Sensei Carl van der Merwe – 7th Dan IOGKF
Chief Instructor of Namibia
Goju-Ryu started in 1978 in Namibia with Henry de Vries as the chief instructor and approximately five to 10 students, Carl van der Merwe being one of them. In 1999, Carl became Chief Instructor of Okinawa Goju-Ryu Karate Namibia and has grown the organization to currently having more than 200 students spread across 3 dojos. In 2016 Sensei Carl successfully graded for his 7th Dan in Okinawa, Japan; placing him amongst the highest ranked IOGKF practitioners on the continent.
As an accountant/business owner by day and karate instructor by night; Sensei Carl van der Merwe has been diligently practicing karate for more than 30 years now and continues to inspire his students through his hard work, dedication and an undeniable passion for Goju-Ryu.
Sensei Nico Maritz – 5th Dan IOGKF
Head Instructor – Walvis Bay Dojo
The Walvis Bay club was initially started in the garage of Sensei Carl van der Merwe Walvis Bay home back in 1991 when he and his two friends Nico and Riaan Maritz first started training together. As more members joined the club it later moved to the Walvis Bay Private High School PE hall where it stayed for almost 20 years.
After Sensei Nico took over as Head Instructor, he and his wife Bärbel continued to grow the club into what it is today, and ultimately building and moving the dojo into the current premises in Meersig.
Sensei Marion Bause – 5th Dan IOGKF
Having started karate in 1982 under Sensei Hennie de Vries, Sensei Marion Bause has been a corner stone of Okinawa Goju-Ryu Karate Namibia for almost 40 years. Sensei Marion has always had a strong passion for teaching and through the years has helped many of her students achieve black belt status; most notably Sensei Sam Ekandjo.
Sensei Marion remains one of OGKN’s most senior and respected karateka and her rank as 5th Dan makes her one of only three women in the country to have obtained such a prestigious level.
Sensei Stefan van der Merwe – 4th Dan IOGKF
Sensei Stefan van der Merwe started karate in 1996 in Walvis Bay dojo under the guidance of his father, Sensei Carl van der Merwe. In 2006, Sensei Stefan graded for his Junior Shodan and two years later at age 17 he successfully passed his Senior Shodan under Sensei Bakkies Laubscher, making him the youngest Senior Shodan in OGKN history. Whilst taking a short hiatus from Karate between 2012 and 2015, Sensei Stefan received his degrees in sports science and biokinetics at the University of Stellenbosch before returning to Namibia.
Sensei Stefan is currently Vice-Captain of the Namibian National Karate Team. Most notably in 2018 Sensei Stefan won Bronze for Kumite at the Commonwealth Karate Championship and in 2019 he represented Namibia at the 12th African Games.
Sensei Stefan’s primary motivation has always been his father and he hopes to one day follow in his footsteps as Chief Instructor of OGKN.
Sensei Rowan Carstens – 3rd Dan IOGKF
Head Instructor – Shinto Dojo
Sensei Rowan’s Karate journey started in 1991 at the age of 8 at the School of Martial Arts under Sensei Hennie De Vries, continuing under the guidance Sensei Carl Van Der Merwe as Sensei Carl took over as the Chief instructor for Namibia. Sensei Rowan achieved his Shodan black belt in 2001, during this time he was selected for the National team as a junior and senior obtaining full colors in 2000. Having finished school Sensei Rowan left Namibia for travel and studies. In 2008 upon his return to Namibia and restarted at the Honbu dojo in Windhoek, devoting time to traditional as well as sport karate. He went on to play an integral part of the National Goju Ryu team as well as the Namibian National team. As of 2012 Sensei Rowan served various roles for the Namibian Karate Union (NAKU) starting as an assistant coach and later be elected as the NAKU Team Manager and finally serving as the Secretary General until 2018.
Sensei Rowan’s passion has always been for traditional karate; his highlight being his most recent pilgrimage to Okinawa, the birthplace of Goju-Ryu Karate which in 2019 inspired him to open his own Dojo.
Shinto Dojo was opened in October 2019, where he aims to pass on the values and life lessons karate has taught him.
Sensei René Bader – 3rd Dan IOGKF
Sensei René started his karate journey in 2005 at the age of 10. In 2014 he became an assistant instructor and since 2017 he is one of the OGKN senior instructors as well as class manager for the children’s classes.
Sensei René is know for his unwavering dedication and most notably for having won the OGKN best attendance award on 8 separate occasions (2006, 2009, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2021).
Most recently Sensei René participated in the 2019 IOGKF International Gishiki in Okinawa, Japan and upon returning to Namibia he successfully graded for his 3rd Dan.
Senpai Pablo Serrão – 2nd Dan IOGKF
Senpai Pablo was born in Lubango, in the south of Angola and has been in Namibia since 2001. After marrying the Namibian Woman of his dreams in 2006, Senpai Pablo pursued various carriers in catering and hospitality before starting his own shuttle and translation business, mainly for the Portuguese community. Senpai Pablo started karate for the first time in 2013 at OGKN.
Senpai Pablo has since participated in the 2015 African Goju-Ryu Karate Championships in South Africa where he receive a gold medal for kata and bronze for kumite.
Senpai Pablo assists Sensei Carl directly as senior instructor to the Honbu Dojo adult and teens classes.