I was the youngest of 7 children in my family. Each of my brothers and sisters was involved in a variety of different sports and a few were members of …
It had not been an easy journey but a road with many challenges with few friends. Success in the Unarmed Art of Combat is unfortunately not sold on Google … quick and instant.
More than 54 years ago, my dad come home one evening dressed in a funny white suit. His short explanation was that he had started training karate at a Goju school close to our home. I was impressed with this totally foreign art of fighting originally from Japan.
Later that same year a demonstration was done at our primary school by Norman Robinson sensei and a senior student, Eddy Kannemeyer. The strength and discipline impressed me and my long and hard career in the ancient art of unarmed combat had started.
Training had become a non-negotiable part of my life and many exploits had made the journey very colourful. Sensei Norman is a brilliant instructor teaching JKA (Shotokan) with a strong influence of Judo.
After school, training for the university team was fun and the highlight being the SAU (South Africa Universities Karate Championships) each year. Please allow me to confess that the social side had been the real drawcard.
I will never forget the unsympathetic hiding I received from Piet le Roux sensei, captain of the OFS University Karate Team. It was my first year and little did I know that this senior opponent was a formidable fighter with a world of knowledge and years of experience.
The University of Potchefstroom karate team was coached by Braam Peens sensei, a hard and unsympathetic Goju-ryu instructor with a real passion for true-karate. We were taught unequivocal rock-solid karate from the traditional school of Goju-Ryu.
The University of Pretoria team was coached by Frans Joubert sensei, a Shukukai instructor following an impressive style of the late Kimura sensei. Being the only Shotokan student was a challenge but winning for your alma-mater was far more important.
Koos Burger sensei had a tremendous influence in my career in the fighting arts. A non-political figure with powerful karate and excellent technique. Sensei Koos’s tolerance was often tested through my teenage years especially when we were invited to teach in the smaller country towns.
Nigel Jackson sensei, the only South African to ever complete the notorious instructor’scourse in Japan, was a greatest influence and sparked my interest and adoration for the Japanese culture. I was graded under him to third Dan level. Yon-dan grade was awarded by Hiroshi Shirai sensei in Milano, Italy after I failed the first attempt!
Grading for 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th Dan were under the auspices of Keigo Abe sensei over a period of 25 years. It had been a shock when we received the news of Abe sensei’s passing but knew a formidable team had been selected to carry the JSKA banner.
It is indeed exciting to experience the new path of JSKA with an extremely dynamic team leading the way – the sky does seem the only limit!