September 15, 2014

Jahangir Moghul considers Grand Master Ashraf Tai as Bruce Lee of Pakistan


By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Jahangir Moghul, a renowned social figure and philanthropist, has compared Pakistan’s most famous Grand Master Mohammad Ashraf Tai to Bruce Lee, the legendary Hong Kong American martial artist and martial arts instructor. 

“Grand Master Ashraf Tai has remained an iconic figure throughout the country for decades and his students and trainees have taken bando karate, introduced in Pakistan by him in 1971, to different corners of the world. He commands the same kind of respect in Pakistan which Bruce Lee had earned for his exploits in martial arts,” Jahangir Moghul, elected as District Governor of Rotary International for the year 2015-16, remarked during his recent visit to the headquarters of Tai’s Karate Centre, housed at the KGA Gymkhana in Karachi. 

He has also proposed Lifetime Achievement Award for the legendary martial artist, Grand Master Ashraf Tai, in recognition of his meritorious services in the promotion of karate. 

Credited to have introduced bando karate, the Burmese style of martial arts, in Pakistan way back in 1971, Grand Master Ashraf Tai earned worldwide fame with his accomplishments against the top-notchers of the sport. 

Jahangir Moghul, who has been proactively involved in community service and social work over a number of years, besides doing justice to his various portfolios in the managing committees of the Karachi Gymkhana, has remained an ardent supporter of Grand Master Ashraf Tai. 

“He’s an icon of marial arts and a role model for the youngsters of the country. It has been a privilege visiting the Tai’s Karate Centre and watching the Grand Master in action imparting training to the keen learners of different age-groups. It’s quite extraordinary that he has not lost the intensity despite the bouts of illness during the last couple of years. Let’s pray for his long life with immaculate health,” Jahangir Moghul observed. 
“Grand Master Ashraf Tai is a deserved winner of the Pride of Performance Award which was bestowed upon him by the President of Pakistan more than a decade time. Heroes like him need to be recognized again and again. He should be considered for a Life Achievement Award at the highest level now,” Jahangir Moghul reckoned. 

He recalled that Grand Master Ashraf Tai had created a sensation by overpowering Stanley Michael of Malaysia in the final of the Afro-Asia Championship in 1978 and he confirmed his superiority in the continent by outwitting Japan 's Koha Yash a year later. 

It may be recalled that Grand Master Ashraf Tai is also credited to have founded the Pakistan Karate Federation (PKF) and succeeded in having the body affiliated to the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) as well as the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB).  Having received numerous awards in various continents of the world during his illustrious career, he was declared the International Grand Master of the Year in 2000 by an institution based in the United States . 

The Tai's Bando Karate Centre has trained thousands of martial artists. The branches of his centres have not only been functioning with great success all over the country but the students trained by him have also been operating the centres named after him in quite a few countries like the United States of America (USA), England, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, France, Holland and Bangladesh. 

Grand Master Ashraf Tai holds the distinction of claiming the highest degree (8th Dan) in the martial arts history of the country. Only a handful of martial artists have matched his feat worldwide. He had started karate at the age of nine with his master Lee Phow Shin while he received black belt at the age of 16. He started participating in a lot of local tournaments, most of which were professional. 

Less than a year after migrating to Karachi from Chittagong in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) in 1970, he started the first-ever martial arts school in Pakistan by the name of Tai’s Karate Centre which was located at the Hill Park. He then shifted the centre to its present premises at the KGA Gymkhana. 

The Tai’s Karate Centre expanded gradually. In the beginning when he started teaching karate at the Hill Park, there are hardly six to seven students and the Grand Master had to persuade people to come and learn karate. The students trained by him spread the word around in a few years time the growth became phenomenal and the rest is history.


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