Jundokan South African Chief Instructor Buddy Govender
The Jundokan Chief Instructor (personally appointed by the late Miyazato Ei'ichi O'Sensei in 1997 ) for South Africa is Buddy Govender Sensei. He began his training in Goju Kai Karate at the age of 9 years old. His first instructor was Stan Hart Sensei however, it was Vasi Naidoo Sensei (7th dan USA Seiwa Kai Chief Instructor) who played an influential role in his formative Karate years. As a junior, Buddy competed in many Provincial and National Tournaments where he always placed in the top three in both kata and kumite. He was fortunate to be given intensive and personal training by his mentor and 'karate-father' Vasi Naidoo Sensei. Vasi Sensei was, and still is a major guiding force behind Buddy's involvement in Goju Karate-Doh. Through continued and dedicated training he was graded to lst Dan Black Belt (Shodan) in November 1976 and 2nd Dan Black Belt (Nidan) in 1982. In the early 70's when there were hardly any juniors practicing Karate, Buddy Sensei was training under and alongside top 1st generation South African Goju Karate-ka like Ian McTavish Sensei (now Australia), Vasi Naidoo Sensei (now Los Angeles), the late Tony Ebrahim Sensei, Deena Naidoo Sensei (now Australia), Krish 'Palance' Govender Sensei, Ben Mare Sensei, Stan Hart Sensei and Leo Lapinski Shihan. The training was hard and punishing in the early days of South African Goju.
Between 1982 and 1989, Buddy played 1st team Professional Football for Amazulu Football Club in the South African National Professional Soccer League, and, although he privately continued his Goju Ryu Karate-Doh training, he did not further his grade, nor affiliate to any Karate organization. He had a successful football career and was one of the top players in South Africa. In 1989, he decided to 'retire' prematurely from playing football so that he could return fully committed to his beloved Goju Ryu Karate-Doh.
In November 1993 he was graded to Sandan (3rd Dan Black Belt), and, was one of six Sensei, from all the different styles of Karate elected to select the Natal Provincial Karate Team. He is also trained and Japanese graded in Iaido, which is the art of drawing and cutting with a Japanese Sword (katana). He has personally trained under a number of world-class Sensei from many different styles like Tetsuhiko Asai Sensei (9th Dan and Chief Instructor of the Japanese Karate Association (JKA) in the world), Goshi Yamaguchi Sensei (Head of the Goju Kai), Teruo Hayashi Soke (10th Dan Shito Ryu), Morio Higaonna Shihan (10th Dan Okinawa Goju Ryu), Yasuda Tetsunosuke Sensei (10th Dan Jundokan) & the late Miyazato Ei'ichi Hanshi (10th Dan Jundokan).
IN JULY OF 1997, BUDDY SENSEI WAS PERSONALLY INVITED TO TRAIN UNDER THE HEADMASTER OF OKINAWA GOJU RYU KARATE-DOH AND DIRECT STUDENT OF CHOJUN MIYAGI SENSEI, THE LATE MIYAZATO EI'ICHI O'SENSEI (10TH DAN) IN OKINAWA, JAPAN. HERE HE WAS GRADED TO YONDAN (4TH DAN BLACK BELT) BY MIYAZATO & YASUDA SENSEI'S AND WAS ALSO ASSIGNED SHIBUCHO (Branch Chief) FOR SOUTH AFRICA.
In April 2007, Buddy returned to the Jundokan So Honbu Dojo in Okinawa, training daily with Masaji Taira Sensei, Tsuneo Kinjo Sensei, Kazuya Higa Sensei and Hiroshi Ganaha Sensei and Miyazato Kancho. Invited to attempt a grading, he was successful in attaining Godan (5th dan). Click here for a full report on his 2007 trip back to the Jundokan.
During the 55th Jundokan Anniversary and 10th Memorial of the late Miyazato Eiichi Sensei held in Okinawa in November 2008, Buddy was requested by Miyazato Yoshihiro Kancho to attempt for Rokudan (6th Dan). Again, his hard work and dedication to the Jundokan paid off and he was promoted and awarded the title of Renshi of the Jundokan SoHonbu Dojo.
After starting Goju Ryu Karate as a 9 year old boy, Buddy has now been training for over 37 years, and hopes that, with God's will, he will continue to practice and teach for the duration of his life.....