Sobukids closed Monday 1 and Wednesday 3 March

Unfortunately due to a bit of a sniffle, kids classes are closed on Monday 1 and Wednesday 3 March. Adults classes will run as normal, taught by Sempai Steven Pace. Apologies for any inconvenience.

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The past 12 months has been a poignant reminder of the value of resilience, concentration and discipline.

Sobukan children’s classes return on Monday 1 February from 6pm to help your children develop these important life skills, while having fun, getting fit and learning self defence and bully-proofing.

This could be the best decision you ever make for your children.

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Sobukan is back on 18 Jan 2021!

If you are looking to start, return to, or shake up your martial arts training, there is no time like the present.

Benefits of training at Sobukan include:

– Safe, yet realistic & effective training methods

– Caring, passionate & experienced instructors

– Comprehensive syllabus including striking, takedowns and grappling

– Supportive community

– Value for investment… and much more!

Contact us via FB or see more info at:

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End of 2020

Classes have returned after the COVID enforced break, but we have almost reached the final class of the year.

The last class of 2020 will be on Wednesday 16 December.

We will have a small bonenkai (end of year party) at the Tonsley Hotel at 11am, Sunday 20 December. I look forward to saying good-riddance to 2020 and welcoming the new year, which I am sure will be a better year for all of us.

We will resume classes on Monday 18 January.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Congratulations to all who achieved their health goals in this challenging year. Lets make 2021 a better health year for all of us!

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COVID safety measure – closure

Due to the new COVID outbreak, the SA government has announced that it is prohibiting gyms/recreation for at least 2 weeks. I apologise for any inconvenience, but safety comes first. Classes will be cancelled until further notice. Please monitor SA Health and feel free to contact me for further information/updates.

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We take safety seriously.

Safety is the very purpose of Sobukan. All members, family members and instructors should be familiar with our safety policies as we re-establish Sobukan Martial Arts dojo.

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Sobukan dojo 2.0

Sobukan will be back in 2021.

Watch this space…

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Sobukan closure

Due to the instructor being posted overseas, Sobukan has closed its doors as at 28 February 2018. Sincere apologies for any inconvenience.


It is hard to believe that Sobukan classes have now ended. This dojo has been such an enormous and important part of my life, I can barely find words to express the sense of loss and sadness I feel at closing our doors.

Twenty-five years ago, I was unable to find a dojo in SA that taught street-effective Japanese martial arts covering striking, throwing and grappling in a friendly and safe manner. Consequently, I spent the next couple of decades searching for and researching the best martial arts in each fighting range. My mission was to establish a dojo for anyone who wanted to be healthier, happier and safer. The result was Sobukan, and I could not be prouder of the dojo we created together.


When I think back of the highlights, some things immediately come to mind:

  • Interstate and overseas trips
  • Competitions
  • Training days and seminars
  • Demonstrations, particularly representing Japanese martial arts at multiple Japanese and Asian festivals
  • Gradings
  • Social occasions
  • Appearing on The Project
  • Articles in various newspapers and magazines.

However, while I enjoyed all these events, they were no more important than the day to day interactions I have had with you, the Sobuclan. Training with you has been the best part of my weekly routine for many years. Although I avoid using superlatives, the main reason I believe that Sobukan was the best dojo was because of you. We have shared sweat, tears and laughs. I have loved watching the children grow into young adults, watching everyone enhance themselves.

Thank you for all the messages of support and appreciation. You have made this very difficult decision as positive as it could be.

Sobukan principles

Parting, I would like to remind you of the Sobukan principles. These were on the membership application form you all signed. I don’t claim to be a lifestyle guru, but you can’t go wrong with these:

  • Eliminate your weakness, develop strengths
  • Never use violence to gain, only to protect
  • Strive for a balanced happy, healthy, safe life
  • Learn from everyone
  • Live by your principles
  • Respect others’ choices
  • Act intelligently, not emotionally
  • Always have a goal and divide it into daily tasks
  • Always be aware and prepared
  • Focus on your abilities, not your inabilities
  • Do your best and accept the outcome.
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Sobukan’s first black belt!!

I got my first black belt at 18 years of age after about 8 years training, but I didn’t feel like a black belt. Sure, I had pretty good technique, but I knew that I had great weaknesses and plenty to learn. I didn’t have the confidence that I felt should accompany an achievement like a ‘black belt’. In fact, it took many black belts before I finally felt comfortable wearing one.

To me, a black belt should first and foremost have a good all-round knowledge of martial arts. They should have a level of familiarity with all ranges of fighting; striking, clinching and grappling. A black belt should also have strong ethics and conduct themselves as a positive member of the community. A black belt should model the behaviours I expect from all representatives of the dojo. A black belt should be able to fight, and have the discipline, self-control and sensibility to know when to, and when not to, fight. A true martial artist should only use violence to protect, never to gain. A black belt should know that they have earned the belt, and feel worthy of wearing it.

I designed the Sobukan syllabus with this in mind. A Sobukan black belt would only be awarded to an individual who met these criteria and more. A Sobukan black belt must be able to ‘hold their own’ in striking with a karate black belt, in the clinch with a judo black belt and on the ground with a BJJ blue belt. This explains the breadth of our syllabus and the time required to progress through the ranks. It has kept our standards high, and to date, no student has been awarded with a black belt. Until tonight.

DSC_1295.JPGPacey walked in our doors six years ago, and I must say he was a most ‘unremarkable’ young man. He was quiet, and to be honest, not particularly talented. If you had told me then that Pacey would be our first black belt, I would not have believed it. However, Pacey turned out to be my favourite kind of student: open-minded, hard-working and tenacious. On top of this, he is courageous, loyal, humble and self-aware.

IMG_0629I claim little credit for his development, but I am proud to say that Pacey is now a very remarkable man. He can fight! Pacey has had some amazing fights against athletes far superior in experience and skill, yet he always takes the fight to the man. He has fought an MMA champion, and Kudo and Kyokushin black belts and has made me proud every time. In fact, Pacey’s greatest opponent is often himself. Like a terrier, he can sometimes forget balance and work himself into the ground.


Pacey has won Kudo and BJJ matches. He has trained and graded in Japan. He has taught classes and helped mentor many of you. He has been a reliable lieutenant and has always helped out when needed. Pacey has also exercised great discipline in various situations and demonstrated great character. I have been blessed to have him as a student and friend.

Pacey, I am very proud and honoured to award you Sobukan’s very first black belt. You have earned it and you deserve it. Congratulations!


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Sobukan closure – 28 February 2018

It is with utmost regret that I must inform that we will hold our last classes on Wednesday February 28. I am so very proud of the dojo we have created together, and it breaks my heart to have to close the doors. Sobukan is a special place to so many people, and I am devastated to have to make this decision. I am being posted to Brazil for the next three years. This is a wonderful opportunity for me and my family, but I will miss you all very much.

The higher belts are already planning training opportunities in my absence, and there is likely to be a North and a South Sobukan study group. Over the next couple of months I will focus on videoing the rest of the syllabus as a resource. I am immensely proud of the dedication, loyalty and enthusiasm you have all demonstrated over the past 6.5 years, and I am already looking forward to returning in 2021 with new experiences, knowledge and skills to share with you.

I want to thank you all for the blood, sweat and tears we have shared (more sweat than the other two!) since 2011. I have learned a great deal from you all. I also appreciate the maturity everyone has demonstrated after learning of the closure of our dojo. I have received so many telephone calls/SMS/emails today with words of congratulations and support. I intend to answer any questions to the group rather than give the same responses to everyone separately. I will provide more information as it comes to hand.


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