Endri Krasniqi…..the quiet one (0 comments)

Endri just after his last fight at the 2017 World Cup in Limerick
Endri just after his last fight at the 2017 World Cup in Limerick

Call me suspicious but I am not a fan of talking about “potential” or what the future may hold. The future is unknowable. Talk about potential can add much unneeded pressure and weight to people. I prefer to talk about achievement and what people have done. With that in mind, JKA England should introduce you to young Endri Krasniqi, just 16 years of age.

International Tournament record in the JKA England Squad,

  • 2014 Japan World championships – 13 years old category, 3rd place Kumite & 5th place Kata
  • 2015 Germany European Championships – 14 years old category, 3rd place Individual Kumite & 3rd place team Kumite
  • 2016 Serbia European Championships – 15-year-old category, 3rd place Individual Kumite & 2nd place team Kumite
  • 2017 Ireland World Championships – 16-18-year-old category, 3rd place Kumite

Coming out of Westminster SKC, led and taught by Sensei Gary Stewart 6th Dan JKA, where the list of past champions and medallists is impressive to say the least!  Endri joins past international competitors and medallists Stephen Kelly (team Kumite bronze medallist), Jovan Masalunga (European junior Bronze medallist and team silver in Kumite), Tresor Mashaka (European gold medallist and team silver) and Christopher Sweeney (European bronze medallist and team silver). It is also the home dojo of Mensah Oteh, current National Champion and has recently become the training dojo of Mohamed Salih – multiple champion.


Endri and the team
Endri and the team


In common with other parents, Endri’s father sent him to Karate at the age of 6. Endri fell in love with the martial art and has been training ever since. He does admit though that Karate did not really click with him until Brown Belt. It was at this point that his enjoyment really took off! He has a hard training regime, he is regularly in his home dojo three times a week at two/three hours at a time, attends JKA England National Courses and supplements this with his own regime outside of the dojo.

Has the effort Endri put into his training paid him back at all? Obviously the medal count is high but what has Karate given him?  With the discipline that Karate has given him, he is now gunning for a good University place in the future and is currently a multiple A* Student.

But enough of that though for the moment, what were Endri’s  toughest matches in a tournament for the JKA England Squad?

“Semi-final match in Serbia Europeans 2016 against Russia – always tough to fight him as he is a very good fighter. We have fought against each other in the World Championships in 2014 where he won by one wazari. From there we have both won medals at Europeans and have a mutual respect. It’s tough to decide what to do to get a point against him.

Another difficult match was against a Japanese competitor in Tokyo 2014 World Championships. This was my first World Championships and after winning my first match I had to face Japan in the next round. As a 13-year-old, that was nerve racking as I heard many stories of the Japanese being good and practically winning everything. I managed to score the first point which however was quickly followed by a point for the Japanese. Being tied with a Japanese, I knew that I had to score the next point and just went for it and thankfully scored the point and moved onto the next round.”


The JKA Europeans Junior team at the Europeans
The JKA Europeans Junior team at the Europeans

If you are a Karate-ka, pressure and putting yourself to the test becomes an “uncomfortably” familiar place to be. Gradings, tournaments, demonstrations, even sparring all put you to the test consistently. Even though he is young, Endri can’t suffer from nerves as he has achieved so much……..can he?

“Do you get nervous at competition? Yes! Especially in the International Competitions

How do handle big match nerves?

I am normally quiet and am trying to focus on what I will have to do. I don’t talk much and I do a bit of light sparring before the fight so I do not get stiff.”

So what does his own Sensei think of Endri? I asked Sensei Gary his thoughts,

“Endri has received plaudits from coaches from other parts of Europe.  I was once approached by the Russian coach who just wanted to tell me what a talent Endri was.  Considering how many outstanding competitors Russia has I thought it was nice for him to single out Endri for this high praise. Like those who were there before him, Endri is a very grounded polite young man.  He is always helpful in the Dojo to both adults and children who all value his experience and knowledge.

Endri works very hard for his success and should be held up as an example to those who want to achieve. Appreciates he’s only at the beginning and has a lot to learn.”

What’s the common factor behind Endri, Jovan, Tresor, Stephen and Chris? Sensei Gary credits the parents,

“They are the ones that had to bring them to the Dojo in all weathers.  Eventually they were able to step back and watch their children pick up their own bag and leave for training on their own.  The parents put them on the right path and they have all stuck to it.  Karate is a huge part of their lives’ now and always will be.”

Endri clearly sees the link between Kata and Kumite but will readily admit that he leans towards Kumite! He always has! Taking a full role in his home dojo, he teaches in Sensei Gary’s absence and will also assist with the junior belts.

Although he is young what advice would Endri pass on to another Karate-ka?

“My advice would be to train as much as you can and get advice from as many people as you can. I was lucky enough to be surrounded by many inspirational and hardworking people who have helped me improve. I would also say for Kumite don’t be afraid of getting hit as that is what holds people back from scoring points.”

So for Endri the training with the JKA England Squad carries on and at the next course or competition, you won’t hear him making a loud noise or being obvious. If you face him on the mat however you had better not have neglected your training!



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