Category Archives: Grading

New Solis Ortus shodans receive their diplomas

Solis Ortus received a few new shodans! (1st degree black belt) They all received their official JKA certificates from JKA headquarters in Japan.

Hardus van Jaarsveld, Christo Olivier, brothers Deepan and Veer Valla graded to shodan at JKA honbu in October 2020.

Tiaan Uys graded to his Shodan in March 2021

This was their crowning glory after months (and years) of intensive preparation and training. The five new shodans already received their black belts and endured their initiation into the senior class soon after grading.

However, the diploma, finely crafted on Japanese rice paper, serves as official recognition of their status as shodans. They can proudly display their diplomas when not in their gi and wearing their obi!

We hope the diplomas also serve as reminders that their karate journey has only just started.

Well done guys.
Solis Ortus is proud of you!


Another successful Solis Ortus Grading

Solis Ortus hosted yet another great grading under the watchful eye of Eugene Oosthuizen sensei on Saturday 12 June 2021. The grading was extra special as it was also Eugene sensei’s birthday!

After months of preparation around Solis Ortus karateka got the opportunity to demonstrate what they learned in class. The day kicked off early at 6 am with Eugene sensei and instructors getting everything in place to ensure a successful grading whilst complying with Covid-19 protocols. The grading went smoothly, with Covid-19 measures strictly adhered to. We finished on time, yet again, with no hiccups!

First up were Sandy sensei’s Minis. This was the largest group of Mini little karateka between ages 3 and 6 graded to grade in several years. At least one Mini also graded from Sandy sensei’s Minis to a proper white belt. Sandy shed a few tears in sadness for saying goodbye to a Mini and in happiness, and happy tears as this karateka’s karate life take on a new dimension.

Next to grade were the white belts going to yellow one. They all graded really well. They were followed by yellow ones who graded to full yellow, including a few older white belts. Solis Ortus has a whole bunch of new yellow belts. Well done to everyone!

Then it was time for yellow belts going to orange one and full orange. There were again a few older karateka taking the next step in their karate life. Solis Ortus is very proud of every girl and boy, lady and gentleman that graded!

Under Eugene sensei’s hawk-eye more karateka graded to green one and green belts, blue one and blue belts, and to purple one and purple. This is when one truly begins to realise what karate could mean in one’s life. Keep it up guys and gals!

Then it was time to grade to red belts. The pressure in the dojo at this grading was high but everyone showed their dedication. Well done!

The red belts were followed by karateka grading to junior brown and black as well as a few grading to kyu 3 and 2. The grading session was hard. Eugene sensei not only test every karateka’s kata and kihon, but also their endurance and fitness. All told, ten karateka successfully completed the last grading of the day. Solis Ortus is really proud of everyone!

Lastly, we want to thank Eugene sensei for his guidance and respect showed towards every single karateka and instructor – not only on the day but also in every class! It is a privilege to be part of Solis Ortus and to be taught by you!


SA JKA National Grading and Standardisation Seminar

On the weekend of 26 and 27 March 2021, 365 days after SA’s hard lockdown, SA JKA hosted another successful National Dan Grading and Standardisation Seminar.

Tiaan Uys successfully completed his Shodan grading (1st Dan), becoming Solis Ortus’ newest black belt.  We want to congratulate you on your achievement, as we know you have worked hard over the years and had to overcome a back injury too.

All black belts across SA were invited to attend the Standardisation Seminar.  Due to ever changing times, the Standardisation Seminar  for 2021 only hosted dojo heads. It is absolutely amazing to see how healthy SA JKA is.  The attendance from various dojo heads was mind blowing.

As always, our own dojo head, Sensei Eugene Oosthuizen, was in the front row to gather as much knowledge as possible which he in turn will bring back to his ever growing dojo and make the best of any potential karateka.

It was a great weekend compared to a year ago.  Staying fit and healthy through it all!

Lockdown vs Solis Ortus students


Early March 2020, and the world is buzzing amidst the new Covid-19 outbreak. Sensei Eugene Oosthuizen’s mind is in overdrive, thinking of ways to keep his students going strong in light of the very uncertain times heading our way. Sensei Eugene has discussions with fellow karateka and friends, both here and overseas. They all

start brain storming.

We know a hard lock down is coming and we follow news from around the world.

On 23 March 2020 President Cyril Ramaphosa announcesthe lockdown in South Africa for 21 days from 26 March 2020. However, we knew that this lockdown would last much longer.

When the announcement came our students were already introduced to Zoom training and so started our online training journey. With dedicated students and their parents, instructors and lots of Wifi data, we pulled our dojo through a time that will go down in the history books.

This time will forever become part of the rich history of Solis Ortus karate dojo.

We witnessed our students overcome a very tough time and bettered themselves in more ways than one.

We hosted the first ever online grading which was a HUGE success.

We helped our karate family members where help was asked for and we only came back stronger.

Solis Ortus students – this message is for you!

Thank you for not giving up. Thank you for training in very difficult times. Thank you for remaining disciplined and respectful over a screen.

With the online training, we invited you into our home and you invited us into yours. The Solis Ortus family is one of greatness, strength and unity and we appreciate each and every one.

We know that Solis Ortus students are destined for greatness. And, if 2020 was the year to measure greatness, it is evident that we have the best in our dojo.

Each student, each parent, each family member and every dog, cat and lovebird that joined in on the online training – WE BOW and say “OSS”!


Solis Ortus 4 black belts “richer”

“Richness is not only measured in Money…….you can also be rich by your Habits, Values, Vision & Discipline.”

Solis Ortus became 4 black belts “richer” on Saturday during the National Dan Gradings held at SAJKA headquarters in Johannesburg.

We are super proud of each and every one of them.

The Pre-grading session was represented by 12 Solis Ortus students. Sandra Erasmus, Rudolf Steyn and Nick Vergitsis aren’t on the photo as they trained in a different hall.

Gary McKerr, Cathy van Onselen, Dawie Reyneke and Zak Snyman all received their 1st Dan (Shodan) on Saturday. We are so proud of you!!!! Now your karate journey starts.


18 May 2019 SAJKA Pre-grading, National Gradings and International Qualifications

18 May 2019 SAJKA Pre-grading, National Gradings and International Qualifications

Senior Solis Ortus karateka have been preparing over several months for their Shodan and Nidan gradings. Some will attempt grading in October 2019, whilst others will have their opportunity in 2020. However, most of them attended the three hour pre-grading session at JKA HQ at th Wanderers in Jo’burg, as additional preparation for their Dan gradings.

Veronica Myburgh was the only senior karateka who attended the pre-grading as warm up for her Shodan grading on the same day. Veronica has walked a very long and sometimes painful road to grade to her first Dan. She attempted her Shodan 19 years ago, but unfortunately did not make it. Veronica though never forgot her true karate spirit and after life happened (work, marriage, children), she returned to the dojo again to work towards her Shodan dream. Sprained ankles, broken ribs and a low immune system never stopped Veronica from preparing well, training hard, learning non-stop and always bettering herself to such a point that she received her Shodan on 18 May 2019.

Congratulations Veronica on receiving your Shodan. Solis Ortus is tremendously proud of you. Enjoy this moment and wear your black belt with pride!

To all those continuing with their Dan preparations, work hard and never give up!



Solis Ortus’ 80th Grading

Solis Ortus had their 80th Grading on Saturday, 1 December 2018.

Traditionally, Solis Ortus always starts with the Minis graders. Too cute for words they conquered the morning with loud kiai’s, precision and incredible spirit. The mini grading is always a good introduction to the rest of the days’ events. We adore the minis; each one equipped in their own right with the 5 maxims of karate. We are so proud of each and every one of you.

The rest of our grading day was per belt and age group succeeding to higher belts. The standard was high. Some students experienced grading for the first time. For them it was more intense and stressful. For our more experienced grading students, stress will always be a factor, but their experience pulled them through. Like they say, the harder you work the luckier you get. In this case the harder you have worked the easier it will be.

To all our 80th graders of Solis Ortus. Well done. Our panels in kata, kumite and kihon congratulate you all in a successful grading. You have grown so much as karatekas. Some of us improved a lot and others just excelled in their karate.

It is amazing to see how each karateka in their own character have excelled as a person. Some have shown more leadership, others improved in their school work or workplace, most of us learnt how to handle our stress levels and everybody showed the joy they experienced in their karate.

To our more senior group, not in belts, but in years…..well done. Grading is not for the weak. You all have conquered your fear and spread your wings to successfully graded to your next belt.

To our senior belts, not in age…what a fantastic grading. It is amazing to have seen you grow from white to where you are now. WELL DONE…FANTASTIC…keep up the standard! Sensei Eugene and the grading panel are extremely proud of you all.

Wear your belt with pride, frame your certificate, hang all your medals, but most of all be an ambassador wherever you may go. Keep on training, work hard and excel in life.

Well done to everyone, relax and we cannot wait to see you all at prize giving 7 December 2018.

Witten by: Heilethe Calitz

78th Solis Ortus Grading – 25 November 2017

This weekend Solis Ortus celebrated its 78th grading, since 1978, and carved a new chapter in its history book. Grading day was a successful, positive and fruitful experience for our karatekas. We had 189 graders who succeeded their grading to the next belt level. Solis Ortus stand proud to acknowledge each individual exceled in their karate, but also how abundantly they enjoy their karate.

For some karatekas it was their first grading, for others the experience was more nerve wrecking, and of course for our senior belts, grading was an emotional roller coaster.

We started bright and early with our Mini graders (3-5 years old). They looked too cute in their karate Gi’s (suits). The minis outshined themselves in their grading course and did everything with precision, determination, loud kiais and good spirit. Oh my goodness, did they know their terminology! It is so adorable to hear them count and repeat the Japanese terminology. We are so proud of our little ninjas growing up to become great karate stars one day.  The minis are developing in a strong and well-designed karate foundation to eventually support their abilities in their karate journeys. With bliss they graded to mini yellow, mini orange and mini blue.

Our junior gradings, Yellow 1 to Blue, showed good progress and express a promising individual succeeding to higher belts. It was impressive to observe some of our white belts showing great potential as newbies on their new karate journey. Well done to all our junior graders, you have shown great growth and good spirit. Keep on growing but above all keep on enjoying your karate!

The standard of our more senior belt levels, Purple 1 to Brown, were exceptionally high. They showed more power, strength, precision and understanding what karate is all about. The 3K’s are forming a well-developed foundation as you are becoming more mature and understand the why of karate. This group have great form and stances. Well done, we are immensely proud of you all.

And then, the emotional roller coaster of nerves, excitement and pride step onto the floor. Eight karatekas graded to Kuy 3 and Kuy 2; Junior Black 2 and Junior Black 1. This grading was tough and the graders needed to prove their character and spirit to be able to pass this grading. With persistence, they all persevered. It was incredible to be an observer on the panel, as it reminded us how intense and privileged it was to grade in this group. The cream of the crop emerging to become the next Black Belt generation in Solis Ortus. Two karatekas graded to Junior Black 1 and had their last grading in the dojo and achieved the status of our next generation. We have four new Junior Black 2 karatekas. Remember: “A black belt is a white belt who never gave up!”

To all our karatekas we congratulate you on a well-deserved and brilliant grading. Without you, Solis Ortus cannot build a heritage and we are extremely proud to have you part of our club.

Thank you to our parents who dedicated their time to our karate students, who helped them to enjoy and love karate as a sport. To all our Instructors and assistant Instructors, thank you for your dedication in teaching our karatekas. Thank you to Sensei Eugene for being our role model, we look up to you and will follow your lead. There is only ONE WAY, JKA! JKA, ONE WAY!

Solis Ortus sending warm wishes to you and your family during this Christmas Season. May your home be blessed with love and happiness. If you are going away, please drive safely. See you all 8 January 2018!

Written by: Heilethe Calitz

SAJKA Pre-grading 28 October 2017

As a Solis Ortus tradition, we, as karatekas/instructors, endeavor to attend as many events as possible, especially pre-grading. We are highly motivated to grow, expanding our knowledge, thus enhancing our teaching abilities within our dojo.  Five Solis Ortus  Shodan karatekas, Lilian Mynhardt, Sandy Verreyne, Stephanie Kugel, Heilethe Calitz and Liam van Rooyen, led by the ever present  and instructing on the day, Sensei Eugene Oosthuizen(5th Dan, Godan),  did exactly that, braving the cold to assimilate knowledge.

On arrival at the Mandeville Sports Complex, Johannesburg, we realized that the butterflies in our stomachs were not as intense as on arrival to actual grading. Although pre-grading is mandatory to grade to the next level, we at  Solis Ortus attend these to be on the cutting edge of what’s hot and what’s not.

The training was led by the ever so captivating, Sensei Wendy Wannenburg, Rokudan(6th  Dan). Her imposing knowledge and execution of karate techniques  are inspirational and mind-boggling at the same time. With the ability to demonstrate any kick, holding said kick while continuing to instruct.

We at Solis Ortus believes to prepare ourselves until it becomes second nature and can almost execute techniques with perfection. We also do understand that hard work and a lot of sweat will determine our fate the day of grading. As part of a dojo with great history and champs, we strive to be proud of our heritage and will always aim to do our best.

We also would like our Sensei Eugene to be proud of us after the long and hard hours of work he invested in us. As the saying goes: “Practice makes perfect”.

Pre-grading on Saturday only consisted out of the Shodan syllabus no matter to what black belt level you will grade. The reason for that was that the Shodan grading syllabus forms the basis of all gradings above and needs to be executed with the correct techniques, form, stances, effort and strength. Every category Kata, Kihon and Kumite need to be performed exceptionally.

At Solis Ortus we believe in preparing ourselves to the point of it becoming second nature, always striving to perfect  techniques.  We understand that hard work and effort  will determine our fate on the day of grading.  As part of a dojo with a great history, producing many champions, we are extremely proud of our heritage and will always aim to do our best, doing justice to our dojo and validating the heart and soul invested by our Sensei, Eugene. “Practise makes perfect.”

Pre-grading on Saturday consisted of Shodan syllabus, regardless of what black belt level you will grade to. Reason being  that the Shodan grading syllabus forms the basis of all higher gradings and need to be executed with the correct techniques, ie. form, stances, effort and strength. Every category, Kata, Kihon and Kumite need to be performed exceptionally.

Sensei Johan le Grange, Rokudan (6th Dan) and the Chief Instructor of SA JKA, wants South Africa to be of the highest quality, with gradings being strict as these gradings produce future instructors.

Lilian Mynhardt and Liam van Rooyen, have six months to their proposed 2nd Dan (Nidan) grading, May 2018. The rest of us, Sandy Verreyne, Heilethe Calitz & Stephanie Kugel, propose to do said grading towards end 2018. To achieve our individual goals we realise that extensive and intensive training of all that we have learnt, old and new, will have to be undertaken.

By extending our knowledge and qualifications we aim to enhance the training given to all our students.

• Be proud, but be humble
• Work on your strengths, but be aware of your weaknesses
• Stay motivated
• Stay focusses
• Be fit
• Enjoy
• Never give up

Good luck to everyone preparing for their Black belt grading.

“Don’t fear moving slowly forward. Fear standing still.” USSD Woodbridge
Written by: Heilethe Calitz

Solis Ortus Grading 3 June 2017

At last our first Grading for the year was a huge success. To all the students who have graded, well done. You came prepared and really excelled through your grading. The panel had all extremes of emotions with many surprises and pride.

The minis (3-5 years) arrived 6:30 in the morning, looking bravely in their Eskimo jackets, socks and beanie’s full of smiles and eagerness. You are the little stars that show real character and spirit. Solis Ortus is really proud to have such well-behaved and disciplined mini karatekas. From there on the day greeted the rest of karatekas with sunshine and the smell of coffee.

Well done to everyone, you showed what influence karate has in your lives not only as an individual but also in the responsibility of being a karateka. You have grown so much and Sensei Eugene and the Instructors are very proud of each and every one of you. We as a team are looking forward to your next chapter in karate especially with your new belt.

Always be proud as a karateka, frame your achievements, build on the memories and become the best you can be. Stay humble, but proud. Without knowing it, you have learnt so many life skills in karate that you can take throughout your life and become whatever you desire one day as an adult.

To the adults, you conform to so many new abilities and above all a better healthy lifestyle. Well done.

To all the parents, karatekas, runners and Instructors, thank you so much for helping Solis Ortus making this day a success.

One way, JKA! Solis Ortus the karate way!

Written: Heilethe Calitz

A new journey has begun…

For many, the opportunity to become a ‘Black-belt’ still holds great allure, and achieving the rank is seen to be the first pinnacle of the karate journey. For many beginners, it is a goal set in their minds when they first enter the dojo.

Becoming a Black Belt is not only to go through the ranks and get it. No, it is a desire, a lot of compromises, hard work, sacrifices, sense of purpose, wisdom, perseverance and most of all determination. There are great misconceptions when this is your only karate goal. Many think this is the highest they can get. But this is when karate only starts. All the coloured belts you have achieved are only the preparation to actually start your karate journey.

A new journey has begun for two Solis Ortus karatekas who achieved their Shodan in May 2017. Josh and Estiaan, congratulations, well deserved.  You have worked so hard with determination and perseverance, dedication, constant preparation to reap such honourable rewards. Solis Ortus welcomes you as Shodans entering your new exciting karate journey as 1st Black Belts.

From now on you will understand the meaning of the 5 maxims in Japanese and feel a shiver down your spine. You will feel proud to be a karateka and have to pinch yourself when you look down and realise you wear a Black Belt around your waste. It will take time to get used to it, because the honour will humble you.

A quote by Renzo Gracie describes it best: “A black belt is a white belt who never quits!” this speaks of character.

Then suddenly reality will kicks in and you realise you know nothing. Never stop your karate journey even if you think that you have achieved your highest goal. Don’t be part of the statistics of “1-2 of every 100 students reach Black Belt and those only 1 out of every 1 000 achieves 2nd Dan”. Mas Oyama


Written by: Heilethe Calitz

2016 November Grading

“Grading, 26 November.  Remember to practice your kata’s at home and good luck for your grading!  Oss!!”  These were Sensei Eugene and Sempai Lilian’s final words of advice to each class, over the last few weeks or so.

Well grading day, 26 November, has come and gone and all indications are that the students took Sensei’s advice and practiced, practiced, practiced!!

Each and every student, from the young to the ‘no so young’, from the junior belts to the senior belts, gave their best effort on the day!  More than that, could not be asked for and the proof is in the grading results!  Congratulations to each and every student who passed their grading and have now moved on to the next chapter of their Karate experience.   It is important to continue to enjoy your karate and to still “practice your kata’s at home”!!

As we all know, Sensei Eugene runs a tight ship and true to form, grading day ran smoothly and as per the time schedule communicated to all students and parents.  This is by no means an easy feat as the various grading groups are becoming larger with each grading.

Thank you to each and every parent and student alike for ensuring that they arrived at the Dojo on time and dressed in the correct grading attire.  It was only with the co-operation of our students and parent alike that grading day ran as smoothly and as successfully it did.

A word of thanks too to the Solis Ortus Grading panel.  The panel consists of the senior Karateka (black belts) of the club and we appreciate their time and effort spent in helping, guiding and encouraging the students on the day.

To each of Sensei Eugene’s assistant instructors  ….. a heartfelt “thank you!”  The amount of effort, dedication, attention to detail and patience you put in to preparing the students for their grading does not go unnoticed.   Your commitment to each and every class for the sake of the students is highly appreciated!  Thank you for ‘giving back’ to the club, and for all your efforts towards molding the youngsters into becoming the club’s future top class seniors!

Just as Sensei is very proud of all his students, each student can stand tall and say that earned their belt by means of hard work, sweat and lots of practice (and sometimes tears too).   Solis Ortus is indeed the best club in the province and we have the students to prove it!!



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National Grading – 15 October 2016

The Journey to Shodan;  1st Dan; Black Belt

(written by Sandy Verreyne)

You walk into this dojo, everything is strange and you are in awe of the black belts, the seniors, the “giants” who teach you how to move, how to stand, discipline, respect and ethics.  Your jaw is on the ground and you wonder if and when you will be where they are now.  You put your white belt on and your karate journey starts!

Each of our journeys are different.  Some of us started karate at a young age, stopped mid-teens and only returned to the dojo many years later. Some started karate in their mid-teens and have persevered through all the obstacles you face as a teenager.  A few came from other dojos seeking something else, something better and others only started in their thirties, or forties and are now the inspiration to so many of us.

2016 delivered the first ever group of 10 Solis Ortus students to attempt their Shodan grading.  Grading is scheduled for Saturday, 15 October 2016.  As the group is too big to train during our normal class times, our sensei graciously gives up his time to teach us at his home.  And so the Saturday morning early trainings sessions are booked and we get split into 2 groups.

Saturday, 2 July 2016 is a cold, very cold, winter’s morning.  The sun is out at 7 when the first group starts with their intense technical training and preparations for Shodan.  We start with the technicalities of a kekomi geri.  We concentrate more on the cold that cuts through our gis and jackets than we do on the kick itself.  The whole group spent about 2 months perfecting the kekomi geri and it was worth every pick up, butt cramp and tired legs!!!

Two weeks prior to grading we dig deep and we put all our efforts into perfecting everything.  We train 4 times a week and we work together as a group.  We are united in our effort to make it to the top and make our dojo and sensei proud.

This group of 10 consists of a variety of people.  4 females and 6 males.  The females range from 15 to 52 years of age and the males 15 – 54 years of age.  We all have the same collective goal that we are working for, but for each this goal means something else.  We all deal with different life issues and we do the best we can to prepare for grading.

Saturday 15 October 2016 came way too soon.  Are we ready?  Yes we are!  Are we nervous?  You can bet your auntie we are!  We start the day with a 3 hour pre-grading course from 09:00 – 12:00.  We have a 45 minute lunch and then we start the grading.  A group of approximately 50 student from all over the country are grading to shodan and get called out in groups of 4.  They start with the youngest and work their way up from there.  On the panel is some of our idols and our own Sensei Eugene is leading the grading, so you definitely want to give it more than your absolute best.

Out of our group of 10, three of our fellow karatekas sadly did not pass the grading.  Luckily, the door to your shodan never closes after a fail because we will all stand behind them again when they attempt the grading in May 2017.   And their silver lining in this situation is that they already know it all and they know what is expected of them, now they have ample time to perfect every movement, placing of the foot and distance of the punch!

Out of our group of 10, seven successfully graded to Shodan.  Congratulations guys, now our real training starts.

When you put on your white belt your journey starts, yet, so we all thought.  But then we get to wear our black belts and we know that the journey only starts now.  All that we thought we knew, we now know that it was only the tip of an enormous ice berg.  Now we have the opportunity to really learn, to be taught by our countries best and occasionally attend a seminar hosted by Japan’s best.

Thank you Solis Ortus for providing the space to grow.  Thank you Sensei Eugene for sharing all your knowledge with us and giving us the tools to succeed.  Thank you to our families and friends and fellow karatekas for motivating us, believing in us and supporting us.

ONE WAY ….JKA!!!!!


First grading for 2016 – Saturday, 4 June

As preparation for this grading, and as a motivation mechanism, we took away the students’ belts and “downgraded” them if they did not know their previous katas.  Together with this method we provided them with the opportunity to claim back their original belts during the next class by showing us that they knew their katas.  Some students were not happy with this arrangement, but I had the backing of all my karate parents and this method proved to work.  Together with this method, everybody worked really hard and with repetition, repetition and some more repetition we had a great and successful grading day on Saturday, 4 June 2016.

Each karateka did their best, and that is all I ever ask of you.  Do your best and have fun.  I see a new found confidence in everybody wearing their new belts to class.  I want you to remember how you feel now, after grading, after grading successfully and moving up another belt level.  In karate the hard work is never over, but the rewards are so exhilarating.  Enjoy every moment.


Wriiten by – Sandy Verreyne


Luke Pieters – Shodan

In Jan 2008, Luke started with karate at the age of 8 (gr 3). It feels so long ago, I cannot even remember how it came about or why we ended up at Solis Ortus. So glad that we did! From the very start it was obvious that he was enjoying it and it looked like he had a natural feel for it. At that age most kids struggle to sit still or concentrate for more than 10 minutes, so you wonder how is your child going to remember all the kata moves and stances and the Japanese words for everything. But he found his focus, quickly adapted to the discipline required and progressed quickly – always very proud to receive his next belt! Always supported and encouraged by sensei Eugene and the club.

Through the years we saw the club grow in numbers and achievements, and so did Luke’s confidence levels and skill. This confidence not only became visible in the dojo, but in all aspects of his life.  Any activity or sport that can do that for a child is worth the time, effort and money that we as parents need to contribute.

Of course there were times when that black belt seemed too far away, and quitting seemed easier. Then it took a little extra encouragement from mom, dad and sensei to keep going and to remind you that you are working for something that not many will achieve in the end.

This year, on October 24th it was grading day! After 8+ years of training, Luke, Ruan and Karl got their chance to go for Shodan. Although the nerves were a bit on edge, (well, mostly the parents’ nerves) the boys were confident and well prepared. They knew that sensei would not send them to grade if they were not ready. And they did it with distinction!

Boys, stand proud – if you can achieve this, there is not much in life you cannot tackle head on!

Successfull International Grading Journey

For 3 – 5 months there has been plenty preparation in our dojo for end of the year gradings.  Most of us still have to face our grading “demons” but for two of our mentors, this moment came all to soon.  On Thursday, 24 September 2015 Sensei Eugene Oosthuizen successfully graded to GODAN (5th Dan) and Sandra Erasmus successfully graded to SANDAN(3rd Dan) in front of the Japanese Panel.

As I am personally involved with both these individuals, I want to give you a glimse of their grading journey through my eyes!

Sandra is not just an inspiration, she is my friend and training partner.  She trains hard!  At the tender age of 20 she started preparing for her 3rd Dan with effort and determination.  Sandra is always friendly but very strict when it comes to her training.  During the week of the training Sandra became very quiet and reserved.  Her mom, Claudette, also informed me that she is not asking her to many questions as she does not want to rock the boat.  To get her mindset on the right track, Sandra spent the days following up to grading, with her beloved horses.  I personally think this is where she draws most of her positive energy.  On grading day I met Claudette at the venue.  We chatted, ate rusks, read our books…..well if you call reading the same page 5 times, reading.  As the panel members came out for their breaks we would get some news of the grading in general, but never was the news enough for our nerves to calm down.  Its 2 in the afternoon, we have been there since 8 – and still no news.

Sensei Eugene was one nervous wreck.  Not only was he preparing for grading, he was also putting together a demo for the African Cup which had to be showcased 2 days after grading.  In the afternoons we would film his Katas and go through his theory.  For those of you who know Eugene well, he is anal when it comes to technique and even harder on himself.  Kicks must be perfect, hand and blocks must be perfectly centred, stances not to wide but wide enough to show good posture.  Over and over we did the katas, video after video, numerous photos to pin point the “problem” areas, stress, anger, more stress until we had a breakthrough the Wednesday before the grading.  Eugene admitted that he knows that he is allowed to fail, but that he is scared to fail.  He does not want to let himself down, me down, his student and their parents down, but he knows that it will not be the end of the world if he fails and that he will have another opportunity to try.

At 2 Claudette and I decided to go pack all our stuff in the car and go wait outside the hall.  The Shodan graders were moving in and out and we got a glimpse of Sensei Eugene sitting next to the table where the panel was seated.  At that stage, the 6th and 7th Dan graders were using him as their “punching bag” for their grading.  Sandra was nowhere to be seen, but we knew he results were not made public yet.  At long last they started the line up and after, what felt like forever (I almost chewed right through my acrylic gel nails) Eugene came out with the biggest, most beautiful proud smile and gave us the good news.  Tears, just tears of happiness and relieve.  Thank heavens for his achievement.  Sandra, no results yet.  They are not revealing the Sandan results as they need these karatekas to fight for those doing their judges course.  Oi, Sandra is already bruised, tired and has a massive headache.  But, eager as ever, she is first in line to fight and at the end she even fights a boy and she wins!!!  Duh, it’s our Sandra we are talking about.

By now we are reaching 6 in the evening and they call the final line up. Sandra is successful and now a very tired and bruised Sandan(however, I am sure has recovered by now)

All and all a very successful day for our two Mentors.  They didn’t just pass their gradings, they grew in character and showed me what can be achieved.  Sensei Eugene also passed his Examiner, Judging and Instructor’s exams.

Here’s to my friend and my partner in life – OSS!

Written by Sandy Verreyne

Shodan Grading – March 2015 – We did it!

This may very well be one of the most mentally and physically challenging things you’ll ever do. It’s usually over in 15 minutes, but it takes months and even years of (often) blood, (always) sweat and (sometimes) tears to complete successfully.

I’m talking about your Shodan Grading!

This past weekend, the 14th of March 2015 to be exact, four from the Solis Ortus family were assessed and awarded with their Shodan or 1st Dan:

Marcel Wouda, Dewald Bekker, Liam van Rooyen and Morney Plescia.

Shodan Grading - March 2015 in-front: Sensei Eugene Oosthuizen right-to-left: Dewald Bekker, Liam van Rooyen, Marcel Wouda, Morney Plescia
Shodan Grading – March 2015
In-front: Sensei Eugene Oosthuizen
Right-to-left: Dewald Bekker, Liam van Rooyen, Marcel Wouda, Morney Plescia


This post is brief description of the run-up and the actual grading from a personal point of view – I hope it gives future Shodan candidates an idea of what to look forward to and work towards.

Continue reading Shodan Grading – March 2015 – We did it!