Category Archives: Announcements

Sensei Carl Van Der Merwe Awarded 7th Dan (7th Degree) Black Belt

Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate Namibia is very proud to announce that the Chief Instructor for Namibia, Sensei Carl Van Der Merwe, have just been awarded the very senior grade of 7th Dan (7th Degree) Black Belt in Naha, Okinawa, Japan. The grading system has 10 Degrees of Black Belts.

Sensei Carl succesfully completed the grading test in front of a grading panel headed by Higaonna Morio Sensei, 10th Degree Black Belt and Sensei Bakkies Laubscher, 9th Degree Black Belt. These two Grand Masters have a combined 120 years of karate training between them.

Black Belts are not easily awarded in Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate. The Black Belt grading system has a minimum waiting period off for example 6 years between 5th Degree and 6th Degree Black Belt. In the period between Black Belt gradings a minimum amount of karate seminars have to be attended to increase technical skills. A candidate’s contribution to develop karate not only on the floor but also off the floor is evaluated, as well as the responsibility taken for students and organisational affairs. Sensei Carl last graded in 2008 and had to wait at least 7 years to be invited again for a grading test.

Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate is affiliated to the IOGKF (International Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate Federation). The IOGKF has thousands of members in 53 countries over the world.

Sensei Carl is now one of the Top 40 seniors of the IOGKF in the world. It is indeed a very special moment for Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate Namibia and for Namibian karate in general.

The grading test was presented at the 7th World Budosai, a very prestigious international karate seminar presented every 4 years in Naha city, Okinawa, Japan. Namibia was represented at this event by Senseis Carl Van Der Merwe, Stefan Van Der Merwe, Rowan Carstens en Shaun Fobian.

This was the largest karate event ever presented in Okinawa. 1,100 participants from 41 countries in the world attended this week long event.
Namibia can indeed be proud to be presented at such an international event.