Training had become a non-negotiable part of my life and many exploits had made the journey very colourful. Sensei Norman is a brilliant instructor teaching JKA (Shotokan) with a strong influence of Judo.
Training for the university team was fun and the highlight being the SAU (South Africa Universities Karate Championships) July each year.
I will never forget the unsympathetic hiding i received from Piet le Roux sensei from Kovsies. I was my first year and little did I know that this senior person was a formidable fighter with a world of knowledge and years of experience.
The University of Pothefstroom team was coached by late Braam Peens sensei, a hard Goju-ryu instructor without a real passion for sports-karate. We were taught unequivocal rock-solid karate from the traditional school of Goju-Ryu.
The University of Pretoria team was coached by Frans Joubert sensei, a Shukukai instructor following an impressive style of Kimura sensei. Being the only Shotokan student was a challenge but winning for your alma-mater was far more important.
Koos Burger sensei had a tremendous influence in my career in the fighting arts. A non-political figure with powerful karate and excellent technique. Sensei Koos’s patient was often tested through my teenage years especially when we were invited to teach in the smaller country towns.
Nigel Jackson sensei, the only South African to complete the notorious instructors course in Japan, was a greatest influence and sparked my interest and adoration for the Japanese culture. I was graded under him to third Dan level. My following grade was awarded by Shirai sensei in Italy after I failed the first attempt!
I invested much energy and effort training under Norman Robinson sensei for many years. Now acknowledged as highest graded westerner, sensei Norman did play a huge rule in my technical skills and contributed much in winning the JKA World Karate Championships in 1998.
Grading for 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th Dan was under the auspices of Keigo Abe sensei over a period of 17 year was truly motivating. Abe sensei in current regarded a the second most senior graded individual in the world.