History of Kendo in South Africa (1985 - 2018)


Kendo in South Africa had existed since 1985 and has a long history. The details of this history (from 1985 to 2016) is a collection of writings from the first two presidents of the South African Kendo Federation (SAKF), the official national body for Kendo, Iaido and Jodo in South Africa:

1985 - 2010 By Buster Sefor, SAKF President (1996-2015)

Kendo was introduced to South Africa by Sensei Malcolm Dorfman (8th dan Karate), one of the country’s leading karate senseis, when on a visit to Japan in 1985 for a karate grading, he practised kendo and was graded shodan. On his return to South Africa a number of his karate students started kendo and on his next visit to Japan he was awarded his nidan in kendo.


In 1987 Malcolm Sensei had to devote his full attention to karate and stopped practicing kendo. However a small group of 2 to 3 members continued practicing at his dojo. The activity nearly died out until a revival in 1988 saw the start of a slow growth.

In January 1989, the current President of the South African Kendo Federation, Buster Sefor joined and started kendo. There were 5 regular members at that time, Alan Walker was the senior, Derek Ashburn, Barry Gordon, Peter Furness and Buster Sefor.


Malcolm Sensei had practised his kendo in Tokyo at the Kyumeikan dojo under Kubo Sensei (7th dan kendo, 7th dan iaido, 6th dan jodo), and in March 1989 Kubo Sensei sent one of his best young students, Takashi Shimamura, to South Africa. Takashi was at university at that time and came to South Africa for an extended stay to study English. He was 20 years old and had then a 3rd dan in kendo and iaido and 2nd dan judo. He joined the dojo and injected enthusiasm and good teaching and allowed the members to experience real Japanese kendo for the first time. As it turned out Takashi stayed for 2 years with the Sefor family.


Membership grew slowly and in July 1990 at the invitation of Kubo Sensei, Buster Sefor and Takashi Shimomura visited Italy to take part in a joint Japanese-Italian kendo gasshuku for two weeks. As a result of this experience an invitation was extended to Kubo Sensei to visit South Africa.


About this time the South African Kendo Federation was formed with Peter Furness as President and Buster Sefor as Secretary. We also became members of the Confederation of Martial Arts which subsequently became the Martial Arts Authority. In October 1990 we moved our dojo from Malcom Sensei’s dojo to the Ulmann Park Recreation centre in order to practice on a wooden floor. Dojos were started in Cape Town (by a 3rd dan visitor from France) and Durban (by Barry Gordon who moved down to Durban).


In February 1991 we were delighted to host a Japanese delegation comprising two 7th dans (Arakawa Sensei and Kubo Sensei) and three 3rd dans who ran a one week workshop and officiated at a South African grade examination. This was not an official grading as we were not yet members of the International Kendo Federation, however it gave a guideline as to our progress. The visit was enormously successful. It was with sadness that we said goodbye to Shimomura San who had to return to Japan to complete his studies.


As a result of these contacts we applied to the International kendo Federation for membership. This resulted in an invitation to send delegates to the Kendo Foreigners Summer Camp in Kitamoto during August 1991. Peter Furnsess, Buster Sefor and Mike Moore (from Cape Town) traveled to Japan where they participated in training with Kubo Sensei as well as practicing for two weeks at Kitamoto with delegates from 31 other countries. All three were successful in their grade examinations for shodan. The chief sensei at Kitamoto this year was Nomasa sensei (hachidan hanshi) , and unbeknown to us this was ultimately to be of great benefit to South African kendo.


During this visit we met with the Secretary General of the IKF who advised us that South Africa had been provisionally accepted as a member to be ratified at the next IKF general assembly in Paris in 1993.


On our return from Japan in September 1991 we hosted a visit by Ohno sensei (6th dan kyudo) and his son Naoshi (2nd dan) who ran a workshop and introduced the fascinating martial art of Japanese archery to South Africa.


We were now practicing without any teachers, our highest grade being shodan. We recognised that being so isolated, if we were to advance in kendo, iaido and jodo, we would have to commit to going to competitions and workshops internationally and if possible have teachers visit South Africa. Our first international visit was to compete in the 9th World Kendo Championship in France in April 1994. We sent a team of 8 in order to gain as much experience as possible. Mario Walluschnig, Gareth Bell and Ray Fleming received their shodan grade. This was a fantastic learning experience for us and the first time most members had experience real kendo. We attended the board meetings of both the IKF and EKF and were officially accepted as members of both organizations.


In June 1994 one of our members, Cheryl Jay visited Japan, trained with Kubo sensei and attended the summer camp at Kitamoto where she graded shodan in kendo. This was a major achievement for her as she is deaf. We also had a visit from a German kendoka, Uwe Kumpf, a 5th dan then, who spent two weeks with us training and being on holiday.


Early in 1995, Mr. Ishimaru, a businessman working for Sumitomo was assigned to South Africa, and fortunately for us he was a 5th dan in kendo. He had been asked by his sensei, Nomasa sensei (8th dan, hanshi), who Buster Sefor had met in Kitamoto in 1991, to start teaching us. We started to practice and learn in a more effective an proper manner. In April 1995 we sent a team of 5 to compete in the European Kendo Championships in Glasgow, Scotland. We continued to gain experience and Peter Furness, Buster Sefor and Mario Walluschnig passed their nidan grade examination in kendo. Peter and Buster also obtained their nidan in iaido and Mario a shodan in iaido.


As a result of meeting the British delegation in Glasgow we had a visit from Jock Hopson Sensei (now 7th dan kendo, iaido & jodo) who gave workshops in Johannesburg and in Natal. He also officiated at our trials to select a team for the EKF Championships to be held in Hungary in April 1996.


Unfortunately at the beginning of 1996 there was a split in the SAKF due to a difference of opinion between the President and the Secretary. As a result, most members supported Buster Sefor who then became the President of the SAKF. Peter Furness started another group, the SAKA. The conflict lasted nearly 2 years and finally under direction of the National Sports Council and the Martial Arts Authority, the SAKF was declared the only official body for kendo, iaido and jodo in South Africa.


This internal conflict resulted in us sending only one unofficial delegate, Tony Hughes to the EKF Championships. He also passed his nidan in kendo at this event.


We continued to train under Ishimaru sensei and in March 1997 we sent a team, with Ishimaru Sensei as coach, to Kyoto, Japan to take part in the World Iaido Festival and the 10th World Kendo Championships. In comparison to the previous world championships our standard had improved markedly. Buster Sefor gained his sandan in iaido and Mario Walluschnig his nidan in iaido. Gareth Bell and Ray Fleming were awarded their nidan in kendo and Rian van Zyl his shodan.


In July 1997 Buster Sefor attended the All United States Kendo/Iaido summer camp in Colorado Springs where he successfully graded sandan in kendo.


In 1998 we sent a team of 5, with Ishimaru Sensei as coach, to take part in the EKF Championships in Basel, Switzerland. Mario Walluschnig received his sandan in kendo. Also during this time we initiated our development program for previously disadvantaged communities in South Africa.


In April 1999 we were delighted to welcome to South Africa a delegation from Japan of Nomasa Sensei (8th dan, hanshi), Seto Sensei (7th dan, kyoshi) and Irii Sensei (7th dan, kyoshi – now 8th dan) as well as from Germany, Kumpf Sensei (6th dan, renshi). Together with Ishimaru Sensei (5th dan) we had for the first time in South Africa sufficient senseis to make a grading panel to grade up to 3rd dan. We held a very well attended workshop with a number of beginners taking part. Gareth Bell and Ray Fleming achieved sandan grade, Rian van Zyl, Cheryl Jay and Kobus van Wyk received nidan grade and Gert Botha, Deon de Jongh and Cedric Jacques received shodan grade. The visit was a great success all round.

Due to this seminar we were unable to send a full team to the 1999 EKF Championships in Lourdes, France as the dates coincided. However we felt it important that we were represented and Tony Hughes attended and took part in the competition.


In July of 1999 Ray Fleming and Tony Hughes visited Japan to take part in the Kitamoto summer camp. In addition they spent time in Tokyo with Nomasa sensei and had the privilege of training at the famous Mitsubishi dojo with Nomasa sensei. Tony was also successful in obtaining his sandan grade at Kitamoto.


A team of five under the direction of Ishimaru Sensei, competed in the 11th World Kendo Championships in Santa Clara, California, United States during April 2000. Again our standard had noticeably improved compared to the previous championship. One of our new development members, Vusi Gubuza, fought very well and also was graded shodan. We were also delighted that Ishimaru Sensei passed his 6th dan examination.


On our return it was with great sadness that we said our farewell to Ishimaru Sensei who had completed his five year commitment in South Africa and was reassigned to Japan. His contribution to South African kendo in terms of teaching, donations of equipment and financial assistance is inestimable. We were also happy to welcome another businessman from Japan assigned to South Africa, Sakabe Sensei (5th dan) who has also started to instruct our members.


In May 2000, the President of the SAKF, Buster Sefor attended an Iaido and Jodo seminar at the University of Guelph, Canada in order to improve knowledge of Iaido and Jodo.


In August 2000, Buster Sefor and William van Straaten attended the Kitamoto summer camp in Japan. Buster passed his 4th dan grade examination and William his shodan. They were also fortunate to spend time and train with Nomasa Sensei and Ishimaru Sensei at the Mitsubishi dojo. They were also greatly appreciative of the many kindnesses shown to them. Buster also was please to spend some time with Kubo Sensei and also Takashi Shimomura.


In November 2000, for the first time, the SAKF sent a team of 3 to compete in the European Iaido Championships in Sittard, Holland. This was a very important learning experience in terms of further developing Iaido in South Africa.


In the April of 2001 we sent a team of 6 to compete in the European Kendo Championships in Bologna.


In June of 2001 we were privileged to host an official delegation of the International Kendo Federation who led a 2 day workshop and grading examination. The delegation was lead by Tetsuya Watanabe (hachidan hanshi) and included Tomoharu Ito (hachidan kyoshi), Teruo Oboki (nanadan kyoshi) and Hiroshi Kanzaki (nanadan kyoshi). We were also delighted to welcome Ishimaru sensei who returned to South Africa for a short visit. 6 members passed dan grade examinations and 17 passed kyu grade. 32 attended the workshop. In July William van Straaten attended the Kitamoto Summer Camp and obtained his kendo nidan.


In April 2002 we once again welcomed Ishimaru sensei together with Idogawa sensei (nanadan) and Tsuruda sensei who ran what was now becoming an annual workshop. 12 members passed their grade examinations. In July Tony Hughes and Ray Fleming attende Kitamoto summer camp where Tony was successful in his yondan examination.


April 2003, for our annual workshop, saw the return of Ishimaru sensei with Hiroshi Ogawa sensei (nanadan) as well as Uwe Kumpf sensei (rokudan) and his wife Kazuko Kumpf sensei (godan) from Germany. From 31 attendees, 22 received their grades. In July we sent a team of only 2 members to the World Kendo Championships in Glasgow.


In May of 2004 we welcomed Ishimaru sensei together with Kiyifumi Mori sensei (rokudan) for our annual workshop. This time we had 67 attendees with 55 passing the grade examination. We now had about 100 active members. April 2004 we sent a team of 5 to the EKF Championships in Budapest where we advanced further than we had done previously. In July Buster Sefor and Llewelyn Roderick attended the Kitamoto Summer Camp where Llewelyn was successful in his sandan examination.


Each year Ishimaru sensei returns with kendo friends to teach at our annual SAKF seminar which slowly grows larger.


In 2005 Buster Sefor attended a seminar in Brussels where he was awarded his 5th dan in kendo and 4th dan in Iaido. Soon after in 2006 we sent a delegation top take part in the renowned Rickmansworth seminar in the UK run by Sumi sensei (hachidan hanshi). At this workshop, Tony Hughes was awarded his 5th dan in kendo and Ray Fleming his 4th dan in kendo. Later in the year we sent a team of 5 members to compete in the World Championships held in Taipei, Taiwan.


In 2007 & 2008 we sent delegations to the Kitamoto camp in Japan and once again to Rickmansworth where Mitchell Kyle became the youngest South African to be awarded a 3rd dan. Also in 2008 we sent a team to Helsinki to compete in the European Kendo Championships where Mitchell Kyle was granted a fighting spirit award..


In February 2009 Buster Sefor attended the EKF referees seminar where he passed his 6th dan kendo examination becoming the first South African to do so. The SAKF will be hosting an EKF delegation in May for the Annual SAKF seminar and will also be sending a team to the 14th Kendo World Championships in Sao Paulo during August.


As can be seen, despite our small size, we have been as active as possible in growing kendo in South Africa and encouraging senior members to obtain international experience.


All of the above activities over the years have been financed by the individual members of the SAKF as, despite many approaches, we have as yet received no grants from government or the appropriate sports controlling bodies. During the life of the SAKF we have taken an active role in serving on the committees of the IKF, the EKF and the Martial Arts & Games Committee of South Africa.


Our continual quest is to have kendo more widely known in South Africa and to promote membership. We also have an active development program for previously disadvantaged communities. In this regard, we demonstrate at school fetes, we demonstrate for the Japanese Embassy when requested, we have demonstrated at product launches at major exhibition as well as appeared in TV adverts. We have promoted kendo in programs on television and radio and have had articles in newspapers and magazines. Despite all this we find it difficult to attract and retain members as kendo is so little known in the West.


President’s Report 2011 (By Buster Sefor)

Summary

I can say without doubt that 2011 has been one of the most disappointing years for kendo in South Africa. From a promising start at the beginning of the year we have seen our membership decline by over 30%. The commitment of both administrators and members to advancing kendo and to regular practice has been dismal.


The attendance at our most important event, the Annual Seminar and Open Competition in February was less than a third of our members. Even more disappointing, the attendance at our Summer Seminar, when your committee went to great efforts to have 2 hachidan and 2 nanadan senseis from Japan lead the seminar, was still less than 50% of our membership. The lack of interest in representing South Africa at the European Championships in Poland meant that we could only manage to send 3 competitors. Of more concern is the low number of beginners starting kendo last year and that we do not have a regular stream of kyu grades coming through to test for shodan. In fact we currently only have 4 1st kyu members and no 2nd kyu members.


The Durban dojo has all but ceased to exist and despite efforts to start activities in Kimberley and Port Elizabeth, we still await positive results.


A further indication of the lack of commitment this last year was that we had not a single inter dojo competition.


Highlights of the Year:

Once again we were privileged to welcome Ajiro sensei, Irii sensei and Ishimaru sensei from Japan to lead our Summer Seminar. We were also pleased to welcome the delegation from Mozambique together with Suenaga sensei.


Tony Hughes sensei passed his 6th dan examination in Kitamoto.


For the first time we had a senior enough grading jury to test up to 4th dan and Mitchel Kyle was successful in passing this examination.


13 members challenged in the 1st dan to 3rd dan examinations.


We sent a team of 3 to compete in the EKF Championships in Gdynia, Poland.


Other

We continue our membership of MASA. We are now part of the Japanese block comprising kendo, aikido and jujitsu. Your president is chairman of the block.


Masa has now elected a new president, Louise Viviers. We still await a reply from the Lottery Board regarding the application put in 2 years ago.


The constitutional change in voting structure at the AGM as proposed last year was passes by a 2/3 email vote and is active for this AGM.


As mandated by the EKF your executive committee has defined the rules and procedure for the application and awarding of the Renshi Shogo by the SAKF. These have been approved by the EKF.


My thanks to my executive committee for their continued support for kendo. The committee met 4 times in the year. Details of development, technical matters, finance and dojos will be presented by these EXCO members.


2012

Your president and Ray Fleming attended the Shimpan Seminar in Brussels We will soon be holding trials for team selection for WKC15 to be held in Italy in May. We are expecting Ishimaru sensei to be here for 2 weeks in May to assist in preparing the team for WKC15. He will travel with us as coach.


The SAKF Annual Seminar and Open Competition will be held at the end of March.


We have nominated one member to attend the Kitamoto Summer Camp.


We once again expect to welcome Ajiro sensei, Irii sensei and Ishimaru senei in October for our Summer Seminar.


It is vital that we again initiate beginners courses and resurrect the inter dojo competitions


END


President’s Report 2012 (By Buster Sefor)

Summary

I am happy to report that 2012 was a significant improvement over 2011. Attendance showed a marked improvement, both our Annual and Summer Seminars were well attended and we had a significant increase in membership. Our finances are in good shape and I must thank the Executive Committee for the hard work they have done on your behalf during the year. Details will be presented in the various portfolio reports.


Highlights of the Year:

Once again we were privileged to welcome Ajiro sensei, Irii sensei and Ishimaru sensei from Japan to lead our Summer Seminar. Joining them were Tscherter sensei and Kumpf sensei from Europe. We were also pleased to again welcome the delegation from Mozambique together with Suenaga sensei. For the first time in SAKF history, we had 6 senseis, 7th dan and higher as a grading panel. This meant that we could grade to 5th dan level. History was made when Ray Fleming passed his 5th dan examination. Also Warren Ho passed his 4th dan examination. In both the Annual Seminar and Summer Seminar 56 members passed their kyu grade test and 18 passed their dan grade test.


The South African Open kendo Championship was won by Mitchel Kyle; 2nd was Brendan Dateling and joint 3rd were Adam Cullen and Fernando Witbooi.


We sent a team of 6 to compete in the World Kendo Championships in Novara, Italy. Once again we were unable to progress beyond the preliminary round, However it was noticeable that the standard of world kendo had improved significantly and some countries are getting close to the Japanese standard.


Your President attended both the board meetings of the International Kendo Federation and the European Kendo Federation.

MASA

We continue our membership of MASA. We are now part of the Japanese block comprising kendo, aikido and jujitsu. Your president is chairman of the block.


SASCOC has become proactive in all sporting codes, including MASA. MASA has had to rewrite its constitution and set up Provincial structures to fall in line with SASCOC requirements for affiliation. Soon it seems, SASCOC will require all affiliated members to be active in all 9 provinces. This is going to be a challenge for the SAKF that we must start working on. It was reported that the Lotto has allocated R3 million to MASA for its development and distribution to its members. The funds have not yet materialised and your president is in regular contact with MASA in this regard.


Other Items

The membership promotion through Groupon has been a great success with over 100 enquiries. It is important that we track the fall out rate over a 6 month and 12 month period and the Development Director will do this.


Warren Ho and his team are to be congratulated for producing and marketing our excellent SAKF calendar for 2013.


A number of very successful workshops and inter dojo competitions were held during the year.


Ray Fleming participated in the Rickmansworth seminar under the leadership of Sumi sensei and Andre Coetzer attended the Kitamoto Summer Camp in July.



2013

Trials were held on 10th February to select the team to participate in the EKF Championships in Berlin during April The SAKF Annual Seminar and Open Competition will be held on the 16th & 17th March. 4 inter-dojo competitions are planned.


We have nominated two members to attend the Kitamoto Summer Camp during July.


We once again expect to welcome Ajiro sensei, Irii sensei and Ishimaru senei in October for our Summer Seminar.


We will soon advertise on Groupon for our next intake of beginners.


END


President’s Report 2013 (By Buster Sefor)

Summary

2013 was pleasing in the continued growth of kendo and interest in opening new dojos. Both our Annual and Summer Seminars were well attended we were


We were able to hold dan grade exams to 4th dan level. Our finances are in good shape and I must thank the Executive Committee for the hard work they have done on your behalf during the year. Details will be presented in the various portfolio reports.


Highlights of the Year:

We were happy to welcome Chiba sensei, Irii sensei and Ishimaru sensei from Japan, Suenaga sensei from Mozambique and Kumpf sensei from Germany to lead our Summer Seminar. Every indication is that we will be hosting Ajiro sensei, Chiba sensei and Irii sense again in 2014, the first time we will have 3 x 8th dans to lead our seminar. With 6 x 6th dan senseis and higher, we were able to grade up to 4th dan and it was most pleasing that Craig Stewart & Fernado Witbooi passed the 4th dan exam.


During the year we welcomed 2 x 4th dans; 2 x 3rd dans; 2 x 2nd dans and 3 x 1st dans. We awarded over 80 kyu grades during 2013.


The South African Open kendo Championship was won by Mitchel Kyle again; 2nd was Andrew Whittaker and joint 3rd were Adam Cullen and Carle Joubert.


We sent a team of 3 to compete in the European Kendo Championships in Berlin, Germany. Once again we were unable to progress beyond the preliminary round, However it was noticable that the standard of world kendo continues to improve.


Your President attended the board meeting of the European Kendo Federation.


MASA

We continue our membership of MASA. We are now part of the Japanese block comprising kendo, aikido and jujitsu. Your president is chairman of the block.


SASCOC has become proactive in all sporting codes, including MASA. MASA has had to rewirite its constitution and set up Provincial structures to fall in line with SASCOC requirements for affiliation. Currently we must be active in 5 provinces to be eligible for colours. The importance of being approved by SASCOC was highlighted by the support the Kickboxing Federation received after the death of one of their fighters in Turkey. The Lotto funding has still not materialised.


EXCO

Your EXCO met 6 times during the year.


Other Items

Again the membership promotion through Groupon has been a great success with over 100 enquiries. However only 25% are redeeming vouchers. We now plan to include a T-Shirt in the offer to up the rate of redemption.

A number of very successful workshops and interdojo competitions were held during the year and we participated twice in the Japanese Embassy Martial Arts day in Johannesburg and Pretoria.


2014

Trials are scheduled for 23rd February to select the team to participate in the EKF Chamionships in Clermont-Ferrand, France in April.


The SAKF Annual Seminar and Open Competition will be held on the 22nd & 23rd February. At least 4 inter-dojo competitions are planned. Your EXCO are planning a number of additional events including film evenings and shimpan seminars amongst others.


The new SAKF T-Shirts for the Groupon promotion will also be available for sale to members at R90.


We have nominated two members to attend the Kitamoto Summer Camp during July.


We will soon advertise on Groupon for our next intake of beginners.


Finally, even though there is no election for office bearers this year, I am giving advanced warning that I will not be standing for re-election as President in 2015 and intend this year to be a year of handing over duties and functions. My last official duty will be to coach and take the team to the world championships in Japan in 2015 and introduce the new President to the FIK and EKF.


END


President’s Report 2014 (By Buster Sefor)

Overview

It is with mixed feelings that I will be stepping down as President and from committee functions after 25 years as Secretary & President. Of course, health permitting, I will still continue kendo practice. Later tonight you will elect a new EXCO and President to serve for the next two years and I have no doubt that younger and fresher outlook will take kendo in South Africa to new heights. My congratulations in advance to the new committee.


Highlights of the Year:

We were happy to welcome Chiba sensei, Irii sensei and Ishimaru sensei from Japan and Tscherter sensei from Switzerland and Kumpf sensei from Germany to lead our Summer Seminar. With 5 x 7th dan senseis and higher (with permission from the EKF), we were able to grade up to 5th dan and it was most pleasing that Cedric Jacques passed the 5th dan exam and Henk Son from Mozambique passed the 4th dan exam.


During the year we welcomed 1 x 5th dan, 3 x 3rd dans and 5 x 1st dans. We awarded over 70 kyu grades during 2014. The South African Open Kendo Championship was won by Brendan Dateling; 2nd was Mitchel Kyle and joint 3rd were Adam Cullen and Cedric Jacques.


We sent a team of 7 to compete in the European Kendo Championships in Clermont-Ferrand, France. Once again we were unable to progress beyond the preliminary round, and once again the standard of world kendo continues to improve.


Your President attended the board meeting of the European Kendo Federation.


MASA

We continue our membership of MASA. We are part of the Japanese block comprising kendo, aikido and jujitsu. Your president is chairman of the block. SASCOC has become proactive in all sporting codes, including MASA. MASA has had to rewirite its constitution and set up Provincial structures to fall in line with SASCOC requirements for affiliation.


Currently we must be active in 5 provinces to be eligible for colours.


LOTTO

Finally we received LOTTO funding in tha amount of R170k for development purposes and R30k for equipment purchase to support ‘previously disadvantaged’ members. Your committee is dealing with MASA on the best use of the funding. We now need to display the LOTTO logo on all out stationery.


EXCO

Your EXCO met 5 times during the year and are handling day-to-day matters via WhatsApp.


Other Items

The new Groupon initiative has been launched and we await the results with interest.


A number of very successful workshops and interdojo competitions were held during the year.


2015

The 16th World Kendo Championships will be held from the 29th to 31st May at the Budokan in Tokyo, Japan. The first phase of trials to select a team for the World Championships was held on 24th January 2015.


The SAKF Annual Seminar and Open Competition and Trials will be held on the 7th & 8th February.


Your Technical Director will outline plans for seminars and events in 2015.The new SAKF T-Shirts are available for sale to members at R90.


Every indication is that we will be hosting Ajiro sensei, Chiba sensei and Irii sense again in October 2015, the first time we will have 3 x 8th dans to lead our seminar.


Finally, thank you to all the members and the EXCO committee for their support during my tenure and I wish you the best of fortune for the future.


END


President’s Report 2015 (By Warren Ho)

OVERVIEW

This first year of my presidency has been an exciting but challenging one. Exciting because there had been so much happening this past year ranging from 7 grade examinations, 6 national shiai’s, 5 seminars, 5 kendo demonstrations, 3 new dojo’s, 1 international competition, to 1 fundraising function. Challenging because of the limited resources we had to accomplish all these events. Nevertheless, each initiative was successful thanks to the combined efforts of all the SAKF members!


16WKC

The first half of the year was dominated by preparations for the 16th World Kendo Championships (16WKC) that was scheduled to happen in May 2015 in Tokyo, Japan.


A National Kendo Team of 5 men and 1 woman was selected at the open trials in late January, followed by an intensified team training schedule that included the invitation and subsequent month-long visit by Ishimaru sensei to help prepare the team for the upcoming 16WKC.


At the 16WKC, although the men’s team and individual fighters performed amicably, they failed to progress past the preliminary rounds. However, it was our one female fighter, Carle Joubert, who was able to making it through the pool rounds, as well as to the 2nd stage of the Knock-Out rounds, putting her in the top 32 Kendo Female players in the world– A South African first! So impressive was her performance, the Nippon Television Network Corporation (NTV), decided to feature her and part of her fights in a kendo documentary that was screened on national TV a few days later!

It was also at this WKC that our ex-president of the SAKF, Buster Sefor, had challenged and successfully passed his 7th dan grading, making him the 1st South African to accomplish such an accolade.


SHIAI

Besides the hype of the 16WKC, SAKF members were also treated to 5 other shiai’s throughout the year – The Open Championships and Interdojo shiai’s hosted by Mushin, Rivonia Kendo Club, Niji No Senshi, Ken Yu Kai and San Kawa. With each event, different competition types kept it interesting for everyone, ranging from beginners’, kyu-grade, dan-grade, individuals, 3-person teams and women-only competition.


SEMINARS

There were also 5 seminars held during the year that included the Summer Seminar in February; Seminar with Ishimaru Sensei in April; The Western Province Seminar in August; A women’s only Seminar with Yuri Aoki sensei in September; and our annual SAKF seminar with our high-ranking sensei’s from Japan and Europe – Chiba Sensei, Irii sensei, Ishimaru sensei, Tsherter sensei and Kumpf sensei. On a sad note, it was said that this would be the last visit by some of our Japanese sensei as they felt they have done all they could for South African kendo. We are grateful for their support and instruction and hope that the knowledge they imparted onto our members will be put to good use and continue to guide our kendo for years to come.


DEMOSTRATION

It was also a busy year of demonstrations – 6 in total. One in particular to mention was the demonstration at the Japanese Embassy in Pretoria on Japan National Day in December. Kendo, was 1 of only 2 martial arts that were invited to perform by H.E. Shigeyuki Hiroki (Ambassador of Japan) and his guests.


GRADINGS

The SAKF hosted 7 gradings this year which includes the 2 gradings that were hosted by the dojo’s (and endorsed by the SAKF). In total, an impressive 171 kyu grades were successfully passed. Furthermore, 8 x new 1st Dan were initiated into the “black belt” fraternity. More impressive yet was the successful gradings of 6 x 2nd, Dans, 4 x 3rd Dans, 3 x 4th Dans and 1 x 5th Dan. With the successful grading of the 5th Dan by Mitchel Kyle, the SAKF is now able to grade up to 3rd Dan. This is huge milestone for South African kendo, as in the past, anyone wishing to grade to 3rd dan would have to travel overseas.


NEW DOJO’s

4 new dojo’s joined the SAKF this year, 3 of which were new Kendo dojo’s, namely the Rivonia Kendo Club based in Rivonia Johannesburg; the Kenshin Dojo in Durbaville, Cape Town; and Shishigashira Dojo in Cape Town.


It should be noted that the Kendo Kids program was also piloted at the Rivonia Kendo Club and has been successful to date. The intention is to later role out this program to all the dojo’s, thereby, allowing them to target younger kendo players whom we can groom to be great kendo players both in the local and international kendo arena in the future.


Garden Dojo, an affiliated dojo in New Castle, was an existing karate dojo that intended to include Iaido into their curriculum and hence join under the SAKF banner, however, they have subsequently decided to part from the SAKF due to various reasons.


FUND RAISER

The SAKF held one fundraising event in the form of hosting a movie screening – Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The event was successful in that it both raised a small amount of money for the SAKF, as well provide a relaxing social event to end the year off.


More fundraising events will be planned for 2016.


MASA

We continue our membership of MASA, the Martial Arts Association of South Africa, who in turn belong to SASCOC, the governing sports body in South Africa. Several meetings with MASA were held this year due to the planned Arnold Classic event in May 2016.


ADMIN

The SAKF also tried to implement some new membership and attendance processes that used the online platform, “Best Attendance”. Unfortunately, it did not work out as well as we had hoped and have reverted back to the old methods of submitting spreadsheets on members and attendance.


However, there has still been an insanely amount of administration processes and tasks that were accomplished this year which has prompted the need for deputy positions that will be proposed and voted on at the next AGM.


2016

2016 is going to be an even busier year than 2015! At the time of writing, the scheduled events this year include a 9-day visit by Uwe Kumpf sensei (7th Dan, Kyoshi) and his daughter, Sabrina Kumpf (5th dan); the 27th European Kendo Championships in Skopje, Macedonia; the Arnold Classic Sports Festival, an annual multisport event celebrating numerous sporting codes (including Kendo) and is named after the legendary professional body-builder, Arnold Schwarzenegger; the Foreign Leaders Summer Kendo Camp in Kitamoto, Japan; more national shiai’s, gradings, seminars and demonstrations.


CONCLUSION

The SAKF is pushing harder than ever to make Kendo a more prominent martial art in the South African landscape. Besides all the events scheduled for our existing members, there will be a renewed focus on increasing the number of members in 2016. Another of the SAKF’s objective is to develop our members’ Shiai skills. The last objective is to increase dojo’s assistance through administration guidance, providing sufficient training, and providing coaching and mentoring to dojo leaders.


Many initiatives will be put in place to accomplish these goals and the SAKF will require you to volunteer your time and skills from time to time. A development committee will also be formed to meet these objectives. The committee will also be tasked to help raise much-needed funds for the SAKF to carry out these initiatives.


Furthermore, as mentioned briefly, the need for tighter administration management and control is needed in order to gear the SAKF to be able to service a greater community in the years to come.


It is my personal belief that Kendo in South Africa is on the verge of a massive break-through and once breeched, there will be a massive influx of new members interested in training in this dynamic martial art. The SAKF, its affiliated dojos and all its current members, must be sufficiently prepared for this influx as it will change the landscape of how we currently conduct Kendo in South Africa.


Finally, I’d like to thank the members of the SAKF EXCO who have endured my hours-long EXCO meetings, hundreds of emails, late-night whatsapp messages and constant nagging this year; and had gotten all that needed to be done in a timeous and efficient manner. But, be warned, 2016 is going to be an even busier one!


Let us all make 2016 a year worth remembering due to our commitment to hard, vigorous Kendo training.


Ganbatte (“do your best”)!


Yours sincerely

Warren Ho

President: South African Kendo Federation (SAKF)

Written on 14 February 2016


President’s Report 2016 (By Warren Ho)

OVERVIEW

2016 was an extremely busy year for Kendo players in South Africa. From the German-Delegation seminar in March; to the EKC in Skopje, Macedonia in April, to the Arnold Classic Competition in May; to the Foreign Leaders’ Kendo camp in Kitamoto, Japan in July; to the last major event of the year being our International Kendo Seminar in October; then finally to the Year-End get-together in November! Scattered amongst these events were even more events ranging from competitions, more seminars and plenty of demonstrations!


Not only that, but this year saw many new initiatives being introduced that are a testament of the SA Kendo community’s maturity and growth.


Here is a review of the year:


EKC27 – Skopje, Macedonia

“A historical event – The 1st SA Women’s team in SA Kendo’s history, and the 1st time EVER that the SA Men’s team preceded to the KO rounds of the tournament!”


The 27th European Kendo Championships (EKC) was held in Skopje, Macedonia from 1-3 April 2016, and featured 38 nations competing in the Junior, Ladies and Men, team and individual competitions.


The National Kendo Team selected to represent South Africa consisted of 5 men and 4 women. This was the first year in the history of South African Kendo that a women’s team was sent to represent their country.


This was also the first time since competing in international competitions that the men’s team was able to proceed to the knock-out round of the tournament.


Lastly, another South African first, Buster Sefor (7th dan, Renshi) was asked by the European Kendo Federation (EKF) to be on the technical team for this championship. This again is testament that SA Kendo can perform on a global platform and that given the right conditions, can offer a lot to the global Kendo community.


The 2016 SA National Kendo Team consisted of:

Carle Joubert (c); Wendy Vermeulen; Yentl Krugel; Natalie Morris

Brendan Dateling (c); Warren Ho; Adam Cullen; Mathew Price; Anesu Shamu

This was also the first year that I went as the Delegation Leader of the South African team, as well as participate at the EKF’s General Assembly. Insight into the inner workings of the EKF was an eye-opener and gave me some ideas for the future development of kendo in South Africa.


SHIAI

There were many other local competitions throughout the year – The Open Championships and Interdojo shiai’s hosted by Mushin, Rivonia Kendo Club, Niji No Senshi, Ken Yu Kai and San Kawa, Kenshin and Shishigashira. With each event, different competition types kept it interesting for everyone, ranging from beginners’, kyu-grade, dan-grade, individuals and 3-person teams. Furthermore, the Arnold Classic Fitness event held at the Sandton Convention centre in May, allowed the SAKF to showcase what Kendo is to the greater sporting community.


Personally, I was also able to attend the 9th London Cup in the UK and had taken part in both the team and individual competitions. My personal account of this event can be found here: https://www.sakf.co.za/CMS/9th-london-cup-feedback/


SEMINARS

There were also numerous seminars held during the year. The March Seminar with Uwe Kumpf Sensei (7th dan, Renshi) and Sabrina Kumpf (5th Dan, ex-German National Team member and former EKC Champion) from Germany included some specific team training sessions for the SA National Team before the EKC that proved vital to their sterling performance at the championships.


The Shimpan Seminar led by Buster Sefor Sensei (7th dan, Renshi) and assisted by Ray Fleming Sensei (5th Dan), was held in July and was another was also a 1st for SA Kendo. It was well attended and the intension was to start preparing a new generation of shimpan which would in turn, improve all member’s shiai ability both on and around the shiai-jo. Special thanks must also be made to a few members who spent countless nights making the red and white shimpanki (flags). 3 sets of red and white shimpanki were given to each dojo with the intention that they would use them for their own dojo shiai’s, thereby improving their shiai and shimpan abilities. For a detailed write up, please refer to: https://www.sakf.co.za/CMS/1st-south-african-shimpan-seminar-9-july-2016/


Two successful Western Province Seminars and competitions were held during the year that highlighted the growth of Kendo in this region. The SAKF had sent specific people to assist in their growth and will continue to support this region going forward so as to ensure that the western province dojo’s will be at the same, if not better, level of Kendo compared to their inland counterparts.


Prior to the finale of the year, the SAKF International Kendo Seminar in October, there was a Kata Seminar led again by Buster Sefor sensei. Because the intention was to start gearing the International seminars to be more shinai-kendo focused (i.e. more wazza and shiai techniques), it was important to have the Kata seminar beforehand so as to ensure that this part of kendo was not neglected.


The final seminar of the year was the Annual SAKF International Kendo Seminar in October. With sensei’s and participants from 10 different countries, this was indeed an international seminar of note! Sensei’s and participants came from Dubai, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, Namibia, Mozambique and the United Kingdom. In total there were 71 participants and the 7 sensei’s to lead them were:


Uwe KUMPF (7th dan, Renshi) – Germany <—– DELEGATION LEADER

Buster SEFOR (7th dan, Renshi) – South Africa

Markus FREY (7th dan, Kyoshi) – Finland

Nobuo MORIYA (7th dan, Renshi) – Japan

Thibault BRUNEL DE BONNEVILLE (7th dan, Renshi) – France

HongJum LEE (7th dan, Renshi) – Korea

Kazuko KUMPF (6th Dan) – Germany

Anthony HUGHES (6th dan) – South Africa

A detailed write-up of this seminar can be found here: https://www.sakf.co.za/CMS/2016-sakf-international-kendo-seminar-feedback-14-16-oct-2016/


Regarding overseas seminars, Andrew Whitaker (3rd Dan) was selected to take part in the week-long Foreign Leaders’ Kendo Summer Camp in Kitamoto, Japan in July. Through this experience, Andrew was able to come back to SA with renewed and fresh knowledge of Kendo.


Lastly, Buster Sefor sensei (7th dan, Renshi) was also invited by the Ukrainian Kendo Federation to be a jury member for their dan grade examination, as well as a shimpan for the open championships earlier in the year.


DEMOSTRATION

The SAKF was also invited to do a number of demonstrations this year ranging from a demonstration at the Emperor’s Pal ace casino for Chinese New Year; to the demo’s at the Arnold Classic event; to a demo at Loftus Versfeld Stadium during a game between the SA Bluebulls and Japanese Sunwolves rugby team; to the Fujifilm experience demo; and finally the Japanese Spring festival demo at the Japanese School in Emmerentia. Several of these demonstrations were done at the request of the Japanese Embassy and the SAKF was happy to oblige in the interest of fostering a good relationship with the Embassy.


GRADINGS

The SAKF hosted several Kyu grade examinations this year, most of the times they would be incorporated after a competition event to be able. Furthermore, two Dan grade examinations were held that resulted in the successful gradings of 10 x new 1st Dans, 3 x 2nd, Dans and 3 x 3rd Dans.


On a special note: Tony Hughes Sensei (6th Dan) was awarded the shogo title of “Renshi” by the SAKF in December 2016. Shogo titles are teaching titles awarded to members of the community who have both the theoretical and practical knowledge and experience in kendo, and can teach this to other kenshi.


NEW DOJO’s

1 new dojo’s joined the SAKF this year, namely the Midrand Kendo Dojo. More details of this dojo can be found at: https://midrandkendo.wordpress.com


FUND RAISER

Again the fundraising event in the form of hosting a movie screening – Batman versus Superman, that was also the send-off for the SA National Team before the EKC in Macedonia. Other fundraising efforts included the sale of SAKF branded merchandise such as T-Shirts, jerseys, sweat towels and shinai bags.


Funding remains as one of the SAKF’s greatest challenges to being able to run the various initiatives to both grow and develop the SA kendo community, and we welcome any sponsors who would like to make a contribution to the SAKF to help fund these initiatives.


MASA

We continue our membership of MASA, the Martial Arts Association of South Africa, who in turn belong to SASCOC, the governing sports body in South Africa. It should be noted that our affiliation to MASA allows for the SAKF to apply for Full National Sporting colours for all the athletes who take part in the World and European Kendo Championships.


A special mention must also be made that Fernando Witbooi, the current SAKF Vice-President, was elected as the MASA Ethics Director.


ADMIN

Towards the end of 2016, a new online membership database and attendance tracking system was implemented. “Dojo Expert” allows for attendance to be tracked using a phone app that can be accessed by all members of the SAKF. At the time of writing, the new system had only been used by all the dojos for one month, and hence, still too early to report on its performance.


A YEAR OF INITIATIVES

2016 marked the 26th year that the SAKF has been in existence and has seen more changes and initiatives being conducted this year than ever before.


As such, the SAKF has had to update a number of its policies, one of which was the “ZERO-TOLERANCE-RULE to Harassment & Discrimination” policy. Under this policy, harassment and discrimination is clearly defined and will not be tolerated in any of its forms. The SAKF prides itself in its founding statements of its constitution, namely: “..the SAKF is a non-political, non-profit friendly organization for its related martial arts regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, age, creed or belief…”. I personally urge all members to familiarise themselves with this policy. Please refer to: https://www.sakf.co.za/CMS/sakf-adopts-a-zero-tolerence-rule-to-harassment-discrimination/


In 2016, The SA Kendo Senior Council (SAKSC) was formed with the intention of recognising those SA kendo community members who had contributed to the development of SA Kendo in the past and who could still actively contribute to the kendo community with the knowledge and experience. Buster SEFOR (7th dan, Renshi), Tony HUGHES (6th dan, Renshi) and Ray FLEMING (5th dan) were nominated as the inaugural members of the SAKSC.


The South African Kendo Federation Women’s Commission (SAKFWC) was also formed mid-way in 2016, and has as its main objectives:


-The increase of women’s participation and the broader geographical representation;

-Help to develop strategies to support the promotion of woman’s kendo;

-Raise funds for the inclusion of a female Sensei at the S.A.K.F seminars;

-Address woman kendo specific issues in training;

-Build a strong community of kendo females whose goals in kendo are alike;

-Increase female practitioners in SA Kendo.

-During the year, the SAKFWC had several meetings, from which vital feedback was sent to the SAKF to make -various adjustments to the Federation’s policies and procedures.


The SAKF also assisted in the formation of the Namibian Kendo and Iaido Federation. Their president, Andrew Pienaar, attended the International seminar in October and successfully graded to 1st dan, giving them a platform on which to start growing their community.


Prior to the International seminar in October, we also initiated a “30,000 suburi challenge”! The objective of this challenge was to get the participants excited for the upcoming seminar by challenging them to do 1,000 men suburi a day for 30 days! Surprisingly, when the challenge was put published on social media, there was huge interest from the global kendo community! Kenshi from Europe, America and Australia all signed up for the challenge and participated in the challenge and posting their results online. It was a huge success and something we definitely will continue doing in future.


Lastly, we also initiated the bi-monthly Dojo Leaders’ Gikeiko and Meeting sessions to help stimulate better communications amongst the dojo leaders and the SAKF.


Special mention must also be made to the exceptional marketing video that was produced by the “Man Of Action Concepts (MOAC)” group, and to the members of the San Kawa Kendo Dojo for arranging the production. It was well received by both the local and international kendo community. To watch this video, please go to: https://vimeo.com/156612899.


THE YEAR AHEAD

2017 is already in full-tilt. There is weekly squad training that a group of national team hopefuls had signed up for and have been training hard since the last quarter of 2016. The 28th EKC will be in May 2017 in Budapest, Hungary and the SA National Team will be announced upon publication of this report. Preparations for the March seminar with Kumpf sensei are also already underway. Over that same weekend, the SA Open Championships, a competition in which all bogu members of any grade can take part, will be held. Furthermore, it was decided that the championships will now be renamed as, “The Sefor Cup – SA Open Championships”, in honour of Buster Sefor Sensei’s contribution to the SA kendo community for the past three decades.


The 2017 calendar is again a full with a variety of seminars, competition, demo’s and other events. All of which is to benefit the growing SA Kendo community and provide them with as much exposure to every aspect of this dynamic martial art.


As usual, the SAKF is pushing harder than ever to make Kendo a more prominent martial art in the South African landscape. Our challenges remain the same, namely the lack of funding to keep these initiatives growing, and the limited committed groups and individuals to keep the inner workings of the organisation working.


I therefore urge all members to play their part by not only by training regularly at their home-dojo’s, but to also volunteer their knowledge, skills and time to assist the SAKF in their mission.


The 2017 AGM will require a new SAKF Executive Committee (EXCO) to be elected, and I urge you again to assist the new committee in whatever way possible.


Finally, I’d like to thank the current members of the SAKF EXCO and the SAKF Deputies who had served tirelessly with me on the SAKF these past two year – We’ve accomplished significant milestones together and I can only commend you on giving your very best to the greater SA Kendo Community that we serve.


Domo Arigato Gozaimashita


Yours sincerely


Warren Ho

President: South African Kendo Federation (SAKF)

Written on 24 February 2017


Presidents Report 2017 (By Warren HO)

OVERVIEW

2017 was another busy year for Kendo players in South Africa that consisted of many seminars, competitions, gradings and demonstrations.

Many of the events and other logistical matters will be covered in greater detail by the other EXCO member’s reports, but there are a few that I will be highlighting.

I will conclude my report with some thoughts and some ideas on how we can make 2018 an even more memorable year.


EKC28 – Budapest, Hungary.

The 28th European Kendo Championships (EKC) was held in Budapest, Hungary from 12-14 May 2017, and featured 40 nations and 700 participants taking part in in the Junior, Ladies and Men, team and individual competitions.


The 2017 National Kendo Team selected to represent South Africa consisted of 5 men (Brendan Dateling (Cap), Mathew Price, Grant Chancellor-Maddison, Craig Stuart, Michael Grice), 1 woman (Natalie Morris) and 1 junior (Andrew Ingle). Unfortunately, unlike the previous year, we were unable to send a women’s team to represent our country this year. However, we did have one Junior participating – which was only the 2nd time that it had been done in our SA Kendo history.


Day 1 begun with the Junior Team Championship in which no South African Junior team was represented. However, our excitement mounted as the next day would be the commencement of our team’s competitive involvement in the Championships!


Day 2 started with the Junior Individual Championships in which Andrew Ingle (17 years old and comes from our Cape Town Dojo, Kenshin) would represent the South Africans. Ingle put up formidable fights in his pool matches, beating his Latvian opponent convincingly, and loosing narrowly to his Greek opponent. This placed him 2nd in his pool that allowed him to progress to the 1st KO rounds. Unfortunately, his loss was against a Hungarian opponent, and who has been a product of an illustrious history of strong Kendo in their country.


In the afternoon, the Men’s Team Championships took place in which the 5-man team fought admirably against Belgium and Italy in their pool round, both teams of whom have had members who had been past EKC Champions in the team and individual events. Although the South African team lost, they fought valiantly and even scored a few points against these European Kendo powerhouses. Most notably was the intriguing Taisho (5th position) fight against SA Team Captain, Brendan Dateling, and his Belgium counterpart in which Dateling won the fight by 2 convincing strikes. Although the overall team score resulted in a loss, this together with his performance against the Italians earned him one of the 4 Fighting Spirit Awards for that day – A South African first, yet again!


Day 3 started with the Ladies’ Individual Competition of whom our sole representative, Natalie Morris, took part in. Morris’s spectacular performance in the pool rounds against Sweden and Portugal put her first in her pool that allowed her to proceed to the 1st KO round. Unfortunately, she was pitted against the eventual Bronze Medal winner from Belgium, but not without putting up a decent fight. This performance, combined with her performance at the pool rounds, led to another South African first - Winning one of the 4 Fighting Spirit Awards for The Women’s Individual event! It should be noted that Morris had also won another Fighting Spirit award the week prior to these Championship at the London Cup in the UK, a club competition that attracts Kendo players from around the world.


Later that day, the Men’s Individual Competition took place. Only 4 of the 5 men from the men’s team were able to participate due to the EKC rules. Matthew Price and Brendan Dateling were the only 2 of the 4 men who were able to proceed out of their pool rounds after beating their opponents from Luxenburg and Denmark; and Lithuania and Moldova, respectively. However, both lost in the 1st KO rounds against Turkey and Hungary, respectively.


As in previous years, many rookie mistakes were made resulting in unnecessary points being lost. Again, this boils down to a lack of international shiai experience. However, the SA Team put up a sterling performance by winning matches and awards that led to a comment by one of the referees: “By winning (mates and awards), the other European players will be taking note of the South Africans in future!”

SHIAI

There were many other local competitions throughout the year –Interdojo shiai’s hosted by Mushin, Rivonia Kendo Club, Niji No Senshi, Ken Yu Kai and San Kawa, Kenshin and Shishigashira. With each event, different competition types kept it interesting for everyone, ranging from beginners’, kyu-grade, dan-grade, individuals and 3-person teams.


Furthermore, prior to the EKC in Budapest, some member of the national team had also taken part in the London Cup in the UK and had produced some impressive result. Natalie MORRIS yet again took another fighting spirit award home, which kicked off her impressive performance at the EKC as mentioned above.


However, the most notable shiai for the year was the 1st SEFOR CUP CHAMPIONSHIPS that is so named in honour of Buster SEFOR sensei who had dedicated over 25 years (and counting) of his life to the development of Kendo in South Africa. To mark the occasion, special commemorative trophies were commissioned by our very own talented, Yentl Krugel. These trophies were awarded to the first, second, 2x third place and fighting spirit winners. Furthermore, the champion also took home a crystal floating trophy (kindly donated by Ubusha Technologies), as well as numerous prizes that were donated by our sponsors Eurokendo and E-Bogu. This year’s Champion was Matthew Price, 2nd place was Brendan Dateling, joint 3rd place was Natalie Morris and Anesu Shamu, and the fighting spirit award went to Caitlynne Collender.

GRADINGS

The SAKF hosted several Kyu grade examinations this year as well as a dan grading. Most candidates were successful in their challenge, while others were given the opportunity to try again another time.

A note-worthy mention was that Fernando Witbooi, former SAKF Vice-President and currently the sensei at Midrand Kendo Dojo, was successful in his 5th dan examination in Portugal at the end of the year.

Furthermore, it should also be noted that Buster Sefor sensei (7th dan, renshi), has successfully written and passed the AJKF Renshi shogo exam.

NEW DOJO’s

1 new dojo’s joined the SAKF this year, namely the Shihoko Kendo Dojo headed up by Wendy Vermeulen in Olivedale, Johannesburg.


MASA

We continue our membership of MASA, the Martial Arts Association of South Africa, who in turn belong to SASCOC, the governing sports body in South Africa. It should be noted that our affiliation to MASA allows for the SAKF to apply for Full National Sporting colours for all the athletes who take part in the World and European Kendo Championships.

The SAKF also embarked on the MASA Coaching Qualification (NQF3) and had several representatives from the various dojo’s attending the weekend seminar. This is vitally important as SASCOC and the sporting community move forward in regulating how sport, including martial arts, is taught in the country.


FINAL THOUGHTS & BEYOND

2017 was a busy and tough year for many. As of writing, the number of registered members was under 100, the lowest it’s been for a long time.


For the 2 years prior, the SAKF had spurred in many new initiatives to expose the member to the many facids that Kendo has to offer. However, in hindsight, perhaps our over-zealous attitude has left a few members burnt-out, injured or retired.


Perhaps a new approach of how we manage the SAKF is needed – comparable to how we need to blend both the energetic Kendo such as shiai, with a more traditional kendo approach such as kata.


As such, the 2018 AGM will be followed by a brainstorming session by the SAKF and the Dojo Leaders. I do implore all dojo leaders to take part and have their say in what they think the future of SA Kendo can be, and more importantly, what they will commit to in their role, in ensuring that future.


Yours sincerely

Warren Ho

President: South African Kendo Federation (SAKF)

Written on 7 February 208


2018 SAKF AGM – PRESIDENT’S REPORT (By Warren HO)

“There is much to be done in the SAKF for the benefit of the SA Kendo community.”


The statement above had been my guiding motto since joining the SAKF and has been instrumental in keeping my judgement and decisioning as objective as possible at all times.


Being part of the SAKF Leadership is first and foremost about unconditional service and it saddens me to see that at this forthcoming SAKF AGM, how FEW members have put their names down as candidates for the various roles within the SAKF. The sad reality is that without this unconditional service, the SA Kendo community is bound for failure at worse, or mediocre at best.


From the reports of the other SAKF EXCO members, you can see that 2018 had been another busy kendo year. Some of the more prominent events were the International Seminar with our European Sensei’s, the 2nd Sefor Cup Championships, the World Kendo Championship in Korea, and the 1-month hosting of Ishimaru sensei. Other events also included more seminars of greater variety; competitions in various formats; and a number of Kendo demonstrations aimed at creating greater awareness of Kendo and fostering greater relations for our kendo community.


The behind-the-scenes and inner workings essential to making these events possible, as well as the other administrative tasks to keep the SA Kendo community going, is an enormous undertaking by the SAKF leadership team, the dojo’s and its members. It is a shared responsibility by all who subscribe to this community.


I have served as SAKF President for the past 4 years, and prior to that, a number of years as Vice President and Development Officer. For the last 4 years, the EXCO and I have begun to bring about various initiatives and changes within the SAKF that we believe would benefit the community. Some of the notable initiatives we brought about were things such as using modern technologies to handle the mundane administrative tasks such as membership management and invoicing (by using Dojo Expert and Zoho Invoicing). Furthermore, we expanded the secretarial roles to include several deputies to assist in vital functions such as communications, social media and website management. The result is that we now have regular newsletters, a sizable social media presence and a functional website. We had also decided to focus our training on more contemporary European-styled kendo that allowed us to perform better at international competitions, whilst still maintaining and perfecting good, “traditional” kendo. For this we brought in several high-level European senseis such as Kumpf, Frey and De Bonneville sensei. We also reached out to our African neighbours, Mozambique, Malawi, Namibia and Mauritius, and offered a kendo hand (i.e. kote) where we could to help them grow their organizations, which would in the long run would benefit our own community. There were also some other initiatives such as the personal accident insurance for each member, which thankfully has only been used once since its inception. We also initiated formal coaching certification for some dojo leaders to ensure they comply with some imminent government legislature. There have been numerous other initiatives that were put in motion and still many more that are in the planning phase.


I reiterate again, “there is much to be done in the SAKF for the benefit of the SA Kendo community.”

During my time on the SAKF EXCO, I have set myself three foundational principles on how I would want to lead the SAKF: 1) Respect for the PAST; 2) Relevance for the CURRENT; and 3) Strategic intent for the FUTURE.


“Respect for the PAST” is to ensure that the past 30 years of the SAKF and the key players in Kendo in South Africa and abroad are not forgotten or disrespected. We have a long history of Kendo in South Africa, and to neglect what we have accomplished over that time would be negligent and ignorant of us. The SEFOR CUP, our annual Open South African Championships, was named as such in honour of sensei Buster SEFOR, former, longstanding president of the SAKF and South Africa’s first, 7th dan, Renshi. Furthermore, the formation of the “Kendo Council”, an advisory arm to the SAKF and its members, was formed so that the knowledge and experience of our most senior senseis could be accessible at any time by anyone within the SAKF. Those senior senseis are Buster SEFOR, Tony HUGHES and Ray FLEMING sensei. In addition, our honorary President, Teruaki ISHIMARU sensei, based In Japan, had given his time, money and effort to SA Kendo on numerous occasions in the past and continues to keep an eye on us from the Far East (most notably through his favourite means of communication, Facebook). It is without doubt, we would not be where we are now without the unconditional services and support of those senseis over the past 30 years.

The principle of “Relevence for the CURRENT” helped me navigate the complexities of the current kendo environment both here and abroad. The additional element of “tradition” also had to be delicately managed so as not to overstep the previous principle of “respect for the past”. We started to adopt a faster, more dynamic shiai-focused approach to our kendo that lead to more appropriate seminars both for hopeful fighters and prospective judges (shimpan). This on its own presented a new set of problems – how do we meet the needs of other SA kendo members who were NOT interested in competition or judging. This would lead to the final principle, namely:


“Strategic intent for the future”. Constitutionally, the SAKF is tasked primarily with the growth and development of Kendo in South Africa. With this in mind, we experimented with various other aspects of Kendo such as shiai, shimpan, kata, and coaching so as to address the needs of all our members within the community. It is work in progress and as stated previously, we have yet to kick off some of the initiatives that would address this.


To conclude, these principles continue to be work in progress. However, for the last decade or so, they have kept me focused and allowed me to serve the SAKF and the community, unconditionally. I will continue to apply these principles in the best possible manner in whatever role that I may serve.


2019 will require a new SAKF EXCO to be voted in at the AGM. However, regardless of what title or role that may become available, I urge every member to find some way that they too can serve the SAKF and our community. I believe 2019 will once again be a challenging Kendo year and I wish the SAKF leadership all the very best in meeting those challenges so that they may serve our community unconditionally.

GAMBATE!


Warren HO

SAKF President

7 Feb 2019


1985 - 2010

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