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My Kendo Adventure (By Buster SEFOR)

Buster sensei, Kendo kyoshi 7th dan


Buster SEFOR sensei (Kendo Kyoshi 7th dan, Iaido 4th dan), was recently asked to write a short article for the AJKF's official magazine, KENSO. The English version of the article is below, while the published Japanese version can be found as a downloadable PDF below too. Thank you to Buster sensei for allowing us to re-publish his article on the RKC Dojo's media platforms.






 

(English version)


My Kendo Adventure


I was born in 1941 near Johannesburg, South Africa. After passing the final school exams with distinction, I enrolled at the University of the Witwatersrand to study Electrical Engineering and graduated (cum laude) in 1963. I had at this time taken an interest in bodybuilding and weightlifting and became a member of the university weightlifting team. Also, I started playing squash and continued for many years until stopped by injuries.

 

Martial arts played no part in my life until the age of 46. During this year I saw a shinai for sale in a shop window and liked the look of it. I purchased it and hung it on my bedroom wall as an ornament. Then later that year I went to see a James Bond movie (I think it was Moonraker) and in one scene Bond was attacked by a kendoka – and his weapon was a shinai. This was a ‘eureka’ moment for me.

 

Suddenly I was intrigued and determined to find out more, I looked for anyone who might be teaching this strange martial art. I found that a local senior karate sensei, Malcolm Dorfman, had just returned from Japan and had taken an interest in starting kendo for his karate students. I joined to be the 5th member and my kendo adventure started in January 1988 at the age of 46.

 

Of course, we had very little idea of what we were doing other than the very basics, and there was no internet or English books. But we persevered and soon had 10 members. Not long after this, a Japanese student, Takashi Shimamura (sandan) came to South Africa for his gap year, and we started improving our kendo during his 2 years stay as my house guest.

 

In 1991 I was privileged to take part in the 2-week Kitamoto gasshuku where I passed my shodan in kendo and iaido. The head teacher was Toyotashi NOMASA sensei (hanshi hachidan) who was to play an important role in the development of South African Kendo.

 

We formed the South African Kendo Federation (SAKF) in 1994 and gained affiliation to the International Kendo Federation (FIK) and the European Kendo Federation (EKF).

 

I became the President of the SAKF, a position I held for 25 years, and since 1994 made sure that we attended every WKC and EKC (except one) which we have continued to do to the present time.

 

1995 was  a turning point for South African Kendo. A businessman Teruaki ISHIMARU was sent by his company for a five-year contract in the South African office. At a chance meeting with NOMASA sensei in Japan, ISHIMARU sensei was instructed to teach us in South Africa. Under his guidance over 20 years our kendo continued to improve. We have recognised him as the Honourary Life President of the SAKF.

 

We started our own annual kendo seminar and have managed every year to invite Japanese and European senior senseis to come to South Africa to teach.

 

My own highlights:

 

  • 1991 Kitamoto, Japan – pass shodan for kendo and iaido.

  • 1995 Glasgow, Scotland – pass nidan for kendo and iaido.

  • 1997 Kyoto, Japan – pass sandan iaido

  • 1997 Santa Clara, USA – pass sandan kendo

  • 2000 Kitamoto, Japan – pass yondan dan kendo

  • 2005 Brussels, Belgium – pass godan kendo and yondan iaido.

  • 2009 Brussels, Belgium – pass rokudan kendo.

  • 2011 Awarded ‘The Order of the Rising Sun with Gold and Silver Rays’ by. The Japanese Government for promoting Japanese – South African cultura exchange.

  • 2015 Tokyo, Japan – pass nanadan kendo.

  • 2017 Japan – pass renshi test.

  • 2023 Japan – pass kyoshi test.

 

I have practiced kendo and iaido in 19 countries which has given me a broad perspective on the various approaches and ideas about kendo and kendo practice.

 

Having achieved my kyoshi in my 83rd year, I am thinking more deeply about kendo and realise that another journey has begun where curiosity will play a big part.



 

(Japanese Version)


Kenso2024-04_002
.pdf
Download PDF • 1.22MB


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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.

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