President’s Report 2011 (By Buster Sefor)
I can say without doubt that 2011 has been one of the most disappointing years for kendo in South Africa. From a promising start at the beginning of the year we have seen our membership decline by over 30%. The commitment of both administrators and members to advancing kendo and to regular practice has been dismal.
The attendance at our most important event, the Annual Seminar and Open Competition in February was less than a third of our members. Even more disappointing, the attendance at our Summer Seminar, when your committee went to great efforts to have 2 hachidan and 2 nanadan senseis from Japan lead the seminar, was still less than 50% of our membership. The lack of interest in representing South Africa at the European Championships in Poland meant that we could only manage to send 3 competitors. Of more concern is the low number of beginners starting kendo last year and that we do not have a regular stream of kyu grades coming through to test for shodan. In fact we currently only have 4 1st kyu members and no 2nd kyu members.
The Durban dojo has all but ceased to exist and despite efforts to start activities in Kimberley and Port Elizabeth, we still await positive results.
A further indication of the lack of commitment this last year was that we had not a single inter dojo competition.
Highlights of the Year:
Once again we were privileged to welcome Ajiro sensei, Irii sensei and Ishimaru sensei from Japan to lead our Summer Seminar. We were also pleased to welcome the delegation from Mozambique together with Suenaga sensei.
Tony Hughes sensei passed his 6th dan examination in Kitamoto.
For the first time we had a senior enough grading jury to test up to 4th dan and Mitchel Kyle was successful in passing this examination.
13 members challenged in the 1st dan to 3rd dan examinations.
We sent a team of 3 to compete in the EKF Championships in Gdynia, Poland.
We continue our membership of MASA. We are now part of the Japanese block comprising kendo, aikido and jujitsu. Your president is chairman of the block.
Masa has now elected a new president, Louise Viviers. We still await a reply from the Lottery Board regarding the application put in 2 years ago.
The constitutional change in voting structure at the AGM as proposed last year was passes by a 2/3 email vote and is active for this AGM.
As mandated by the EKF your executive committee has defined the rules and procedure for the application and awarding of the Renshi Shogo by the SAKF. These have been approved by the EKF.
My thanks to my executive committee for their continued support for kendo. The committee met 4 times in the year. Details of development, technical matters, finance and dojos will be presented by these EXCO members.
Your president and Ray Fleming attended the Shimpan Seminar in Brussels We will soon be holding trials for team selection for WKC15 to be held in Italy in May. We are expecting Ishimaru sensei to be here for 2 weeks in May to assist in preparing the team for WKC15. He will travel with us as coach.
The SAKF Annual Seminar and Open Competition will be held at the end of March.
We have nominated one member to attend the Kitamoto Summer Camp.
We once again expect to welcome Ajiro sensei, Irii sensei and Ishimaru senei in October for our Summer Seminar.
It is vital that we again initiate beginners courses and resurrect the inter dojo competitions