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Regarding the renewed, more grave, xenophobic violence rocking major cities of the land at the moment, on the ground, enlightened and critically thinking South Africans know that there is more to South Africans’ apparent envy over foreign nationals’ business acumen, as well as their apparent resultant financial success. There aren’t many social interaction spaces as revelatory of the true colours of individual and collective human behaviour and attitudes as in places of trade, market places. It’s only natural, therefore, that when shit hits the fan, as is the case with the current xenophobic hassle in South Africa, it will be in and around retail business outlets … (Continued in the book: “MACHONA AWAKENING – home in grey matter”. Order book on Amazon).
April 18, 2015
FORWARD TO THE ROOTS
To mark my resumption of Karate teaching after a 2 ½ years’ semi-retirement, I take the liberty of reproducing an edited version of an interview I had with what are considered to be, in Karate terms, my Karate grandchildren in Zimbabwe. It is worth noting that my comeback is done in Welkom, the city of my birth in South Africa. This is where the adventure began.
BM: We are excited to be interviewing Simon Chilembo, Sensei, as a known pioneer of Seidokan back in the day. We hope to patch in some history that has been hazy, and we are grateful to people like Simon Sensei, who in many ways were responsible for linking Zimbabweans to Stephen Chan, Sensei, and responsible for shaping Jindokai as we know it today
1.BM. Sensei, many thanks for agreeing to this interview. We hope that we can go back with you in time. Please tell us how Sammy Chilembo was drawn to Martial Arts, and when this happened?
SC: I have always fought. First, as a smaller than average, sharp-tongued child protecting myself from others making my life difficult in various ways.
Second, defending myself as a mobbing victim, given my sudden growth in body weight and size from near pubescence to early teens.
Third, protecting my two siblings and myself against xenophobic and tribal inspired verbal and physical abuse arising from our father’s non-South African origin. There were also some direct responses to racial abuse and attacks in the then Apartheid South Africa.
I first started with Boxing from about age five. Christmas holidays 1971, in a street fight, I’m warned that someone was about to throw a stone at me from behind. I turn around to find, a few meters away, the boy raising his right arm to effect the throw.
Without thinking of it, I ran perhaps five steps and then flew on to the boy, kicking him with my right leg square in the face before he could throw the stone. Years later I’d understand that I had then performed something similar to a Tobi Yoko Geri.
Afterwards, people kept asking me where I trained Judo. I didn’t know what they were talking about; so I kept saying it was secret! It was during my ensuing investigations about Judo that I, a few months later, discovered James Bond. An older guy told me that Bond was a Karate expert, and there and then I knew I wanted to train Karate so as to be cool like Agent 007.
2.BM.Your first formal Karate, was this under Seidokan? When did you meet Chan Sensei?
SC: Although I now know that that the guy hadn’t gone very far in his Karate training then, I like to acknowledge Lefty as having been the first-ever person to give me a formal Karate training session sometime in 1972. Lefty was one of the few older guys really nice to me in our township in Welkom, South Africa.
He taught me Heisoku Dachi, Oyoi, Rei, and Hachi Dachi. Other than that I do not recall what exercises we did. But there sure was a lot of pain and sweat. And Lefty said one thing I never forget, “The most important thing in Karate is respect!” When I look back I think he could have meant “humility”.
I first met Chan Sensei in early 1981.
3.BM. How did Sedokan end up being such a force in Zambia, and later on Zimbabwe? Who introduced Seidokan in Zimbabwe?
SC: Regarding Zambia, my view is that at a very critical point in time we find at UNZA a spontaneous student convergence of the best and most promising Karateka in the country in the late 1970s to the mid-1980s. Then, at about the same time enters the scene an unusual Chinese Sensei Chan from New Zealand.
Sensei Chan’s style, approach, and attitude are like nothing we had ever seen before; very generous, very patient and tolerant, open, and inclusive, as well as innovative.
Sensei Chan subtly broke all rules of everything we thought we knew about fitness training, and all of the basics, kata, and kumite training. From this, we emerged with a new style of fighting, which was more mobile with more circular and spinning techniques, including takedowns.
At the same time we were all allowed to maintain and develop further our own individualities, such that it was difficult for opposing teams to find workable strategies against us who stood strong as a team, and yet performed so very differently individually. Respecting and developing further the uniqueness of the individual within the confines of certain specific techniques and methods has been a trait upheld since.
The late Jimmy Mavenge introduced Seidokan in Zimbabwe. Working then against very strong forces in Zambia, I facilitated this. When I heard that Zimbabwean Karate was represented in the World Championships 2012, I celebrated quietly, and thought, “You made it, Jimmy!” This is how it all started (excerpt from earlier correspondence to a friend):
[One Sunday morning early 1983, a BMW 5 series parks outside my home in Lusaka; and out comes the biggest and ugliest man I ever saw. Upon seeing me his face lit up brighter than the happiest baby face I ever saw… Although I had never met or heard of this man before, he spoke to me like we were like the oldest of friends (he had done some good research on me apparently). And, to be honest, Jimmy had enough charisma to kill the biggest elephant.
After introducing himself: Jimmy Mavenge, Green Belt holder, First Secretary at the Zim High Commission in Lusaka, on a 3 year tour of duty, he went on something like, “Zimbabwe Karate is polarized and racist. I want to change all that when I get back. Black people don’t go above Green Belt there; and I want to take Karate to the poorest of children in my country. You have to help me with this. I’m willing to pay you generously if you can give me a crash-training programme so I can return to Zimbabwe with a Black Belt. I am willing to work and train every day, I’ll do anything you want me to…!”
I remember my jaws sagging, my eyes bulging, with me saying a low key “Wowww…ohhhh…. ok, let’s do it!” I told him though that given the magnitude of the ambition, we had to this properly by engaging the then Zambia Seidokan…]
Unfortunately we initially received neither understanding nor support from the others. Only because both Jimmy and I were both mad thickheads, we unilaterally went ahead with the project any way, getting a lot of battering along the way. Rest is history; speaks for itself.
4.BM. Taking you back in the day, who were some of the young men you trained with? You being a champion back in the day, who was your most difficult opponent?
SC: When it came to kumite I was my own toughest opponent because I was just too strong and temperamental. With a history of disqualifications and injuries both inflicted upon my opponents, with me getting my own share, I do not have an impressive competition kumite record. Kata was, and still is my thing. I must mention though that, in my opinion, Lemmy Ngambi (late) was the most formidable fighter we had in Zambia during my time … (Continued in the book: “MACHONA BLOGS – As I See It”. Order Simon Chilembo books on Amazon)
January 19, 2014
My Strength, MY Power
COOL Coaching®’s journeys of Self-Discovery, Self-Knowledge, Self-Renewal, and Self-Reinvention are not only about stimulating or rekindling creativity and innovation today for constantly better tomorrows. They are also about retrieving, and applying, from your fundamental life education those experiences that lay the foundation for the SuperStarInYou® that you have grown up to be today.
Thursday morning (22/ 11-2012) I crossed a threshold by unexpectedly overcoming a physical handicap due to a long-standing medical condition impeding execution of certain movements relative to heavy and intensive physical exercise workouts. In my elation, the COOL Coaching® Successful Living Through Magic and Wonder® flash came through. Then I realized that since I embarked on a new training routine at the end of June 2012 after a first ever six months’ pause, the words of my Karate teacher, Professor Stephen Chan, 9 Dan, OBE, have been ringing in my head everyday, “The academic mind is a mind of structure, Semmy … Go and read TS Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions!”(Greece, December 1985)
So were also the words of one of my first ever Karate Sensei, Anver Bey, Sho Dan, a year or two later, “Semmy, you must train with an open mind. You must also read a lot. The more you read the more you’ll find that no one has monopoly on knowledge of how to train, and how to live in general. When you know, nothing and no one can fuck with your training and your life”. During my later years in Lusaka, Anver and I grew to be very close friends, and he taught me a lot of things about life and training. The news of his passing on years ago truly broke my heart. He invariably visits me each time I do power training in the gym though.
I do not recall to have ever trained so patiently and systematically before; paying particular attention to, and respecting, my moods and feelings from day to day. The latter have a bearing as to how strong and enthusiastic I’ll get about things. The structure of my training since I started to train with conscious and clearly defined desirable outcomes since I was 4½ years old has been in relation to three important external factors: Self-protection, Competition, and Leadership (as at age 17 years I started to teach Karate and lead my own groups, and subsequently my own clubs in Norway). Both as practitioner and teacher of Karate I simply had to be stronger and better than anyone else. Nothing else mattered, just I glossed in the glory of my personal victories and successes, as well as those of my students. This was very important for my ego; given my constant struggle against outsider/underdog prejudices directed towards my person everywhere I go.
These days I train alone, for myself, by myself. Renewing my Mind, Body, and Soul according to fundamentals of my teachers’ teachings of my once young, wild, and (still) mad me. It’s a new way to work directing my strength and power first and foremost into myself. The older paradigm by which I worked was to primarily think about how to project my strength and power out to the world as intensely as possible. Waste of time and energy. I’m free. It feels good to know and understand that I own my strength and my power inside. So, I can from the outset do with my Mind, Body, and Soul only the things that make sense to me. My self-reinvention visions have never been more vivid, modelled after what I see and feel inside of me for myself alone. I now know that this is the essence of my education in the fundamentals of life and living by all my teachers so far. Thanks to COOL Coaching®’s journeys of Self-Discovery, Self-Knowledge, Self-Renewal, and Self-Reinvention. My life gets better all the time.
November 24, 2012
Tel.: +47 97000488/ +27 717 454 115 (South Africa)
ENERVITAL is my multifaceted Health & Wellness brand comprising:
- Chilembo Nordic Chi massasje®
- COOL Coaching®/ NLP
My goal at ENERVITAL is to help people attain their optimal state of health to enable them realize the most optimal wealth creation potential for both themselves as individuals, as well as their work/ business enterprises. In the perfect world my mind sees, healthy and wealthy people create and lead healthy and wealthy organizations and institutions. These form the basis for healthy and wealthy nations of abundance, where all have their basic needs and wants plus more are perpetually satisfied. On the grander scale of thought, health and wealth are means to world peace attainment.
In the perfect world my mind’s sees I define wealth as follows:
- WEALTH: Sustainable long-term state of resourcefulness.
– Resourcefulness: Boundless creative ability and innovative capacity.
Resourceful people will always find solutions to challenges; and they will always find new and better, more efficient, and more effective ways of doing things. This translates to higher productivity, functional and rational use, as well as allocation of resources. When all is said and done, the rewards then are higher profits for business, higher returns on investment, and higher remunerations for the workers, as well as greater revenue generation for the state. And voilà, all live happily ever after!
It goes without saying therefore that my ENERVITAL Healthy & Wealthy People® will be at the top of the food chain. Given their abundant creative and innovative energy, as well as capacity catalyzed by what I do at ENERVITAL, these people make things happen; they are not made by things, and are rewarded accordingly across the board. In (the) community many of these people are generous, considerate, and kind; they have strong philanthropic engagements in many parts of the world.
If you also want to be healthy and wealthy, so you can have the necessary strength and endurance to help make this a better place for yourself and others to live to the fullest creative and innovative potential, come to ENERVITAL!
My dream: Peace on earth. All are healthy and wealthy. Abundance is real, equitable.
Tel.: +47 97000488/ +27 717454115 (South Africa)
July 09, 2012