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Meet RKC Dojo Member, Deminique

Demz does iaido at the RKC Dojo
Deminique Viljeon-Doyle is an RKC Dojo Iaido member and assistant instructor. She is also a yoga instructor, nature conservationist and recent mommy! Read more about her Budo journey!

1. How did you become interested in practicing martial arts in a dojo?

I've always loved martial arts since i was a kid and have always had great admiration for Budo and how it guides you to live your life.

2. Which specific martial art(s) do you practice, and what attracted you to that style?

I started with Kendo at the RKC Dojo, and from the first class, I was hooked. However, due to some health reasons, I couldn't continue kendo and when iaido was brought into the dojo, it felt like I found the martial art I was born for. I love the idea of never ending learning, there is no end game to it. I love each strand of symbolism in the art and how it challenges me on more than a physical level, arguably even more mentally than any other. I also have very dear friends in the dojo and having been able to grow together is one of the most motivational reasons to keep going.

3. How long have you been training in the dojo, and what progress have you noticed in yourself since starting?

At least since 2018, but I might be under correction for a extra year. I know I got my uniform and first weapon then.

The woman i was when I started verses the woman I am now, could not be more different. Since starting my martial arts journey, I have started to catch when my inner critic is getting the best of me, like when I'm to harsh on myself and allowing myself mistakes as part of learning. I found a new sense of trust in my body and voice that other practices I do don't match. My health in general has increased, and my outlook on goals, discipline and learning are always growing.

4. What aspects of training in a dojo do you find most challenging or rewarding?

The most rewarding is a extremely long list I can make, however I'll keep it to 3 .

1. I've made some of the most treasured friends, people who are from so many walks of life that I may not have had the privilege of meeting them outside the dojo.

2.After hours , months and years of training, and seeing improvement in myself physical, mental, emotional and spiritual has been such a drive. There is little to no instant validation which makes it all the greater for me when I see changes no matter how small.

3. I have also now had the privilege of becoming an assistant instructor at the RKC Dojo, and with that, it not only gave me a new sense of love for the art as I share it with students, but also in seeing fellow students achieve their goals and get better. The support in the dojo is incredible and when someone achieves it is celebrated together. When you witness someone's journey like that it also changes your practice and makes hard days worth it. There are few things as rewarding as seeing a student realize their capabilities are far beyond their beliefs.

5. Can you describe the typical structure of a training session at your dojo?

Our Iaido sessions are quite structured. We usually have a unspoken rule of some self practice prior to class. When class starts, we start with etiquette (reiho) , do warm ups which consists of warming up the body and doing cutting and footwork drills. After which we start kata practice. This is usually the main part of our time with some time after allocated to potential up coming grading , demos or assisting with and we end with etiquette.

6. How important is the sensei (instructor) in your martial arts journey, and what qualities do you admire in your sensei?

My sensei has been vital on my journey, he has been one of the few people outside my family and husband who believed in me when I didn't believe in myself much. Over time I realized this and how just having someone believe me made me less critical of myself, as he saw potential I was blind to and honestly sometimes still am. He calls me out when my inner critic is getting to me while pushing me into growing. I have many things I admire about my sensei , but to me its probably the biggest one that he is able to balance pushing a student and rail them back in so they have balance in their journey. I admire that he not only walks the walk but talks it too. He is constantly learning, constantly bettering not just us as students but himself too. His dedication and discipline is something that is unfathomable.

I can also say without him my martial arts journey may have ended- my sensei introduced Iaido to the RKC Dojo so I could continue my martial arts journey.

7. Have you encountered any obstacles or difficulties in your training, and how have you overcome them?

When I started kendo I didn't expect it to become a corner stone in my life. As i continued, I knew a time would come where a certain grade would require armour and being hit on the head. At that point my epilepsy and various other conditions were not stable enough but continuing martial arts through the guidance of Ho sensei to iaido not only did my health improve in general, but I believe it is part of the reason epilepsy is now considered controlled. I became way more in touch with my body over these few years, my epilepsy improved from multiple a day to celebrating 3 years seizure free. I even continued training throughout my pregnancy and it help keep me sane and strong.

8. What principles or philosophies from your martial arts training do you apply to your daily life?

One of my jobs is a yoga teacher the other is in wildlife conservation. In yoga its common to hear the biggest parts of your practice happen off the mat , in conservation I often hear your biggest impact is not made in the feild but 24/7. The same can be said for the martial arts. Our dojo philosophy is family focus fun, I used be very un balanced in those 3 rarely allowing myself fun because I worried it lead my personality to laziness. Those three corner stones in our dojo started to allow me to make time and space for each without guilt. As for martial philosophy (budo) I think of it now as something that keeps my life balanced, Happy and dedicated to personal growth. So its with me all the time guiding me to a better version of myself.

9. In what ways has practicing martial arts in a dojo impacted your physical and mental well-being?

The training in the dojo has endless benefits for me , my confidence has grown, as i mentioned prior multiple health conditions of mine began to stablize not just the physical but mentally too . Brought back trust in myself, after everything that was 2020 which held every challenge in the book , it gave me a safe place and a place of belong. I also remember clearly just having a moment where i felt truly proud of myself for the first time and could take that in which at the age of 30 felt slightly foreign for some reason but being able to celebrate it was pivotal for me. I rarely acknowledge my own success allowing that in such a supportive environment along with fellow students and my sensei was incredible and changed my mental outlook alot.

10. Do you participate in any competitions or demonstrations as part of your martial arts training? If so, how do these experiences contribute to your overall growth?

I'm one of the students that will take part in anything I can , to challenge myself and grow. I nickname it pressure training, it has taught me how to handle pressure to my advantage not only for the benefit of my martial arts but daily life.

It is a goal of mine to compete overseas and represent South Africa in Iaido. I see each of those experiences as something that helps me prepare, an experience that i can learn something out of and it pushes me out my comfort zone which I always need. Since iaido is still small in Africa I take every opportunity to add something to my training for when I go overseas.

And honestly I love sharing my love for martial arts with people, answering questions and sharing the impact it has and continues to make in my life. I don't like throwing the word passion around too much and often only said working with animals and yoga are my only passions but iaido is definitely a passion too.


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 6-12 years old.

RKC DOJO has 2 training venues within Johannesburg - RIVONIA and OBSERVATORY.

Please follow us on our various social media platforms:


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