I am a matric student at Future Nation Schools, Class of 24'. I love South African, Italian and Asian food. I love playing video games, motorsports, working on cars, and designing cars. My hobbies include cooking, binge watching Netflix and YouTube content creation (@visiongt1 on yt)!
Words to live by: If you are not scared, you are not going fast enough. Ken Block
1. How did you become interested in practicing martial arts in a dojo?
I started with karate back in 2019 where I saw a sign for martial arts and began researching the one of them. The one that came up was kendo at the time, but I did not pay attention to it until I got the game, Overwatch, later that year. I played it for a few years though covid and all, and one day my main genji got a skin called "kendoka", and a story that showed he practice kendo. From then, I began trying to convince my mother to let me try it, since I had the time (as I had left karate years ago). So, in January of 2023 I began looking for a Kendo dojo, and RKC Rivonia came up.
2. Which specific martial art(s) do you practice, and what attracted you to that style?
I was more attracted to kenjutsu and ninjutsi Initially as I wanted to be a ninja (based on a game, Ninja go. Kai and Cole were my favourite chracers). However, kendo seemed like the safest option due to the amour they used. Also, for about 2 year, I had a wooden stick that I would use to replicate some of Genji, kai's blades moves, or what ever sword moves I saw on TV or YouTube. It is my happy place being an imaginary samurai.
3. How long have you been training in the dojo, and what progress have you noticed in yourself since starting?
I have been traning in the dojo for about 10 months now. I missed my 1st grading due to an illness but I am now 4th kyu.
I have managed to stay disciplined, more alert, more active and responsive.
I saw a lot of improvement when it came to my school work, weigh loss journey, and an improvement in my social life. I made new friends and found my family in the dojo who have not only helped me, but have guided me in various aspects of my life.
4. What aspects of training in a dojo do you find most challenging or rewarding?
The aspect of training kendo I find most challenging is probably 1000 suburi (practise swings with the shinai). My shoulders and feet hurt but I know I must keep my feet at the right position at all times., as well do the correct cutting movements.
5. Can you describe the typical structure of a training session at your dojo?
We start with around 30-40 min of kata. Then we stretch and do 100 cuts. After that we can either do footwork training, or sword-work training depending on the sensei . The remaining time is keiko and sparring with each other. I still don't understand keiko fully, but what I do understand is to hit the person in front of me, and "not give them a concussion"! Also, to "hit them first and do ONLY what sensei has taught me 😅"! At the end, we all do some final group exercises that exhaust me completely. Then I go sleep (very well) at home!
6. How important is the sensei (instructor) in your martial arts journey, and what qualities do you admire in your sensei?
The sensei and sempai have all learned form different people and developed their kendo. Learning from a different instructor gives me ways to improve. Without them it would just be a dojo where we hit one another with sticks. They keep order and control, and show us the right way to do kendo. Without them I would still be traying to imitate Genji and Hanzi hasashi in my parent's back yard.
7. Have you encountered any obstacles or difficulties in your training, and how have you overcome them?
There are days that my mind is not on kendo, which is rare because it starting to be come programmed into my mind. On those days I find it hard to follow instructions and stay focused on what the sensei is saying and I end up disappointed in myself and I just want to get home and sleep.
8. What principles or philosophies from your martial arts training do you apply to your daily life?
Discipline. In all that I do, I try and do it in one go. If i cannot, I always try and finish it in one day. This, I have learned from kendo. This allows me to stay alert, whether I am active or inactive. I have applied this in my life.
Endurance. I have used kendo to learn how to endure things like long bus or car rides. There have been times where I had to stand for long periods of time with on a bus ride. My back would hurt. But now, Ivan manage it because in kendo sessions, we don't get to sit for about an hour! This training has helped my endurance.
9. In what ways has practicing martial arts in a dojo impacted your physical and mental well-being?
Ever since I started kendo I fell a lot more happier and excited about life in general. I have improved my social life, and have moved away from being on my phone and tablet all the time. I am more confident and able to take a chance and talk to more people.
I have also managed to lose around 20kg . When I started kendo I was 92.8 Kg now I am 75 Kg! I am not saying you will lose weight instantly, but with time, you will see results and you might gain muscle you did not know you had!
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 have competed in 2 competition and won 2 medals! I have learned that the fast ones will get you with speed, the strong ones will push hard, and the experienced ones will use everything else! This lead me to be more alert so as to try and find their weakness so that I can have a chance to possibly beat them.
Pontsho won one of our annual RKC Awards. This was the motivation for his nomination from his mother:
"I call kendo the magical spice that has been included in Pontsho’s life. Before he started Kendo, he was always angry, and we didn’t know where this anger came from. I am his mother, and probably I am not allowed to do a nomination because I am biased. However, I am writing this motivation to show how much impact Kendo has made to his life, our home, and his school work. He is more disciplined and has been dedicated to the sport. He makes an effort and even arranges his own transport, which I find is actually helping him with planning and growth.
Seeing him at the session a few weeks ago, I couldn’t believe that it was the same person who started doing kendo earlier year. He has shown growth in this sport and the growth in other aspects of his life.
I have never been grateful for any sport, but this one has been truly the spice that has been added to elevate his life.
Thank you from a biased proud Mom."
All award winners are listed on our website:
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.
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