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
Sensei Nico Maritz started karate in 1983 with Sensei Hennie de Vries.
Having started as Sensei Carl’s first student when the Walvis bay Dojo was established in 1991; Sensei Nico ultimately took over as Head Instructor of Walvis Bay Dojo in 1999. A building contractor by trade, Sensei Nico runs his family business with his wife and brother, and used his skills to build the current Walvis Bay Dojo in Meersig.
With more than 35 years of experience and having been a member of the Namibian National Karate Team for many years, Sensei Nico continues to regularly produce many of Namibia’s top Karate athletes.
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.
Currently teaching children’s and kiddies classes at Shinto Dojo.
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 one of the most decorated Sports Karate Athletes in OGKN having won numerous titles including OGKN Senior Male Grand Champion and Namibian All-Styles Senior Male Grand Champion. 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. In 2022 he received his AUSC Region 5 Kata and Kumite Coaching Qualifications and is currently Assistant Coach to the Namibian National Karate Team.
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.
Senpai Reino Hansen – 2nd Dan IOGKF
When Senpai Reino first started karate back in 2008 his family stayed in Kalkrand and he would make the 193km trip to attend classes in Windhoek twice a week, before ultimately moving into hostel in Windhoek. Senpai Reino would go on to win numerous National Goju-Ryu Championships during his childhood; most notably representing Namibia at the 2013 Zone 6 Karate Championships and winning double gold at the 2015 African Goju-Ryu Karate Championships.
Having always been interested in various martial arts including Kickboxing, Muay Thai and Boxing; after finishing school in 2016, Senpai Reino travelled to Thailand where he made his debut as a professional Muay Thai Fighter.
Upon returning to Namibia in 2017 he obtained his law degree at UNAM and now works as co-owner of Outfit Namibia and Wild Apple Designs as well as assistant instructor to Sensei Rowan at Shinto Dojo.
Senpai Jaco Steyn – 1st Dan IOGKF
Born in Otjiwarongo, Namibia, Sempai Jaco started Karate at Goju Kai in 1996, age 8, and continued until 3rd Kyu.
Whilst studying Hospitality Management in Centurion, South Africa in 2007 he joined the local Funakoshi Shotokan Karate Association 2007 again reaching 3rd Kyu and participating in the Funakoshi Shotokan Karate World Cup in 2009, receiving Gold in Kata and Double Bronze for Team Kata and Kumite. After returning to Namibia in 2010 he pursued his career in Hospitality & Tourism, working on a Lodge & Game Farm and travelling extensively through Namibia and its neighbors. In 2013 he finally settled in Walvis Bay to pursue a career in Shipping & Logistics.
Senpai Jaco joined Walvis Bay Goju Ryu Karate club in 2014 and represented Namibia at the 2015 African Goju-Ryu Karate Championships in SA where he received Gold for Kata and Bronze for Kumite.
After recovering from two serious knee injuries Senpai Jaco now assists Sensei Nico directly as assistant instructor to Walvis Bay Goju Ryu Karate Club’s Beginners, Teens and Senior classes.
Senpai Dieter Buys – 1st Dan IOGKF
Senpai Dieter was born born in Walvis Bay, Namibia and started karate in 2012.
Having started initially with the sole purpose of learning how to defend himself, Senpai Dieter quickly realized that the values he learned could also be allied in all aspects of his life. Currently pursuing a career in teaching English, music and karate, Senpai Dieter focusses mostly focus on traditional karate.
Most recently Senpai Dieter participated in the 2019 IOGKF International Gishiki in Okinawa, and currently assist Sensei Nico with all age groups in Walvis Bay Dojo.