December 2008 Newsletter

From Honbu Dojo

Our 45th anniversary year proved to be extremely eventful… some things you plan and other things just happen when you are least prepared.

ImageThe highlight of the year was of course our wonderful 45th anniversary Gashuku, attended by instructors and students from all over South Africa and abroad. The lowlight of the year was the collapse of the ceiling at Honbu dojo. We are grateful for two things however…it did not happen during the Gashuku and it did not happen when anyone was here or it could have caused damage to people as well as property.

At the beginning of the year (1st and 2nd March), we were privileged to host Sensei Bob Davies and his partner Shaz from TENSHIN SHINTO KATORI SHINTO RYU who presented an extremely interesting course on the Samurai sword and exposed the students to the ancient Japanese traditions and way of life. Sensei Bob also gave an illustrated lecture on his incredible pilgrimage from Mount Koya on Japan's main Honshu Island down to Shikoku Island to follow the classic 1,647 kilometre Japanese Buddhist 88 Temple trail around the island and then back to Mount Koya.

On the 28th, 29th 30th March Hanshi ran an instructors seminar at Honbu dojo and as well as all the local instructors, Shihan Allan Thomson from Riverside dojo in Johannesburg and Sensei Mauro Pereira from Morningside dojo in Durban, flew down to participate.

10th May we had our normal White belt Day and on 19th July the Green and Brown Belt Kata and Randori day. Thank you to Renshi Nico and dojo heads Shihan Lawrence Milward Bridges (head of Plumstead Dojo) Sensei Brian Woodland (head of Tygerberg dojo, Sensei Rijk de Jamaer (head of Hout Bay dojo) Sensei Kurt Wucherpfennig (head of Kalk Bay dojo) and Senseis Miles Pattrick and Shaun Beckley of Plumstead dojo and Sensei Cathy McCracken of Honbu dojo. The students are privileged to have access to such a wealth and diversity of knowledge provided by these dedicated instructors.

One of the most popular courses of the year was the CQP (close quarter protection) course held on the 5th July, given by Hanshi at Honbu dojo. Sensei Cathy Mc Cracken ran two successful women's training courses on 15th March and 17th May (see the article from Sensei Cathy).

Instead of the 100 rounds of Randori this year Hanshi decided to have a Marathon Kata training on the 8th November. This proved to be extremely popular and almost a relief after the annual Randori marathons. The participants on the Marathon Kata survived the ordeal, but complained about the blisters on the feet of course…. but they have a year to recover…. well done to those of you who participated, (including the white belts who would have been precluded from participating in the Randori of course).

The International Gashuku was held from 28th September to 3rd October at the Jan van Riebeeck High school. 60 participants from the Western Province, Boland. Joburg and Durban as well as from Britain, Namibia and Switzerland arrived in beautiful Cape Town to participate in the Gashuku. September in Cape Town had been very cold and rainy and we hoped that the weather would improve for this our 45th anniversary Gashuku. Well, fortunately the weather did improve and it only rained one day on the Gashuku, much to our (and especially the Swiss) relief.

The Gashuku started off in a traditional way with Shihan Henk Blankenberg leading a hike up Table Mountain on the Sunday morning before the start of the Gashuku.

All the participants clocked in at the school on Sunday afternoon and the training started in earnest on Monday morning. Hanshi worked out a very inclusive program, in which all the Shihan and dojo heads and senior instructors had to play a part. The school has a big hall next to the swimming pool and some of the training was done out of doors and the Black belts were also able to use Honbu dojo as it is so close to the school.

Hanshi and Renshi Nico handled some of the training with Renshi Paul and Shihan Juanita Baumann from Switzerland. Shihan Henk Blankenberg from the Boland, Shihan Lawrence Milward Bridges from Western Province, and Shihan Alan Thomson from Gauteng were responsible for much of the teaching, as were Sensei Brian Woodland form Tygerberg dojo, Sensei Kurt Wucherpfennig from Kalk Bay dojo, Sensei Cathy Mc Cracken and Sensei Markus Bauriedl from Honbu dojo and Sensei Mauro Pereira from Durban dojo.

All aspects of Kushido were covered and the students had a variety of excellent teachers, which made this a very special, and successful Gashuku and a fitting celebration of the 45 years we have been in existence.

We always try to do 'something different' during the Gashuku and this year we invited the capoeira instructor (who also gives classes at Honbu now) to give a class at the Gashuku. This proved quite difficult and caused much laughter but was enjoyed by all. Thank you Renaud!

At the end of the Gashuku some of the instructors and students went 'river rafting' on the Orange river led by David Kriel who is an experienced tour guide. He is a brown Belt from Honbu dojo and is otherwise known as 'Big Chief Running Water'.

On the 25th October we had a terrible shock when we arrived at the dojo for the normal Saturday morning training only to find that the ceiling had collapsed and it really looked like a tornado had hit. (The ceiling had not been in a good state of repair but this was totally unexpected) It took a few weeks to clean up the mess and we had to cancel some of the classes and then we lived on a 'building site' while the rest of the ceiling was removed and the new ceiling and lights were installed.

All the posters and the wall hangings had to be removed and there was a lot of damage. Once the ceiling and lights were up again students and instructors from Honbu and all the other Western Province dojos came to help to put up the posters and all the other wall hangings and to paint the walls and even sand and seal our huge wooden badge. Thank you so very much…I will not mention your names because there were so many of you who came to help and we really appreciate it. This showed the true spirit of Budo. The dojo now looks very good and in the end it was all worth it. (We are relieved that this did not occur during the Gashuku).

This year we celebrated the marriage of Sensei Mauro Pereira to his beautiful bride Annie (who also happens to be one of his students) and of course for the honeymoon he brought her on the Gashuku. We applaud that Sensei and hope that the unmarried Senseis will take a leaf out of your book!

This year the following achieved higher grades:

Amanda Adams (Shodan, Kalk Bay dojo)
Sakkie Jooste (Nidan Oranjemund dojo)
Sandy Standish (Sandan Plumstead Dojo)
Shaun Beckley (Sandan Plumstead Dojo)

On the 6th December we invited all the 'old' and 'new' Black Belts to join us at Honbu for a 'get together' in celebration of our 45th anniversary year. Unfortunately we could not trace some of the 'oldies' but hoped that they would see our anniversary page in the Cape Times. A special thanks to Sensei Cathy for helping with the catering and to Liz for her excellent work in producing the newsletter every year.

Take care and be aware.

From Hanshi and Merelle


Image2008 brought with it Kushido's 45th Anniversary. To celebrate we held an International Gashuku in Cape Town. All those that attended commented on how they enjoyed the time together, and all the seniors brought their own experiences and specialities to ensure that the Gashuku was varied, but came together in a united whole. It was good to teach the diversity of student and learn just as much from them. It gave time for all of us to cohese more as a system. There was also a get together of ex-black belts towards the end of the year; it was great to see all the old faces again.

I have had to spend a fair amount of time travelling this year, which has put extra load on the Plumstead instructors.

They all met the challenge head on and have ensured that the standard in the Dojo has remained high. Hopefully I will be able to spend more time in the country in 2009.

On a broader note, I feel that the 3rd Dans have started to come into their own in 2008 and are starting to assist to improve the operation of the system. I see some great martial artists emerging from the system in years to come. I am looking forward to seeing a stronger system during 2009.

Riverside Dojo, Johannesburg

ImageThe Riverside dojo during 2008 continued to be a close-knit clan. But we have been fortunate to welcome some new members from the Cape, and reluctantly have wished several well on their new journeys to various parts of the world.

In recognition of his hard work and dedication to the Kushido system and his dojo, Sensei Allan Thomson was awarded the rank of Shihan. Amelia de Klerk and Adrian Rupp were awarded their shodans, several juniors obtained their blue belts, and Sempai Michelle Knights, as part of the Rhodes University community outreach programme, trains a growing group of under privileged children.

Sensei Hannes Loubser has more than ably assisted Shihan Allan by taking many classes, keeping the energy and spirit high and generally driving us nuts.

The Riverside dojo wishes all other students and their families a wonderful festive season and a new year filled with joy.

We would like to end with an extract written by Sempai Cathy which was read at the opening of our Sensei Mike shinzen.

ImageI was asked to think of my favourite memory of Mike, I could not pick one, so instead I will give you a montage of how I remember him:
- Our second lesson, punching like our arm was being sucked into a tube
- Weight-lifting Annie-Rose and Nicky-Tom
- Making me get out of his giant bear hug
- Laughing and stating he was 'special' when I hugged him without prompting
- Sitting down at the 'non' black belts table at gashuku like it was a normal thing
- Trying to work out the chords for 'Smoke on the water' on Hannes' guitar
- Tirelessly tumbling on the floor as Allan demonstrated the Naifunchin application
- Grinning like an imp and pressing on the pressure point on the forearm
- Breaking the window of the dojo and scaring the whitebelts
- Looking 'glamorous' in his corset

Mike taught me how to hug again. He reminded me that hugging was not a sign of weakness. That it was a way to give strength to another. Secretly I used look forward to his warm hugs, but, being stoic me, I never told him this... it would have given him another reason to laugh at me (it was bad enough with my pink gi). His strong arms could hold any weight and his spirit always big enough to lend to my own smaller one.

He reminded me that it was ok to love with the heart - that no pain in this world could ever shatter the spirit completely. His philosophy seemed to laugh louder, give more and live more. He taught me that to live, you needed to experience life - you needed to laugh when it was funny, grin when it was happy, scowl when it was bad and cry when it hurt.

Like the lion he was, he put his family first, defending them with his every action. Like a lion, he could bellow a loud roar and protect those he loved. Like a lion, he carried his 'mane' for all to see - displaying his pride and courage without fear.

His booming voice will echo forever in the walls of the dojo. His footprints are ingrained in the wooden floors. And his spirit lives on in all of us.

Denise Knights.


ImageThis year was a challenging one for our dojo, and it was one where students progressed steadily.

We spent a fair part of the year incorporating new knowledge into the way we decipher and understand kata, by applying a set of rules to test our performance of each kata. This knowledge was continually tested and refined and the results started to show in practical applications and ippon-kumite practice.

Our students continued to do their dojo and themselves proud, with a number of students standing out for special personal achievements. Tanya Brink was graded to Brown Belt 8th level and Eduan Naude Brown Belt 10th level.

Our Junior class kept up their training well for the whole year, and Storme-Lee Oliver once again showed everyone else up by putting in the most classes for the year. (It was very close.) Darren Booth was voted by the kids (in his absence), as being the junior who trains the hardest, while Jaimie & Kayleigh Pratt were the most improved students. Greg Hierse & Carley Jordaan were promoted from 'pre-Kushido' ranks to the 'Junior' ranks, a big step for little legs. Kyle Jordaan is probably the heaviest hitter in the Junior class, and we must consider moving him & Darren to the Senior class soon.

One of the things that keep the dojo strong, is the number of students who have other family members involved with the dojo as students or ex students. In the Junior class, 100% of the class either have a sibling in the class, or as an ex-student. In the Senior class, 75% of our students fit this category. (A family that plays together, stays together?)

Well, 2009 is already upon us, with fresh challenges and resolutions. It's time to re-ignite the passion to train and to self motivate.

We wish all of our students and their families a safe and prosperous 2009, and thank them for their ongoing, unwavering support. We also extend these wishes to all of our training friends that we have made in other dojos through gashuku, courses and other Kushido related activities. These friendships transcend the 'ranks' that govern our behaviour on the training floor, and we see each other as martial artists, each finding their own path through the training.

In conclusion, let's look forwards with open hearts and take on 2009 with vigour. Commit now to your training. Prepare for gashuku later on this year (also start putting away some cash for it).

ImageSomerset West

Somerset West dojo enjoyed a good solid 2008. The adult class is solidifying and we have had a number of new female students joining. It certainly helps with attaining balance in the classes.

A number of junior students are also starting to bridge the gap between the junior and adult classes.

2008 saw the 45th anniversary of Kushido. It was a momentous occasion in our history and we enjoyed the interaction with some of the international sections of the Kushido community.



Women in Kushido

ImageOnce again we focused on the Yin and Yang - with the women bringing in a different aspect to training, than the otherwise 'tough brutes' in the dojos.

Unfortunately we only had two women's trainings during the year, I was away in August, and the training scheduled for December, had to be cancelled, due to the collapse of the dojo ceiling

We spent time on more subtle techniques, body evasion and correct moving techniques, with one session being assisted by Sensei Rijk of Kalk Bay showing the ladies the effect of inner strength, and projection of energy, without major muscle power. The classes were well attended and I think all grades benefited.

Times are getting tougher, and crime is on the increase, whether we like it or not. I would like to see all the women being more prepared for all eventualities, and would like to focus more on self defence this coming year, incorporated into our normal karate training. i.e. getting the ladies used to being grabbed and grappled , something we all hate, but is oh so necessary.

Congratulathen we lived on a building sid colour belts during the year, we are all very proud of you and encourage you to keep up the training:

Orange Belts
Jessica Hichens - Kalk Bay dojo
Shannan Thomson - Riverside dojo

Green Belts
Sonja Woudberg - Somerset West dojo
Loren Barale - Somerset West dojo

Brown Belts
Jenna Hume - Plumstead dojo
Tania Brink - Kenridge dojo

Black Belts

Amanda Adams - Kalk Bay dojo
Amelia de Klerk - riverside dojo

3rd Dan

Sandy Standish - Plumstead dojo

It was great to see so many of you at the Gashuku, and at the endurance Kata training in December. You are all a vital part of every dojo, and even when times are tough and you don't feel up to it, remember, part of the training is to overcome oneself, and you feel so great when you do.

Lets make 2009 the best ever, and remember, YOU are the most important person in YOUR life - take care of YOURSELF, and only then, can you take care of others.

ImageHout Bay

Welcome to the New Year from Hout Bay Dojo!

Hout bay has been training this year from the 5th of January so that we can get a good head start on training. Kind of like taking the bull by the horns. Progress comes from working hard, working cleverly and getting on with it. This is the theme in Hout Bay Dojo for 2009.Â

May this be a year for stepping ahead for everyone.



Kalk Bay

Image2008 was an incredibly tough year for most of us, despite this Kalk Bay dojo managed to grow significantly in numbers and also produced our first black belt, which was a fantastic milestone. I would hope that we can achieve more of the same in this new year.

2009 is looming with a whole new set of challenges facing us. To achieve most of them in one year would be nearly impossible but I challenge everybody to step onto the floor this year with a renewed focus on improving yourselves in your training. In doing so we will all be able to learn so much more by training with each other.

It is so important to re-evaluate your outlook on how you train as often as possible and I challenge all students to find a way of contributing to your respective dojos in order to create the best possible training environment whether it is by helping someone junior to yourselves, or by introducing students to help your dojo grow, or simply offering of your time in the running of your dojo.

I look forward to seeing all of you on the floor in 2009.


How quickly 2008 went! Early in the year the kids gave a karate demonstration at the new Bosman's Crossing shopping and flat development in Stellenbosch to spark some interest from our local community, which was enjoyed by the kids themselves and the onlookers. The junior and pre kushido classes are showing good potential with some orange belts on the horizon. At our last class of the term the juniors enjoyed their end of the year party and each received a certificate showing their respective attendance throughout the year, with Thys Sutherland having a 93% attendance!

In the senior class, Deon Esau and Sonia Woudberg earned their well-deserved green belts. 2009 Promises to be a great year with the addition of a whole lot of new beginners to our classes. Keep on training!

Lyndoch Dojo

ImageIn July, Kushido began giving karate classes at the Sustainability Institute (S.I.) just outside of Stellenbosch to the children of Lyndoch Primary School. The S.I. is an organisation that supports opportunity projects for the local developing community of Lyndoch. Amelie Guyot from Kushido, who volunteers at the organisation as part of her masters degree organised karate classes as a way to encourage more discipline and learning capacity for the children.

There are about 40 students taking part in the classes and during the initial 6 months of training they have received their first stripe, and eagerly awaited gis. Although we have had some frustration during these first two terms, we finished the year off on a positive note and we look forward to a fantastic 2009.

Durban Dojo, KZN

KUSHIDO KZN started off 2008 in a very positive way. All students came back feeling ready to give of their best in their training. The Dojo was very fortunate, in that it had a big influx of people who were very interested in training. We started the year off with a get together at the Dojo for all students and their families. There was a great turn out and all seemed to have a lot of fun especially the Juniors and Pre-KUSHIDO who could not get enough of the jumping castle.

I was very impressed with our Pre-KUSHIDO class that was asked by a local school to put on a Martial Arts display for their fun day.

The Pre-KUSHIDO worked very hard and delivered a very professional and exciting demo. The demo incorporated some basic techniques, ippon kumite, kata, kata applications and a private defence sequence done to classical music. It was amazing to see such young KUSHIDO-ka performing these techniques and most of all performing them on a stage in front of an audience. Well done Pre-KUSHIDO team!

Later in the year KUSHIDO KZN was asked by our local zoo to perform a demonstration at a zoo fund raising event where the theme was 'the close human relation to animals'. Part of the demonstration was the performance of Seyiunchin kata (it is said that this kata has its origins in the Tiger Fist fighting arts of ancient China) and straight after the Kata a cheetah was brought into the same floor space. If there was any doubt of what the feeling should be when performing Seyiunchin or how one should focus the eyes and intent in the Kata, it was all made very clear by just a few seconds being in the presence and looking into the eyes of this wild cat.

The high light of the year however, has to have been the International 45th anniversary Gashuku in Cape Town. I would like to congratulate all the Durban students who made the effort to go to the Gashuku. Although quite a few of the Durban students were affected by the bug that was going around at Gashuku everyone had a very positive and exciting experience. A great big thank-you to Hanshi, Shihan Merelle and all the Shihan and teachers who made this such a great Gashuku.

Our end of year event was also a very good event. The turn out was not as big as what it could have been but every one is always over booked with events in the December month. Once again the big Jumping Castle was a great success and so was the Junior and Pre-KUSHIDO competitions.

Well done to all the students for their hard work and constant striving for perfection of the self and the art. KUSHIDO KZN wishes all of KUSHIDO all the best for 2009 and we wish you all the strength for your endless journey up the Martial Arts mountain.

We hope to see all of you soon on the Dojo floor.
Mauro Pereira Sensei

Congratulations to Sensei Mauro on his marriage to Annie.

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