Sensei Stan Schmidt – People of the South – Interview
Watching this People of the South program featuring Stan Schmidt Sensei makes me realise how blessed I was learning karate from these early pioneers, Senseis Stan Schmitdt, Keith Geyer, Derrick Geyer and Dries la Grange (many featuring in the early part of the program). I don’t think we often realise how difficult it must have been at times for Stan Sensei and his wife Judy, to learn so much in a country that was not really open to westerners at the time. With Stan Sensei’s remarkable determination, talent, humble attitude and hunger to learn, he did not only win the respect of the Japanese, but made it possible for many of us starting a journey with JKA Karate in South Africa.
What is so evident in the program, apart from Stan Sensei’s achievements, is his success as a leader in all areas of his life. Anyone that ever had the privilege training under him will recall the wisdom and inspiration that enriched their lives. It is with good reason, due to Stan Sensei’s leadership, that SA JKA had 10 000+ members in South Africa, one of the largest in the world at one stage.
I Recall how nervous I was as a little girl travelling from Heidelberg every Wednesday evening, with Sensei Dries and Johan la Grange, to go and train with Sensei Stan (coming from Heidelberg I didn’t understand English too well!). How I treasure those moment now!
I really miss being in Stan Sensei’s classes, his knowledge and wisdom really lives through a lot of today’s JKA karate leaders whom he taught.
There is a Japanese saying that goes: “Humility is the first step of gaining extraordinary influence”. This is what I feel when I watch People of the South featuring Stan Schmidt Sensei.