Stanley Owen Schmidt Sensei
(1936/10/6 – 2019/10/7)
Founding Father of SA JKA
Stan Sensei (JKA 8th Dan) started his martial arts training in judo and achieved his black belt, but in 1963 he became interested in karate. He was frustrated with not being able to find proper teaching, so he decided to go to Japan for his honeymoon in March 1963. He was the first non-Japanese to be invited to join the “Instructors training” at the original headquarters in Yotsuya, Tokyo. Later that same year he established the first official South African Japan Karate Association, affiliated to JKA, Japan.
Stan Sensei made many trips to Japan and was respected around the world. He was the awarded his 8th Dan by JKA/WF Japan in 2015, the first non-Japanese to receive this honor.
Along with Keith Geyer Sensei and their families, they immigrated to Australia some years back and hence Sensei Stan handed the reigns to our current Chief Instructor Johan La Grange Sensei, as approved by JKA/WF Japan.
Our condolences go to his wife Judy and his daughters Debbie, Caryn, Tia and Lisa.
His legacy lives on in SA JKA with the “Early Birds” trainings which he started still taking place every Tuesday and Thursday morning at the SA JKA Honbu Dojo. A great tree has fallen and we are very sad, but we will continue to honor him the best way possible, and that is continuing the SA JKA Karate Association according to the JKA way.
Kenneth Wittstock Sensei
(1942/08/21 - 2020/03/20)
Founding Father of SA JKA
Ken Sensei (8th Dan) started karate at the age of 20. He was truly one of SA JKA’s founding fathers – present at the very first meeting in 1963 which gave rise to our beloved SA JKA Karate Association; and he was a member of the original SA JKA Shihankai and the Senior Board. He taught karate at his Randfontein Dojo for more than 50 years.
His achievements are numerous so I will highlight a few significant ones. Sensei Ken was the All-styles Kumite National Champion and SA JKA Kata and Kumite South African Champion. In 1972 Sensei Ken represented South Africa as a “Springbok” at the World All Styles Championships where he achieved joint 4th place. That same year he was awarded the South African Sport Merit Award for best karate achievement. Following that in 1973 he achieved joint 3rd place in both the trial JKA World Championships and the All Japan Championships in Tokyo. He was the first westerner to win a medal at the All Japan Champs.
Ken Sensei was accepted onto the JKA Shihankai (Masters) Council at JKA HQ in 2009 and awarded his 8th Dan from JKA Japan in 2015. He also held the qualifications of A class instructor, examiner and judge – the highest qualifications possible.
He travelled to Germany frequently from as early as 1973 to instruct in various areas and gasshukus alongside Ochi Sensei.
Our condolences to Rencia and his children Kevin, Christine, Bridgette and Keith.
Another great tree has fallen, Sensei Ken we are very sad and we will miss you. All of SA JKA are eternally grateful for your contribution to JKA in South Africa. Thank you!