Sensei off to boot camp in Japan


Mitchell’s Plain karate instructor Gavin Smith is among a number of senseis from across the world who will take part in the International Instructors’ camp, in Japan, next month.

Smith, formely from Colorado Park, is the chief instructor at the Kyokushin karate dojos, in Woodlands and Portland.

He said the training camp will cover aspects of developing and harnessing techniques, character, fitness and endurance.

Smith is no stranger to international competitions as he already obtained a fourth dan degree black belt and, if things go his way, will earn his fifth dan black belt.

He was also part of the South African coaching set-up at the Kyokushin World Union (KWU) world youth championships, in Russia, in 2011, the KWU All Asian youth championships, in South Korea, in 2012 and the KWU world youth championships in Russia, in 2014.

For Smith it started in 2002 when he was asked by his former sensei, Theo Woolf, if he could take the class when he could not. He said that was when he started to enjoy teaching and working with children. Two years later he became a full-time martial arts instructor.

“Karate and soccer were my sports of choice when I was employed by the City as a law enforcement officer in the early 90s. However, it was more karate as I competed almost every year in provincial and national full contact tournaments.

“I was also a qualified range officer and trained all the law enforcement officers to be competent with their firearms. I was then requested to train the new recruits with self defence and firearm training. It was then that I started teaching karate part-time in the community of Woodlands,” said Smith.

Smith, who also has dojos in Kuils River, trains more than 100 students of which 34 of them obtained their WP colours and seven of them their SA colours.

He said it makes him happy and proud that his students are producing good results.

“I can measure myself and I know that the hard work has paid off. I also teach my students that winning is not everything because on every road to success you will find failure, and failure is what will make you discover your weaknesses and make you want to train harder to achieve better results. Nothing comes without sacrifices, dedication and hard work,” he said.

“I teach Kyokushin Karate and belong to the Kyokushin-Kan Organisation with Hennie Bosman as the Chairman of Africa and we are affiliated to Kancho Royama in Japan.

“We are also registered to Karate South Africa (KSA) Full Contact which is affiliated to SASCOC.

“Kyokushin is a full contact type of martial arts known across the world as the strongest karate because of its vigorous and strenuous ways and methods of training,” he added

Smith said he would like to see all his students become focused, dedicated, well-mannered, respectful and disciplined individuals. If a child has all these qualities then it is easy to shape and mould them into respecte leaders and role models in our communities. To teach, one has to have patience, understanding, be able to guide, the ability to identify problems and to be able to solve them,” he said.

Smith still needs a bit of funding to cover his accomodation and a few other expenses. If you’d like to assist, call Smith on 084 469 3881 or email