By: Sensei Bakkies Laubscher – IOGKF World Technical Advisor & Event Host

With IOGKF International’s first ever 3 in 1 event drawing nearer, event host Sensei Bakkies Laubscher takes the time to outline the goals of such a large scale event, as well as to remind all IOGKF members about the essential principles of Budo...

Society all over the world in general has moved into a very rushed, intolerant, technologically driven mode of life, with the sword of a financial recession hanging over most of our heads 24/7! Even Karate training is becoming an effort for students, trying to get off work early for a seminar, rushing back for your spouse’s birthday, etc. – everyone of us is, more or less, experiencing the ‘hamster-on-the-wheel’ feeling!

When I started thinking and discussing with my students about planning the Ubuntu events, we ‘followed the book’ and envisaged and formulated a ‘Desired Result’ or ‘Outcome’ as a starting point and from there worked our way back to establish which inputs and formats should be auctioned to produce the desired result!

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The desired result we established is: To have everyone go back home with a positive experience they will always remember!’Of course, we have to keep in mind the composition of the participants, ranging from my own students, who train with me every day, to International members who attend all major IOGKF International events.

The critical input areas to get to above desired result are:

1. Training Regime. We would need to create an enjoyable training ambiance in which the objectives of traditional training are reached - in-depth knowledge of Okinawa Goju Ryu is experienced, learned, treasured, appreciated and understood. This is quite a challenge, as I notice at seminars nowadays that the trend is more towards entertaining as to actually teaching students what they need to know.

The training will take place in a very serene and beautiful part of Stellenbosch, close to the University’s Physical Education Faculty and training will be very traditional with emphasis on Hojo undo (there’s enough Chi’shi for everybody), along with self defence.

The main teachers will be Higaonna Sensei, Myself and Terauchi Sensei, a close friend for some 37 years in Karate.Some senior IOGKF instructors will also be teaching specialized sessions.

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Friends for some 37 years:

Sensei Bakkies Laubscher (left) and Sensei Kazuo Terauchi Sumo wrestling in Okinawa in 1991.

2. Environment and Interaction. In the Dojo, we need to operate in an atmosphere where the fundamental Martial Arts values of Respect, Loyalty and Honesty, becomes manifested/reinforced in each of us – student and teacher.

We also need to create a relaxing, ‘away from your everyday situation / troubles’ environment where we are away from our computers and mobile phones and can fully interact with people from other countries, seniors with juniors, students with teachers – preferable verbally and not by mobile text messages!

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Stellenbosch is a ‘smallish’ university town, and everybody will be fairly close to each other, which easily lends to interaction:

  • There is a big variety of top, medium, family class restaurants (we almost have more Sushi restaurants than Naha City, including a revolving ‘Sushi’ bar), wine estate restaurants, clubs and bars for all ages (the cheaper the beer, the more variation Bunkai you would need to survive!)

  • The immediate surroundings in a 2 hour by car radius is a nature lover’s paradise with every possible outdoor activity you can imagine available – except snow skiing!The big ‘To Do’ is of course the cage dive in False Bay (40 km away) to see the Great White Shark from close-up (6th Dan and higher = no cage!) You are 20 minutes by car away from some of the most beautiful beaches in the world (OK, Aussie Bondi Beachers, chill!)

  • Then, off course, in the ‘bigger picture’, the ‘African Experience’ is truly unique, from the wine lands of the Cape, the oceans surrounding Cape Town, Table Mountain, to the Bushveld and animals of the North - I am convinced that quite a few of you will soon be back again in the near future!

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The winery areas of the Stellenbosch region – South Africa

3. World Friendship Tournament.Most traditional teachers are opposed to tournament karate (including myself- maybe a contradiction in terms!)

Tournaments and sports events in general, tend to bring out the worst of the bad side of people’s ego.Money, greed, unsportsmanlike behavior, winning at all costs, alcohol abuse, ‘icons on the field and criminals of the field’, and so we can continue - in the modern sports world, most of the ethical principles, such as fairness, respect for self and opponent, admitting another person is better, camaraderie, etc. have been totally disregarded.

Therefore we realized that very strict ground rules, based on Budo principles and ‘Dojo Kun’, need to be laid down, and maintained, to make our tournament instrumental as a tool in the achieving of the  ‘experience that you will always remember’ desired result!

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A successful tournament can only be confirmed when all role players are satisfied.For this, there’s a simple qualification:

The best, superiorly skilled person, must be the winner, (as opposed to ‘my’ student must win!). For this to happen, a safe, fair, professional environment must be created and maintained and the general organization must be of a high moral and professional standard:

3.1 Referees, Officials.Must have:

  • A superior knowledge of the Rules and the ability to apply them in practice.
  • must be fair and totally unbiased

3.2 Participants. Must fully appreciate Budo fundamentals and carry this in their approach to the competition – try their utmost best to win in a positive and fair manner and accept the decisions of the referees. Winning is easy, but losing brings out real character – it must be approached as a learning curve and an opportunity at self growth.

3.3 Team managers. Must understand the above objectives and guide their participants accordingly – don’t criticize officials, accept decisions and encourage your members to give their best effort in a positive way.

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To view the Official event timetable for the IOGKF World Ubuntu Gasshuku click on the link below:




Sandaime Soke – Goju-ryu 3rd Generation successor