Get your kicks here!


ECSR and Rhodes Instructors pictured with international instructor, André Bertel Sensei (Front row centre) at his 2019 Seminar in South Africa . Bertel Sensei lives in Oita City, Japan and will be returning to SA in 2021 as a guest of ECSR and USR.

We share with you the next in our series on sports clubs in Makhanda that are open for members of the public to join.

East Cape Shotokan-Ryu (ECSR) Karate comprises clubs in Makhanda, Port Alfred, Kenton on Sea and at Rhodes University. ECSR also holds strong links to Joza Karate Club in Makhanda and oversees the community-based Alicedale Karate Project. Membership includes children and teenagers as well as a large and diverse contingent of adult karateka of all ages.

Karate is much more than another physical activity in a myriad sports and extra-mural activities offered by schools and clubs: it is a discipline for mind and body and benefits children and adults of all ages and body types, says Sensei Gary Grapentin.

“Apart from equipping the practitioner with vital self-defence skills, consistent practice strengthens the entire body, increases flexibility and provides an excellent cardiovascular workout while cultivating mindfulness, self-discipline and good character,” Grapentin says. “Furthermore the practice of karate promotes self-confidence, self-empowerment, self-control, perserverance, coordination, concentration and a positive attitude.”

Brent Smith (Rhodes Shotokan Instructor) performing the kata Unsu at the Joza Karate Club tournament in 2019. Photo: Simon Pamphilon

Grapentin oversees training at ECSR and works with a number of highly experienced assistant instructors. Grapentin has practiced karate for the past 35 years, and holds a 6th dan black belt recognised by the International Shotokan-Ryu Karate-Do Shihankai (ISKS). He is also the current chairperson of United Shotokan-Ryu (USR). Abongile Deliwe and Brent Smith head the Rhodes University Shotokan Karate Club as president and head-instructor respectively.

ECSR holds affiliation to USR and the World Union of Karate Federations (WUKF) and has produced numerous black-belt karateka over the past three decades. Apart from weekly classes, ECSR offers regular gradings, outdoor training sessions and annual seminars conducted by leading national and international guest instructors. As part of their 25th anniversary celebrations, ECSR will be hosting Sensei Bryan Dukas (Australia), Sensei Hitoshi Kasuya (Japan) and Sensei Pascal Lecourt (France) during the course of 2020. Visits from instructors of this calibre ensure that ECSR instructors and members enjoy ongoing world class input and tuition.

For those keen on pursuing karate as a sport, members can compete in tournaments and championships. ECSR organises the prestigious annual Sunshine Coast Karate Open Championship Series at the Fish River Resort and Boardwalk Hotel (Port Elizabeth) respectively. ECSR members have competed internationally on several occasions, and in 2018, Lutho Singata became the first South African ever to win a medal (bronze) for senior men’s kumite (fighting) at the WUKF World Championship in Scotland.

As from February, ECSR and the Rhodes University Shotokan Karate Club will be offering beginners’ classes at the following venues and times:
Makhanda, Hill Street Dojo: Tuesday and Thursday: 5.15pm to 5.50pm.
Makhanda: Hill Street Dojo: Monday and Wednesday: 5.15pm to 5.50pm
Kenton on Sea: Kenton on Sea Primary School: Monday: 2.30pm to 3.15pm.
Port Alfred: Girl Guide Hall: Monday and Thursday: 4.30pm to 5.10pm.

Rhodes University Shotokan Karate Club: The Hangar (Behind the Africa Media Matrix Building): Monday and Wednesday from 6.30pm to 7.30pm.

Brent Smith (r), newly appointed instructor for Rhodes University Shotokan Karate Club demonstrates on Thanduxolo Royi (Joza Karate Club) at a recently held training session.

Classes are offered to children from 7 years of age to adult. Children 5 and 6 years old are accepted on condition that a parent or guardian also enrols with them. For beginners over 45 (or thereabouts) there is the additional option of training in their dedicated adults’ classes. For further details contact Gary Grapentin on 073 3460 059 (also available on Whatsapp) or at




Joza Karate Club was formed in 2004 by 4th Dan black belt karateka and instructor, Mzwandile Matebese. Joza’s excellent achievements over the past few years include that of Thanduxolo Royi, 2nd Dan black belt and assistant instructor, who won a bronze medal at the WUKF world championships in 2019.

Joza Karate Club’s objective is to keep youth busy with sporting activities, especially after school. In karate, young people learn discipline and self-defence at the same time.

Training takes place at the New Indoor Sports Center in Joza from Monday to Thursday 5pm to 6.30pm. For more Information contact Mzwandile Matebese on 073 394 4771.

Facebook Comments

About Author

Comments are closed.