members of the SKA, past and present and certificates that Datuk Lo had obtained in all his years of service.
To talk about the history of Datuk Lo is actually to talk about the history of SKA. He started training under a Korean instructor by the name of Kim Han Yong. That was in 1963. In 1964 he became one of the founder members of the Jesselton Karate Association which was later named the KK Karate Association. Finally it grew into what we know of as the Sabah Karate Association today.
Datuk Lo’s learning process actually started in 1970 with his request from the state government for a grant to enable him to go to Japan and observe the methods of training of karate as well as to find a suitable karate instructor to teach the people in Sabah. As a result of his first visit to Japan, Sensei Yoshi Habu came to Sabah and taught many of the students here, one of whom was Datuk Lo. During the following year, he went to Japan again to train personally under the guidance of the then chief instructor of the Japan Karate Association, Sensei Nakayama.
In the eyes of many people, his learning process stopped following the departure of Sensei Habu. Actually, that was when his learning process began because he had started accumulating books and studying not only the art of Shotokan karate, but all the other styles of karate. From all these studies he had made, he was able to impart his teachings to his students of which the first batch of students comprised Mr Liew Pang Sang, Mr Liew Chee Keong, Mr Yapp Sun Kiew, Mr Henry Yapp, Encik Mohd Daud, Mr Raymond di Souza and Mr William Chong, all of whom trained under him while he was based in Tawau.
He was the only one in the whole of Malaysia who took the trouble, effort and time to write dozens of manuals and books to further the development of karate. One of the many manuals that he wrote which is still being used to this day, is the upgrading manual. The manual is specifically mentioned here because that was the first of the many that he had written.
In terms of development he had also contributed in organising various tournaments held in Kota Kinabalu. He was given the mandate in 1994 to set up the working committee for the World Karate Federation (WKF) tournament held in Kota Kinabalu. SKA was very very proud to have held a world class tournament in Kota Kinabalu when many states in Malaysia have never been given that honour.
Datuk Lo was also appointed and held the position of the chief technical executive of the MAKAF Coaching Institute from 1996 to 1999. He was also the Chairman Of Technical Council of the Polis Diraja Malaysia (PDRM).
Apart from his contributions to SKA and Makaf, he was also invited by Mr Chok of the Vietnam Karate Association to coach the Vietnamese karate SEA Games team. In the year that he coached them, they went from being an umerited SEA Games’ member to win two gold medals and one bronze in the 1993 SEA Games in Singapore. They went on to win two silvers at the 1994 Hiroshima Asian Games and finally, one silver and two bronzes in the 1995 AUKO in Manila and he made Vietnam became one of the Karate Power in the region.
Datuk Lo also received many awards. He was awarded the 1993 Tokoh Sukan for Sabah and in 1996 was honoured with the “Jurulatih Sukan Terbaik” award.
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