Karate or Karate-Do is a martial art first introduced to Myanmar when the Japanese military had combat training to armed forces in Myanmar. Later in 1989, the Myanmar Karate Federation was officially established and recognized by the International Olympic Committee. Karate is certainly something that takes time to master unless you’re Nway Nway Zaw Win. Yuwati Nyi sat down with her to talk about her life and how she has become a kick-ass in an art of self-defence.

Ever since fifth-grade, Nway Nway Zaw Win would come train at the Aung San Win karate hall every summer until the eighth grade when she joined track and field. In 2010, she became a part of the national squad as she was shortlisted and joined the team in 2011 to win a bronze medal in the 2013 SEA games.

In 2016, she got married to one of her fellow national karate players and soon after, gave birth to her son. Entering this new stage in her life, she decided to put her efforts elsewhere. This was until she returned to the scene in 2018, consecutively joining a training camp and winning gold once again at the Thailand Open Karate Championships in 2019. She still continues to this day at the same Aung San Win Stadium where it all started.

It was not difficult to balance her work and training, as sports have become her way of life. She works as a Sports Officer in charge of the Karate department in the Ministry of Health and Sports in Mandalay and her husband, a trainer in Mandalay. Her job grants her ‘on-duty’ so that she could take leaves from work to train for camp.

Taking care of her one year and eight-month-old child, whom she had brought back to Yangon, may the only trouble she has with her vocation. Nevertheless, her family does help her take care of the child. However, it is evident that she is a caring mother as she still finds time to take care of her child.

Truth be told, it wasn’t always sure for Nway Nway Zaw Win on whether she would actually return to karate when she gave birth. She recounts that there were people who told her: “What use would karate be? It would be best if you quit. You already have a child, it’s time to give your time to your family.” During her maternity leave, she took time to think about this.

She didn’t have injuries, the federation needed her, and there was no one in the national team to replace her for her weight class. As a mother, she decided to see how much she can achieve and decided to challenge herself. She planned to play karate till her knees hurt to the point she couldn’t play anymore; till there was no way for her to continue competing.

Nway Nway Zaw Win also talked about how she has a very supportive family. Amongst all the negativity, her parents and husband told her to keep going as long as she can and as long as she is happy.

However, situations can be uncalled for and she has been thinking about quitting in the coming year after competing in the upcoming November 2019 SEA games.

“It is still hasn’t been decided. The federation will most likely still need her after this year and you can’t tell what is going to happen,” she shares.

She also encourages the next generation of karate selection players, to try their best.

“There are some players but the numbers are not enough to actually advance to the international games,” she states.

She ends the interview by expressing how she wants the younger generation to try hard enough to compete chest-to-chest internationally.

“The road does not stop there, this was just one of the many goals they had yet to achieve,” she added.

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