At 76, Master Boo practises karate and Tai Chi with an intensity that can put young learners of martial arts to shame, says Liffy Thomas
With his handlebar moustache and muscular physique, 76-year-old K. Boopathy looks tough. And, he can pack a punch with his fist. Master Boo, as he is better known, is a karate teacher whose enthusiasm for the martial art has not waned over the years. He continues to practise karate as diligently as he teaches it
He took to the martial art after watching a few Japanese films. “I was working as a banner artiste when I got fascinated with karate. My salary was Rs. 100 in 1968 and I paid a monthly fee of Rs. 20 for karate classes at YMCA Royapettah. I persuaded my wife to allow me to enrol for the class,” recalls Boo. Juggling a full-time career as an artiste, Boo went on to get brown and black belt learning under teachers such as Moses Thilak and Kuppuswamy.
Over the years, Boo has carved a niche for himself in the art, evolving his own techniques to teach students. “I had friends who got me books on the subject and made the classes more practical,” he says, pointing to a stack of at his modest house in Chindadripet.
sAfter he had developed noticeable karate skills, Boo put up posters at public places to create awareness about martial art and also gave demos. “Once Bruce Lee films got popular in the city, there were many takers for the martial art,” he says.
For over 15 years now, Boo has also been practising Tai Chi. “I practise it for an hour daily. That keeps me going even today. I rarely visit the doctor,” says Boo, who until a few years ago, was teaching a group of women in Anna Nagar.
Now, his classes — Tai Chi, karate and drawing — are taught at his house. He also organises a karate tournament every year in memory of his son Vimal, who died in an accident. A satisfied teacher, Boo is loved by his students, who gave him a surprise on his birthday this year.
Boo can be reached at 93806 49186.