The Launch of Martial Heart

It is with this in mind that I finally started an initiative that I have been thinking about for a long time. It is a small start, but I hope it will grow over time.

Real Futureproofing

We get it, parents: you are trying to make sure your child, the centre of your universe, your precious genetic legacy, is going to handle whatever the future can throw at them. We see it in the extra classes they do, the vast number of extra-curricular activities. We see it in their burdensome homework schedules,…

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…

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 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…

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…

Obituary: Kazuo Chiba, 1940 – 2015

Even though I no longer formally practice Aikido, it is a martial art that still matters to me, and one I often think of. I still miss it, and not just because of the hakama. Recently, T.K. Chiba shihan passed away. He was one of the few living disciples of Aikido’s founder Morihei Ueshiba and his son…

Women Warrior Series: The Dahomey Amazons

Not long ago in West Africa, there was a warrior clan so fierce, so hardened and so unbelievably tough that it took the might of an industrialised nation just to slow them down.

What the Dreaded DNF Can Teach Us

It was the sickening realization that even though I trained, and followed the programs, I would not finish the race. Because no matter what they say, sometimes your best just isn’t fucking good enough.