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The 2023 RKC Year in Review

Updated: Jan 3


Last Updated: 3 Jan 2024


2023 Year-End video



The RKC Dojo has had an exciting 2023 year (so far)! Consistent training has been the norm throughout the year that has led to some amazing experiences! Here are a few highlights:


Kicking off the 2023 year was a once-in-a-lifetime training experience for two of our dojo's members! Warren HO and Terry CHAU were invited by the Swiss Kendo delegation to take part in a Kendo training camp in Nagasaki, Japan. Not only did they get to train with the top kendo high school in Japan (Shimabara High School), they also had the opportunity to train with 2 prestigious national kendo champions: Kyohei HAYASHIDA SENSEI (2021 AJKF Vice-Champion), and Kenshiro MATSUZAKI sensei (2021 AJKF Champion, 2023 AJKF Vice-Champion). Warren HO also decided to stay a bit longer in Japan to do some IAIDO training with Takakazu ISHII sensei and visit some historical sites in Japan such as the Kashima Shrine (鹿島神宮, Kashima Jingū). This is a Shinto shrine located in Kashima, Ibaraki in the northern Kantō region of Japan. It is dedicated to Takemikazuchi-no-Ōkami (武甕槌大神), one of the patron deities of martial arts. Warren HO was also able to meet up briefly with 2 sensei's who have supported South African Kendo over the years, Tokuaki IRII (8th dan) and Teruaki ISHIMARU (7th dan) sensei.




In March, 15 RKC members took part in the SAKF’s Annual International Seminar with Uwe KUMPF sensei (Kyoshi, 7th Dan, Germany) and Markus FREY sensei (Kyoshi, 7th Dan, Finland), and SEFOR CUP Championships. 2 members, Matthew MICHELLE and Decclan LAWRENCE successfully graded to their Kendo shodan. At the SEFOR Cup Championships, the RKC did phenomenally well with Lisa CHIVANGA and Aura NAIDOO taking 1st and 2nd place, respectively in the WOMEN Competition. Thio NAIDOO and Warren HO took a joint 3rd place in the OPEN Competition.


Later in the year, the RKC dojo again did phenomenally well at the SAKF Summer Seminar, Grading and Junior Championships. Warren HO and Cedric JACQUES sensei were part of the delegation to lead the seminar. For the dan examination grading, a record 7 RKC members successfully obtained their new dan grade: Thiroshan NAIDOO (3rd dan), James MILLER (2nd dan), Kian vd WALT (2nd Dan), Ashton ATKINSON (1st dan), Luc Jean MACQUET (1st dan), Nirisoa RASAMIJAO (1st dan), Charles SUN (1st dan). Lastly, the SAKF Junior Championships was also dominated by the RKC Dojo members: Charles SUN won the individuals competition, and with it the title of 2023's SAKF Junior Champion! Divana Aura NAIDOO took a joint-3rd place, and Ashton ATKINSON won the Fighting Spirit Award. In the team event, RKC's "Divine Guardians", consisting of Divana, Ashton and Charles, won the GOLD medals / 1st Place, and the other RKC team, "Team ACE" consisting of twins Somaria and Sayuri RAMJATTAN and Luc Jean MACQUET taking a joint BRONZE medal / 3rds-place. Pontsho NKADIMENG also won a BRONZE medal for being part of a ronin team, "Darkhorse". Lastly Sayuri RAMJATTAN won a fighting spirit award too! All in all, an extremely successful event for the RKC Dojo!


There was a new Kendo Kids in bogu competition that was introduced at the Autumn Championships! Since starting in the garage of HO sensei during the pandemic lockdown situation in 2020, the Kendo Kids group has grown both in numbers and in skill! Furthermore, thanks to a few donations from our Japanese friends, they have also been able to get into armour sooner than later! These are the future Kendo champions in South Africa! Read more about the "Rise of the Kendo Kids" here!


The RKC Dojo also held 2 Championships at their main Rivonia dojo during the year. The first was the Autumn Championships which was open only for RKC Dojo members. Being a larger dojo, we were able to have such an event that only focused on our members! For a closer look at the Autumn Championships, please read the blog here, and watch the video summary below:


The RKC Spring Championships, which is open to all the other members of the SAKF, was also a great success! Recap on those memories here by watching the video below, or reading the blog post here!


Warren HO, Cedric JACQUES sensei and RKC Dojo's oldest member, Ray FLEMING sensei (79 years young) went of a Kendo teaching expedition in Mauritius in April of 2023. Rishi BUNDHOO of KENDO FEREDATION MAURITIUS (KFM) hosted the 3 RKC Dojo members for a seminar, kyu grade examination and the 1st Ambassador's Cup competition (which was won by RKC Dojo member, Quinton BARKENHUIZEN). This was the first of its kind to help kick-start kendo in Mauritius with hopefully many more expeditions to come! A donation of refurbished shinais were also donated to the MKF later in the year. Read more about the Kendo Expedition to Mauritius here!



4 RKC Dojo members were selected to be part of the Kendo National Team that where to take part in the 32nd European Kendo Championships (EKC) in Beauvais, France: (l-R) Thiroshan NAIDOO, Divana Aura NAIDOO, Charles SUN, and Terry CHAU.


Two trips to Switzerland were made in 2023. The first was by Warren HO sensei who attended a seminar and grading there at the beginning of the year to obtain his 2nd dan (nidan) in both Iaido and Jodo. Later in the year, the 21st European Jodo Championships (EJC) took place in Magglingen, Switzerland. As debutants in these championships, it was most unexpected and surprising when both Jason E. and Warren H. won Fighting Spirit awards for their performances! A great accomplishment for South African Jodo! It should be noted that Heinz WELLERT also obtained his nidan in jodo in Germany during 2023.




There have also been some smaller but very interesting side projects that our dojo had undertaken during the year:


DEMOS at:

  • TCA's Chinese New Year's Celebration at the Sacred Heart College, Johannesburg.

  • Japanese Cultural Expo - Kendo, Iaido and Jodo Demo at the Brooklyn Mall

  • Tzu Chi Foundation Kendo Demo and Interactive session in Johannesburg

  • Hong Ning Old Age Home Fundraising Jodo and Iaido Demo in Johannesburg

  • SAKF's Kendo, Iaido and Jodo Demonstration at Japanese Spring Festival at the Japanese School in Emmerentia, Johannesburg.



Star Wars Event at the dojo on 4th May 2023!


Commercial projects for BLADES and TRIGGERS, as well as participating in the SONY ALPHA FESTIVAL in Durban and Johannesburg:




Warren HO sensei, Head Sensei of the RKC Dojo had this to conclude: 2023 has yet again been a busy year, both for the dojo and for me personally. As a dojo, we experienced unprecedented growth in our membership base in all three disciplines of Kendo, Iaido and Jodo. I think this is because more people are becoming more aware of the benefits of doing the martial arts can have in their life. "Increase in fitness, improvements in focus and inspiration to become better versions of oneself", has been the tag-line benefit of doing the martial arts at the RKC Dojo. Our dojo also three foundation principles that we abide to and that I think many visitors (who eventually become members) find appealing: Focus. Fun. Family. As mentioned, our training during the year has been constant with hardly any days that are missed. We truly are focused on our training! We also try and incorporate fun both in dojo as well as outside the dojo. Lastly, we cultivate a family-like environment which welcomes everyone. In all the activities we have done this year, these principles have been reflected within them. We had several members travelling to China, France, Germany, Japan, Mauritius, Switzerland and the UK to train, grade or compete. We also had a handful of international visitors come and train with us at the dojo. All this international experience has further added to the growth and development of our members. We also include many fun events that we can do together. This keeps the mundane routine of training bearable. I love the African proverb that goes, "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together". I want our dojo to be a place where all our members can go far in their martial arts journey. As busy (and exciting) as 2023 was, I think 2024, our 9th year operating as a dojo, will be an even busier and even more exciting one! I would like to thank all the RKC dojo members who committed to their training this year , as well as going above and beyond to help out with the management of the dojo. I challenge all our members to make 2024 their best year of focused growth through more training, whilst still having lots of fun! Lastly, I invite all those who either have a interest in improving their physical or mental fitness, or have a hint of curiosity as to what else the martial arts has to offer, to come to our dojo and try a class or two out. It may be the decision that you make in 2024!



A short article that appeared in the online edition of the Sandton Chronicles:



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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.


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:

Website: www.rkcdojo.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RKCDojo

Instagram: @rkc_dojo

TikTok: rkcdojo

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/RivoniaKendoClub

LinkTree: https://linktr.ee/rkcdojo




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