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ZAMBIAN KARATE HISTORY PROFILE: Professor Stephen Chan, OBE, 9th Dan

STEPHEN CHAN’S PIONEERING ROLE IN ZAMBIAN KARATE
Accomplishments and Impact in the Transformation of Martial Arts Culture

NOTES:

  • This article is in response to a request by my friend and Martial Arts brother, Raymond Mbazima, Sensei, in June 2016, “Could you do a write-up of Professor Stephen Chan Sensei’s Pioneering Role in Zambia – in particular what he accomplished and his impact in the transformation of martial arts culture?”
  • The article is an honest account of events as best as my memory serves me. I must apologize in advance for any inaccuracies, or misunderstandings that might arise. The names of the various people mentioned in the article are done so with but only respect and the fondest of memories. I’ll be failing if I didn’t acknowledge many of them as having helped mould the kind of man I am today, both inside and outside the dojo. None of them is directly responsible for my madness, though.
  • Regarding the main subject of the article, Stephen Chan, the tone the article has taken is as it emerged from my heart, without fear or favour. That, in line with how my mind has interpreted the execution of his Martial Arts teacher and Godfather role towards me over the years; in four countries, Zambia, UK, Norway, and South Africa.
    I have never felt that Stephen was compelled to work with me, neither have I ever felt that I was unduly expected to feel indebted to him for all that he has done for me. Therefore, I am under no obligation, I have no pressing need to aspire to sanctify, or flatter him. There is nothing egotistical to gain, nor intended to.
    All this I shall summarize in Stephen’s own words in a correspondence pertaining to the article, “I do hope it is a lot more to do with mutual respect and camaraderie. I always pitched in with you on the floor – so we all suffered together.”

    SteSi

    ©Simon Chilembo 2017 Photo: Cynthia Reynolds

The article here initially covers the years 1981-85, a period of my first ever direct observation of Stephen’s physical presence, and martial arts work in Zambia. It will partially describe my personal experience of training and studying Karate with him as my Sensei at the UNZA Karate Club (UKC) in Lusaka. Little did I ever think then that thirty-five years on, the special student-master relationship would still be going strong; not only with me, but with many others of my generation the world over.

Following Stephen’s footsteps as a diverse collective spread across many parts of the world, the at least five generations of top-flight Karateka my contemporaries and I have produced continue to grow and benefit from his profound knowledge of, and love for the Martial Arts. Above all, perhaps, his broader love for, and service to humanity through his exemplary professional work and career continue to inspire many of us.

Secondly, the years 1986-88 are, in my opinion and personal experience, the period in which the relevance of Stephen’s impact on me would be tested to the limit. It would also test the unity and commonality of purpose in the then Seidokan Zambia core group he had developed at UKC.

Furthermore, this period would, by extension, define whether Stephen’s legacy in Zambian Karate would live on or not. I dare say that the modern Jindokai Zambia/ Zimbabwe family we have today can trace their roots to specifically that period. Had we at UKC failed to keep it together during those two years, the Zambian martial arts scene would have swallowed up Stephen Chan’s legacy for good, I am convinced.

It may be safe to say that Stephen’s work in the wider martial arts fraternity, within and outside the then Zambia Karate Federation (ZKF)’s framework, raised awareness of, and interest in the arts to unprecedented levels in the country. The man was, after all, the nearest living thing to Bruce Lee the people ever saw, came close to, touched, and spoke to.

Stephen made a striking presence on Television Zambia (TVZ)’s Sports Review shows, speaking, as Dennis Liwewe once said, “… fantabulous, beautiful English, indeed!”
The late Dennis Liwewe became a legend already in his own time as a passionate radio and TV sports commentator. If President Kaunda was Zambia’s football number one fan, Dennis Liwewe was in a class of his own as maestro supremo football commentator … (Continued in the book: MACHONA BLOGS – As I See It. Order Simon Chilembo books on Amazon)


Simon Chilembo, 6th Dan
Welkom
South Africa
Tel.: +47 92525032
June 16, 2016

FOR SYRIAN WAR CHILDREN: A POEM

CANNOT BE RIGHT

WTMFblg

Buy book on link. All rights reserved. Simon Chilembo, 2016.

At this very moment
In Aleppo City of Syria
Putin’s bombs
Have just rained down
In claimed pursuit of Daesh
Little Sarah’s body
Is shred to pieces
Little Abdullah’s body
Is by waves of fire
Charred to ashes
And goes up
With smoke and bloody dusts of war
Parents wanting
To believe
It’s all hallucinations
Curse Allah
If this is his willing
Then
He’s not so great anymore
May the next bomb
Land on us
Insha’Allah
Please, please, please
Allahu Akbar
They with soundless voices
Wail in agonized helplessness
With tearless ducts like Madiba’s
Wishing there were
Wi-Fi broadband to Allah

At this very moment
Little Maryam
And
Little Mustafa
Clutched
In parents’ arms
Are searching
In vain
For Western freedom and peace
At the bed
Of the Mediterranean Sea
Dead
The bombs had missed them
So
Allah’s willing
Overloaded their escape boat
It capsized
They failed
To breathe under water
More horrified by
The sound of
Tonnes of sea water
Pressing densely into their ears
Than any bombing’s
It’s just as well
There’s no
Wi-Fi broadband to God

Ever cried under water

At this very moment
I cry with grief
‘Cause I’m broke
As in Bankrupt
Valentine’s Day tomorrow
I’ll lose yet another woman I love
‘Cause I don’t have any money
To call her on the phone
Let alone
Buy her a romantic present
I don’t have money
To call my mother
To say, ‘I love you!’
For like to Allah
There’s no
Wi-Fi broadband into my father’s grave
If I had money
I’d call my younger father
To also say, ‘I love you, Dad!’
I’m wearing
Old, faded, tattered clothes
On my body
‘Cause I haven’t had any money
To buy new clothes
Since
The start of
The Syrian war
At that time
Somebody said to me
Tsk, tsk, tsk, ignorant you
Conflict is healthy
Conflict is the essence of human progress
And I said to him
Does Assad really think
He’ll ever crush the opposition
The ill-informed wise man
Told me
I’m a fool
So, it’s okay
I can stay broke
Till there are
No more people
Till there’s nothing left
To genocide for
In Syria
So much
For conflict
For human progress

At this very moment
I cry Europe
Little Farrah
And
Little Ali
Have defied the bombs
Have defied the seas
Have arrived alive
At your shores
Show them what humanity is all about
Independent of what Allah wills
It can’t be right
To deny them
The sweet taste of
Liberty and peace
It can’t be right
That I stand here
And cry for money
For telephones and new clothes
When
Little Maryams
And
Little Mustafas
Clutched
In parents’ arms
Cry for life
At the bottom
Of the sea

At this very moment
I cry for hope
Fuck the money
Fuck the war
God
Amen

END
©Simon Chilembo, 13/ 02- 2016

SIMON CHILEMBO
Riebeeckstad
Welkom
South Africa
Tel.: +4792525032
February 13, 2016

38 YEARS AN EXILE: XXXII

HOME AT LAST! Part 32

BETRAYAL IN THE DIASPORA

WTMFblg

All rights reserved. Simon Chilembo, 2015

I do not know José Mourinho personally. I would be very surprised if he would ever be interested in knowing whether I exist or not. We live in such divergent worlds, miles upon miles apart. I refer to him here only for the one reason that his recent fall from glory and grace finally brought it on home to me that, as leaders, makers, as well as movers of men and women, when the mighty fall, there is one common thread connecting them all, … That common thread is betrayal. Jesus was betrayed to the cross by one of his disciples, Judas. His Chief Disciple, Peter, would disown him three times at the very last minute. But I won’t go there … (Continued in the book: “MACHONA AWAKENING – home in grey matter”. Order other books on Amazon here).

Simon Chilembo
Riebeeckstad
Welkom
South Africa
Tel.: +4792525032
December 29, 2015

38 YEARS AN EXILE: XXX

HOME AT LAST! Part 30
OWN TURF IN THE DIASPORA

SONY DSC

Simon Chilembo. All rights reserved, 2015

Because I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth, the notion that I must be happy with what I have here and now, no matter how little, was ingrained in my head from a very early age. If I could get more by doing what is acknowledged as good and acceptable practices, well and good. However, if it doesn’t work, too bad. Try something, or go for something else, and/ or simply wait.

Waiting never meant for me to just rest on my laurels, hoping for some miracle to happen for the more of that which I want to materialize somehow, without any effort from me, though. If I have to pray, it will be more to introspect and find peace of mind so I can think more clearly, but not for God to deliver it all for free just because I believe in her … (Continued in the book: MACHONA AWAKENING – home in grey matter. Order book on Amazon).


Simon Chilembo
Riebeeckstad
Welkom
South Africa
Telephone: +4792525032
November 23, 2015 (more…)

38 YEARS AN EXILE: XXV

HOME AT LAST! Part 25
COMMUNITY SERVICE – Diasporant’s Payback Time

Simon Chilembo, Founder/ President/ CEO, Chilembo Media PromotionsComing back home to Mamma, July 01, 2013, I was a broken man. Tired both physically and mentally, emotionally torn, bitter at my vain enemies and ill-wishers, overwhelmed by betrayals, over-burdened by failed business in rough economic times, and looming personal bankruptcy, I found it prudent to let it all go.

I was not ready to die yet. If and when my dying day finally comes, I will be standing on the battle ground like a true Warrior, having accomplished my mission on earth. All I needed was a time-out to realign my thoughts, my feelings, and my visions; I needed to revise my values, and put my faith to test by exposing myself to temptation. Evil has yet to conquer, if ever … (Continued in the book: “MACHONA AWAKENING – home in grey matter”. Order book on Amazon). 

Simon Chilembo
Welkom
South Africa
July 05, 2015

38 YEARS AN EXILE: XIV

HOME AT LAST! Part 14
DIASPORA SCUMBAGS

©Simon Chilembo, 2014

©Simon Chilembo, 2014

The worst thing any Diasporants can carry with them in their luggage is the superiority complex attitude, as manifest through racial, religious, and cultural arrogance from their lands of origin. More so if it is, in the first place, racial, religious, and cultural persecutions they have ran away from. We put what we put in each our own different luggage when time to say goodbye has arrived. But not all will be useful when we get to our final, often chance, destinations with promises of a brighter future. Sometimes not even a single item in the luggage will be useful at all. Herein lies the difference between winner and loser Diasporants in time … (Continued in the book: “MACHONA AWAKENING – home in grey matter”. Order book on Amazon).

Simon Chilembo
Riebeeckstad
Welkom
South Africa
Tel.: +47 92525032
January 21, 2015

38 YEARS AN EXILE: XIII

HOME AT LAST! Part 13
BRAIN DRAIN

By its very nature, life is, and has to be hard. Life is by design brutal and short. The world is an ugly place to be. It is an inherent feature of the world that evil forces will prevail everywhere, relatively more in specific areas of the world than others, in different epochs.

Nelson Mandela, PresidentThe brain is by default and function, the antithesis of all that is abhorrent by way of human behaviour, as well as state of the world and being. The brain will, by inclination, gravitate towards all that is good and beautiful. All things remaining equal, a normally functioning and cultured brain will, as a spontaneous process, seek to create and sustain beauty and well-being against all that is anti-life, all that is anti everything that is beautiful, uplifting, and life supporting. The brain will defy pain and death in pursuit of freedom in the name of beauty and happiness, including the right to enhance the development of these … (Continued in the book: MACHONA AWAKENING – home in grey matter. Order book on Amazon).

 

Simon Chilembo
Riebeeckstad
Welkom
South Africa
December 20, 2014