Updated: May 16
On the 14 May 2022, the RKC Dojo held their Autumn Championship at the Rivonia Sports & Recreation Club. Due to various reasons, it was decided that this Championships would be for RKC Dojo members only. With 4 categories of competition, the event was extremely well-attended by the members and their family and friends alike!
The 4 categories of competition were: 1) The Iaido Competition; 2) Kendo Kids Competition; 3) Kata Team Competition; and the 4) Kendo Team Competition.
Buster SEFOR sensei (Renshi 7th dan Kendo; Iaido 4th dan; Jodo 1st dan) was invited as the guest of honor to oversee the competitions and provide some training tips and guidance where possible.
The Iaido competition was the 1st of its kind in South Africa where 2 iaidoka would "battle it out" in the competition area in front of a panel of 3 judges! Since steel swords are used (although blunted, they can still stab) in iaido, the "battling out" would NOT be a fight to the death, but rather that each competitor would perform a number of set iaido kata's within a certain time period. At this competition, they were to perform a set of 5 kata's within 6 mins. Being the first competition of the day, the iaidoka were nervous with excitement! Ultimately, the final match boiled down to recently-graded shodan members, Jayson ROTHMAN and Warren HO, to face each other where they ended up with 1st and 2nd place respectively. Carina ROTHMAN took 3rd place after defeating James MILLER in the 3rd-place playoff!
After the Iaido Competition, there was a short JODO demonstration by Heinz WEILERT and Quentin BARKENHUIZEN, both who are current JODO ikkyu's (1st Kyu) . Besides treating the audience to a demonstration of this fascinating martial art (which uses a short staff to counter the deadly Japanese sword), it was a great opportunity for WEILERT to test his ability of perform under pressure. WEILERT will soon leave for the UK to attend a JODO seminar and grading. He will attempt his Jodo 1st dan grade examination whilst there.
KENDO KIDS COMPETITION
The Kendo Kids competition was another 1st of its kind! For the Kendo Kids, they were split into two pools and would do a round robin competition against each other within each pool. Ultimately, only the top 2 Kendo Kids from each pool would proceed to the semi-finals rounds! Caden HOWELL (age 10) defeated Nathan HO ( age 7) in the 1st semi-final, while Jaime LEWIS (age 10) defeated Sebastian WENG (age 7) in the 2nd semi-final. Jamie eventually took 1st place and Caden took 2nd place. Both Nathan and Sebastian earned their 3rd place, but Sebastian was also awarded the FIGHTING SPIIRIT award (an award that is given to those competitors who show exceptional fighting spirit)!
KATA TEAM COMPETITION
The Kata team competition was up next. This was a 2-person team event which enquired the pair to perform a series of kendo kata against another 2-person team. 12 competitors resulting in 6 teams where split into 2 pools, where they had to do a round-robin competition with every other team in the pool. Only the top 2 teams of each pool would proceed to the semi-finals!, 3rd-pace playoff and finals! The results was as follows:
1st place = Decclan LAWRENCE & Matthew MICHEL;
2nd place = Lisa CHIVANGA & Khotso MASITHELA;
3rd place = Carina ROTHMAN & Jayson ROTHMAN.
Interestingly, Kendo Kata is the "common thread" amongst the three martial arts that the RKC Dojo offers, namely that of Kendo, Iaido and Jodo. Practitioners of each of these arts are encourage to learn the 2 sets of Kendo katas for a greater understanding of how the swords was used in real combat.
KENDO TEAM COMPETITION
The 4th and final competition of the day, was much anticipated Kendo Team Competition. For this 3-person team competition, the only requirement was that the maximum sum of dan grades in that team, is limited to 5 dan in total! For example, in the father-daughter team of Logan and Aura NAIDOO, since Logan was a 3rd Dan, and Aura was a 2nd dan already, they could only take on an additional team member who was not a dan-grade yet! This was to help even out the skill levels of the team and provide some ability to be able to play the team matches strategically! Again, with 6 teams, they were split into 2 pools of 3 each, where each team within each pool played against each other, resulting only in the top 2 to proceed to the semi-finals, 3rd place playoff and finals! The results were:
1st place = TEAM OBS consisting of team members: Thio NAIDOO (2nd Dan) ; Decclan LAWRENCE; Matthew MICHEL.
2nd place = BLUE EXORCIST (a.k.a. QUESTION MARK) consisting of team members: Logan NAIDOO (3rd dan); Aura NAIDOO (2nd dan); Tyler NITZEN.
3rd place = GHOST DIVISION consisting of team members: Quentin BARKENHUIZEN (1st dan); Kian VAN DER WALT; and Ashton ATKINSON.
The fighting spirit award was awarded to Lisa CHIVANGA of TEAM BANKAI! for her exceptional performance!
All in all, the RKC 2022 Autumn Championships was a huge success with all competitors and spectators having a wonderful time! Until the next tournament, please stay safe, stay healthy and keep training!
The Ryū Ken Chi (RKC) Dojo train the traditional Japanese martial arts of Kendo and Iaido (sword-based martial arts), as well as Jodo (the art of the short staff), that encourages the cultivation of the human character.
Kendo Kid is also available for children aged 6-11 years old.
RKC DOJO has 2 training venues within Johannesburg - RIVONIA and OBSERVATORY. Online training is also available.
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