Kicking his way to the top

Sindac gets ready to perform kicking drills during Professor Eric Larsons Advanced Shotokan Karate class. ()

Sindac gets ready to perform kicking drills during Professor Eric Larson’s Advanced Shotokan Karate class. ()

Eighteen. Forty. Twelve.

No, that’s not the combination to an obscure locker combination of some sort. These are the numbers that mean a lot to Skyline student Victor Sindac-a full-time student with a full-time job who has a full-time passion for karate.

Eighteen represents the number of units he’s taking this semester, forty represents the number of hours he works per week, and twelve represents the number of championship medals he’s won at both local and international competitions.

“When I started college, I did not have brothers or sisters to protect me from harm,” said Sindac through an e-mail interview. “I wanted to at least learn how to defend myself and to fight when trouble arises. So, I enrolled in Shotokan Karate. But the more I learned, the more I became aware of my surroundings, and I never got into any trouble.”

Shotokan, along with Shito-ryu, Goko-ryu, and Wado-ryu, is one of the four major forms of karate that is practiced in Japan and recognized by the World Karate Foundation. However, Shotokan differentiates itself from the other three in that it emphasizes more dynamic, straight movements, and is more linear in its form.

Sindac began his formal training in Shotokan Karate in 1988 in Manila, Philippines, and has continued his training here in the U.S., where he came in 2002 in order to help increase the popularity of the sport. Sindac was trained by Sensei Kunio Sasaki, who just so happens to be the official Japan Karate Association (JKA) representative to the Philippines.

“Karate has helped me in so many different ways: It improved my reflexes and co-ordination, it increased my strength, stamina, flexibility and kept me in shape,” said Sindac. “But for the most part, it improved my concentration at work and school. It helped me become more focused on setting goals and develop a positive attitude toward life through self-confidence and self-discipline.”

Speaking of work and school, Sindac is immensely buried by it. Currently in his first semester at Skyline, Sindac chose this campus after comparing it to other campuses around the Bay Area, as he was trying to get a feel of which school he felt he could most succeed in. Sindac is currently enrolled in telecommunications classes, as he is majoring in network engineering. He attends school Monday through Friday from 8:10 to 1:30 p.m., and works Friday through Tuesday where he works the swing shift at his job from 3 to 11 p.m. Thus, Sindac quickly implied that his busy lifestyle didn’t allow for him to have a social life whatsoever.

So how does one find the time to practice karate anyway?

“On my days off, I train by myself practicing my forms and sparring drills over and over for about two hours or so, or I go in the dojo and train with my friends,” said Sindac. “Sometimes, I run on the race track here at Skyline or play basketball in the gym to supplement my training.”

But not only does Sindac hone his skills at a dojo, but he practices on campus as well.

“Having Victor is a great asset to my class,” said Professor Eric Larson, who has Sindac in his Advanced Shotokan Karate class. Because of Sindac’s vast experience in the sport, Larson explained that Sindac is more of an assistant in the class, as opposed to an actual student.

But on a professional level, Sindac is a teacher of the sport as well.

He began assisting at a karate club in Manila in 1991, and then three years later, he moved on to another dojo in his hometown, where he taught from 1994 to 2002. When he came over to the United States, he opened up his own dojo in San Diego. Overall, Sindac’s students have faired very well in their own right. They have won numerous awards at the local, national and international level. And as recent as this year, at the United States Open Karate Championship, two of his students were awarded the Youth Male and Youth Female Competitors of the Year award.

As of now, Sindac is eyeing another teaching opportunity. At the moment, he’s trying to form a karate team that would represent Skyline at some competitive level.

The determination, skill and commitment that Sindac displays at work and school is equally evident through the twelve karate medals he’s won in a span of over four years.

In 2003, Sindac placed second in forms, third in sparring and third in team sparring at a national level karate championship. In 2004, he snatched a whopping five medals: first place in forms, first place in sparring, first place in team forms, first place in mixed team forms, and second place in team sparring. In 2005, Sindac captured two more first place medals, but this time, he did it at the Ozawa Cup International Karate Tournament held in Las Vegas, Nevada. And this year, to top it all off, Sindac collected two more first place medals at the FSKA World Karate Championships held in Las Vegas during the October 21 weekend.

“The World Karate Championships was everything that I had dreamed of,” said Sindac. “The level of competition was really high and very intense, considering the fact that national pride was always at stake, so every athlete was there to win. Winning at the World Karate Championships was a dream come true and winning two gold medals was beyond my wildest imagination.”