Vygotsky and the Sempai

Lev Vygotsky offers a way for us to understand the value of peer teaching, which appears in all good dojos around the world: the sempai-kouhai relationship.

How to look after your gi

They say the suit maketh the man, and while that’s a bit narrow, it is helpful to paraphrase it as the gi maketh the warrior. A clean gi (or do-gi) is a sign of respect, not only for oneself but towards one’s dojo and fellow training partners. To arrive in a dirty, untidy gi is to show…

Courage in Karate: The Role of Vulnerability

“Vulnerability is not weakness, and the uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure we face every day are not optional. Our only choice is a question of engagement. Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of our purpose; the level to which we protect ourselves from…

Shu-Ha-Ri – The Martial Recipe

In studying, practising and teaching karate, I have come across the concept of Shu Ha Ri a few times. Of course my mind latched right on to it, because it is a neat way to explain vast concepts. Anything that offers an elegant shorthand is basically catnip to the instructor-in-training. Of course, Karate by Jesse…

3 Fun Ideas for Teaching Kids Karate

In my journey as a deshi, I have been given some great opportunities to come up with clever ways to get complex concepts across to kids ranging from the age of 5 to 15. I’d love to share these ideas, and hear back from other deshi students and instructors if they have had success, and…

Returning to the Dojo

One missed class can easily become three. Three classes becomes a month. Then six. Then a year. And then there’s a day when you open your cupboard and there is your gi, hanging up and gathering dust. Waiting. (And silently judging you.)

Episode Three: Skinner Selfies

How social are we, really? Is this real life, or is this just curation? I catch up with Heather Clancy, tastemaker deluxe, to talk smack about the psychology of social media, whether selfies are feminist, why ad-blockers rock and squatty potties. We also take some time to skim past the Oscars, why Treehouse is the…

Episode Two: Love, Lobola and Taxis

For this episode, I chatted to my dear friend Stanford, who is a man of great wisdom and who always offers valuable insight into the heartbeat of South Africa. In this episode we discuss lobola, the Republic of Henley on Klip, the vast differences between Joburg and Cape Town minibus taxis, male circumcision  in South…

My Afropolitan Articles

I love seeing my name in lights, and digital lights are pretty great, but being on paper is still infinitely more rewarding. I like to think the trees would be glad to know they are going to such a fine use (rather than ending up as tabloid fodder, shame). Happily, some of the articles are…

Doilies, Vases and Greek Life Lessons

It all began with a doily, and a vase. My yaya, a woman who has caustic wit and very thin eyebrows, had come over from Cyprus to stay with us. Two days into her visit, the world’s ugliest vase (origins unknown) and a crocheted doily suddenly appeared and made themselves comfortable upon a stylish Art…

27 Boxes: That Which is Not Twee

Melville and I, we go way back. My mom, the SAFTA-award winning art director, had a restaurant named Hard Times in 4th avenue for twelve years. I spent many a happy childhood and teen year rambling about Melville, walking its streets and visiting its shops. I was always on foot and alone, because Melville was that…