Dear Member, Osu!
I trust that all of you are in the very best of health. Welcome back and a very warm welcome to you all: especially to all new students and parents. I hope you had a good festive season and are ready for Hard Work as the year begins. To both new and "old" members - we trust that your association with Ashihara Karate will be a long and happy one.
As you know, last year was another year in which our organisation advanced even further in our aims and objectives. Whilst there has been some negative effects these were overshadowed by all the good and this good was the yardstick by which we measured the year. We look back to all that happened in last year, and project what we expect and hope for in this year to come.
1996 was a steady year for Ashihara Karate. Our big event, the 7th Invitational Karate Championships, held in July, was a great success. Other activities also brought its fair share of rewards. I look to 1997 to be a year of growth and expansion, with many new projects and events in store for Ashihara Karate both here in South Africa as well as Overseas. I hope too that 1997 brings good health, much happiness and personal growth to every one of you.
1996 in Retrospect
In February, I attended a KASA Meeting in Jo'burg. As usual, I took the opportunity to visit with our branch chiefs there to discuss and plan activities for the year.
In March accompanied and assisted by Senpai Roger October, Kohai Aysha Harnekar, Xavier Inglis and Zubeida Carstens I taught and conducted gradings in QwaQwa, Sandton and Vosloorus. Senpai Donnie's 2nd 24 hour marathon had three times the amount of participants and many new innovations were experienced. During this time I also gave a class at Petrus Mahopo's dojo in Soweto. After that session we were joined by Senpai Siphiwe Shongwe, a Enshin Black Belt who runs a dojo in Pimville in Soweto. From there we went to Sun City for an exchange training with SaBom Nim Peet Potgieter (TaeKwonDo). Liking what he saw made Peet form an association between his group and Ashihara Karate. Welcome to both Peet and Siphiwe.
In April Honbu students performed in a mass demonstration as part of the Freedom Festival.
In May Parents meetings was held at all Cape dojo's. A grading at Megawatt Park dojo had more than 300 students testing for various levels.
In June I was a guest of Sensei Sonny Pillay's Shotokan Karate International Federation at their 18th Annual Tournament held at the University of Natal. The event had over 1200 competitors and as usual I "stole" some ideas. At their banquet held that same evening - I was presented with a plaque in recognition of our friendship - spanning some 14 years.
In July we hosted our 7th Invitational Championships which was our best ever. The tournament was screened on "The Cape at Six" as well as "File o' Facts". VIP Dignitaries that attended included SenseiJohan Roux (Karate Zen), Sensei Sonny & Anita Pillay (SKI Durban), Prof Tim Noakes, Lloyd Leach (UWC), CouncillorJacobs (Deputy Mayor Cape Town), Donnie Jurgens (NSC) and many others.
A professional video production of the championships was made and is available for R40.00.
In August Saaida Samuels (Honbu) and Sibusiso Maruping (Vosloorus) were promoted to Shodan-Ho. In Saaida's case her promotion started the year before and she was awarded Black Belt after a year of continuous testing.
At the Spring Camp held in September, Aysha Harnekar, Yazeed Abrahams, Toughedah Jacobs, Yaseen Samuels, Kashief Harkhu (All of Honbu) and Thuraya Hassiem (Strandfontein) successfully completed 35 person Kumite as part of the requirements to obtain their Shodan-Ho Black Belts. This was done in pouring rain. Part of the gasshuku saw most students transported to Wynberg to train with Goju Kai Masters Saiko Shihan Goshi Yamaguchi & Shihan Dai Masahiko Futawatari and Masatoshi Yamaguchi.
In September of last year, accompanied by several of Honbu's Yudansha, I visited Zimbabwe and Botswana. In Zimbabwe we trained at different style dojo and I also gave some training on Ashihara principles. We visited some of the people who over the years wrote for info on Ashihara Karate and we managed to acquire a Ashihara dojo run by Senpai Everisto Simayo who has decided to go with us. We bid a warm welcome to his dojo!
The team also got around to visiting the Victoria Falls where several pictures were taken. Fortunately no one was bitten by mosquito's. We also spent a couple of day's meeting with my mother's family in Bulawayo.
In October I visited the Seychelles to teach classes for Egbert Moustache who operates dojo's on Mahe and La Digue Islands. During my stay, I awarded the Minister of Youth and Sport with an Honorary Black Belt. I also met and had discussions with several Government and Sporting officials. On my last day I taught a seminar for all other styles which was attended by most of the Sensei, with the exception of one. This trip also served to develop a greater relationship with other Martial Artist.
Personally, this was a good trip as I received a lot of exposure. I featured in the newspapers daily, had a radio interview and the demonstration I did was shown on National TV. (See pages 5-6) The demo realised quite an amount of funding and due to its nature made me quite well-known and everywhere where I went thereafter, people came to say Hi!. It has also given me motivation to train harder.
From Seychelles I went to Sun City to attend the WKF World Championships held in November. At this event I was elected Assistant General Secretary of the African Zone 6 Karate Union and I was further honoured by being presented with a plaquein recognition for contribution towards Karate. I was also awarded national "Protea" colours for Administration. (See page 6)
With Sensei Sonny Pillay, I assisted in the formation of the International Karate Friendship Association - an organisation for instructors with origin in the Indian Sub-Continent. At the formation meeting attended by representatives from 10 countries I was elected the General Secretary.
Accompanying me on my return from Seychelles was Vincent Volcere, a black belter who will spend two years as a deshi at Honbu (if he lasts my idiosyncrasies). Whilst I was in Sun City, Vincent spent time at the dojo's of Senpai's Donnie Marx (Sandton), Siphiwe Shongwe (Soweto) and Joe Ngcobo (Vosloorus).
In that same month, I was re-elected as the General Secretary of the Karate Association of the Western Province. At a grading conducted by Senpai Michael Jibiliza in the Eastern Cape our brown belt ranks were further strengthened. Soon we should be producing Black Belts in that region.
Summer Camp was held at the beginning of December with 100 participants. A week later Byron Michaels (Rocklands) and Cashief Lee (Honbu) obtained Shodan-Ho after completing their Kumite. The Yudanshakai bids warm welcome to ALL of its newest Senpai, and I personally congratulate them on their promotion. Banzai!
A week after that, we hosted a small tournament (about 200 competitors). This event started at 2.30pm and were finished by 6.00pm. The tournament organising team is really becoming clued up and I must thank them for all their hard work.
During this time Honbu received a number of visitors from all over and one of them was Keng EE, of Malaysia and currently attached to the Seychelles Nation. EE is a fun person and he was the person that gave me all the news coverage.
The Presentations held at the Ottery Hypermarket proved once again to be a family affair. Congratulations to all who received grading and merit certificates and a BIG Thank You to everyone who brought goodies as well as to those who actually prepared the tables.
Plaques was also presented to those individuals who greatly assisted Ashihara Karate. Some of the recipients included Senpai's Donnie Marx, Keng EE & Sensei Joe van Rensburg (Karate Confederation).
1997 kicked off with a Black Belt Bos-Beraad in which most of the planning for the year was done. Soon after that I spent time in Mmabatho attending a meeting of African Karate Chiefs. At that meeting I received invitations to teach seminars in Swaziland and Zambia which hopefully I will be able to fit in. A week later saw me back in Johannesburg where I had a very successful meeting with Gauteng Branch Instructors. Those attending were Donnie Marx, Joe Ngcobo, Siphiwe Shongwe, Simon Matjiane and Tsepo Maaga and from Cape Town Xavier Inglis.
Ashihara Karate will be celebrating its 17th Anniversary in September of this year and with the many exciting happenings unfolding on the National and International scene, we will be arranging several activities, most which is included in the enclosed calender of events. Most of the activities is geared towards the Western Cape and Gauteng. To those others - Wake Up! Please inform me of what you have arranged in your Province or dojo or call me to arrange something, so that we can include it on the calender.
One of the most important activities for this year is the Black Belt Promotions Tests scheduled for 22 March at the Megawatt Park dojo. Those hardy individuals wanting to may attempt to do 100 person Kumite. As Senpai Donnie says this might be the only opportunity to try this feat - so start preparing! Several of our seniors will be testing for Nidan and Sandan so it could be worth your while to attend. Also on is a 24 hour marathon training camp to start immediately after the grading.
Gauteng Championships - a Regional championships is slated for 31 May in Vosloorus. All Gauteng & Free State branches are reminded to start preparing and to assist Senpai's Joe & Donnie with the arrangements.
Full Time Instructors - This year Senpai's Granwell Hayzer and Sattar Khan & Kohai's Xavier Inglis and Bronwyn Arends will be teaching Karate on a full time basis. This means more dojo's which means an increase in student numbers in the Western Cape. Therefore it could indicate a greater attendance at our events.
Welcome Back - Dr Sharifa Thebus will be returning from England on Feb 5 after a year's stay in England. During her time there she also trained with Hanshi Steve Arneil.
Kata Video Tape - Honbu will soon begin with the production of a Video tape series on Kata. The tapes will deal with the proper performance of techniques in order to standardise the level of all members. The tape will feature Kaicho and senior members of Honbu. The subject matter of the tapes will be taken mainly from the Kata guide.
About Aisatsu - Aisatsu is a Japanese word meaning compliments, greetings, salutation - to greet, to pass one's compliments, to give notice or to announce. It has been quite a while since Honbu has produced its last news magazine, and Aisatsu has been started to fill that void.
On the International front -
Israel - In June '96 Senpai Erik Petermann taught some seminars on Ju-Jutsu to the Hashita group in Israel led by an old friend, Sensei Eli Leffler. Due to his good promotion, the Hashita group numbering about 300 students have joined our Organisation.
I will probably visit Israel in October to conduct seminars and to finalise affiliation requirements.
Seychelles - On January 11, 1997, Sensei Egbert Moustache was elected as Chairperson of the Seychelles Karate Federation. Congratulations and may your period in office be of benefit to our Organisation. A return visit to Seychelles has been arranged for October/November of this year.
Swaziland - A group trip to Swaziland is in the making. It will co-incide with the March vacations. Costs to be around R300.00 per person inclusive of accommodation.
India/Pakistan/Sri Lanka - I am scheduled to visit India in April and if time permits I will be flying to Pakistan & Sri Lanka to offer seminars. During this visit I will be having discussions with the Branch Chiefs there about our Organisation.
Zimbabwe/Zambia - Senpai Everisto Simayo reports that a Sabaki Challenge Championships was held on December 28. The next issue of Aisatsu will have the details of the event.
A group trip to Zimbabwe & Zambia is scheduled for the June Vacations. Costs to be around R400 - R500.00 per person inclusive of accommodation
Germany - Senpai Bertha Constance writes that although the cold which sometimes goes below 10 degrees is killing, she is still surviving because she is warmed by the thoughts of returning soon. She states that she misses training as she feels she also needs to get training - more specific - senior training at Honbu. We look forward to her return and trust that her stay there has been of benefit to the German Branch.
Greece - Sensei Thomas Batsis sends New Year greetings to all members.
Japan - Senpai Sakamoto writes that he has met the new Kancho and that it was interesting to see what the NIKO Honbu is doing.
Other Countries - I have also received letters from Rumania, Sweden, Japan expressing interest in our Organisation - who knows we might gain members in a few more countries.
By looking at this programme it becomes obvious that you need to become more involved in the activities of the organisation and I thought it quaint to include the following words that could serve as an inspiration to all of us in 1997.
What I ought to do:
"I am only one, but I am one, I cannot do everything,
but I can do something, what I can do, I ought to do,
and what I ought to do, by the Grace of God, I will do."
In August we will be hosting our Eight Invitational Championships. With a large contingent coming from the Seychelles I've decided to extend an invitation to other overseas countries to also participate and therefore, I am requesting that all of you make a concerted effort to attend and be present so that we can make this event something to be remembered about. It is my intention to offer seminars on management, business, marketing and administration during this period. This I know is the only way that we can take our Organisation into the 2000's.
Honbu recently upgraded its computer system and we now have a modem installed amongst others. Soon we will be going onto the Internet whereafter we will have an E-Mail address as well as our own Web Page. This will be used for the further enhancement of the Organisation as we will be putting most of our material on the Net. This ways we could get further exposure.
Stop Press - on Saturday 1 February, some members of Vosloorus & Pimville dojo took part in an Enshin Tournament in Gauteng. Our members walked of with 8 trophies - the major share of the prizes on offer. - Congratulations to Senpai's Joe & Siphiwe for keeping up the Ashihara reputation.
Goods for Sale - Honbu presently has some T-shirts and Ties for sale. The T-shirts are small sizes and cost R20.00. Ties are going for R30.00 but they may not last long - so hurry up and get yours.
Black Belts - Birthdays
See Calender page
Calender of Events
See Calender page
Benefits of Organisational Membership
See "About Joining page"
We need to remember this for two important reasons. As we face each challenge in our lives, we must draw on all of the strength we have - spiritually, mentally, physically - to meet their demands; but we must also remember that there is guidance and support and encouragement to draw from those who are close to us. So, too, we must be ready to offer these things to those who are confronting challenge.
This cooperation and support do not diminish the effort of the person making it, rather it helps to make us all stronger both as individuals and together.
In closing, let us, together, strive to further develop Ashihara Karate to its fullest.