Kodokwan Judo & Jujitsu Club of Zambia Saves Lives

Kodokwan Judo Jujitsu Club of Zambia

Kodokwan Judo & Jujitsu Club of Zambia is also called Kumasamba which means “the sunset in the west” in the local language. This club, located in the little copper mining town of Kitwe, is not your average martial arts school. This dojo helps its students to make decisions that can often mean life or death. Many of the underprivileged youth and orphans that come to train at the club no longer have parents because their parents have died of Aids and Malaria. Devoted to one another, this club improves the lives of its students in so many different ways. They not only teach martial arts, but they help provide the fees necessary for students to complete their education up to grade 12. The club provides clothes and food for poorer kids and helps them fight against the ever life threatening diseases of Aids and Malaria. The club helps students find jobs when they have completed their education and some of these students have, and will in the future, represent Zambia in judo all over the world.

Kodokwan Judo Jujitsu Club of Zambia
Kodokwan Judo Jujitsu Club of Zambia

When the Kodokwan Judo & Jujitsu Club of Zambia has club tournaments, the winners don’t receive trophies or medals, instead they receive a 25kg bag of Mealie Meal to take back to their families. The Mealie Meal is the staple diet of the Zambian people and these judoka are excited when all their hard training pays off and their wins provide food for their families. The club attempts to get the the community involved and people like Stephan Samaras of Olympic Milling kindly donate bags of Mealie Meal for the tournaments, and other members also help fund raise for the club.

Mealie Meal Tournament Prize at Kodokwan Judo Jujitsu Club of Zambia Tournament
Mealie Meal Tournament Prize at Kodokwan Judo Jujitsu Club of Zambia Tournament.

Editors note: Kodokwan Judo & Jujitsu Club of Zambia is always looking for used Judo and Karate uniforms for their students. If you can gather uniforms in good shape think about sending them to Kitwe!!! Also you might think about having your school adopt this club in Kitwe and raise funds to help bless this martial arts ministry that saves lives daily.

Kodokwan Junior Team
Kodokwan junior team ranked one of the strongest junior teams in Zambia.

Most importantly the Kodokwan Judo & Jujitsu Club of Zambia wants to produce leaders for local communities, but over the years the club has also produced students who have represented Zambia against Africa’s best of the best below the equator. These students have won medals against tremendous odds. The Kumasamba Club won the 2009 National Judo Championships taking 10 Gold and 11 Silver medals. This club has contributed champions to the national team including 17 year old Joshua Kanyemba, who won a bronze medal at the 2010 South Africa Zone 6 Judo Championship (Joshua’s Dream . . . A Hero For Every Child). Students of this club have also had to use their training in very difficult situation and even to save their own lives (Bronson Phiri’s Brush With Death).

Today Shihan Jonathan Kruger 6th Dan is the Kaiden Menkyo third generation instructor to the Kodokwan Judo & Jujitsu Club of Zambia and he says,

I believe this is the true meaning of a Dojo, A LIGHT HOUSE to our community. I have seen so many people’s lives change at the dojo, including those who give us a helping hand. This is what it is all about, making our world a better place, one step and technique at a time! God Bless.

Short History of the Kodokwan Judo & Jujitsu Club of Zambia


Jonathan Kruger, John Kruger and Fr Jude McKenna
Jonathan Kruger’s with his first two Judo and jujitsu Sensei, his late father John Kruger, 6th Dan Kodokwan Jujitsu
and Fr Jude McKenna 7th Dan Judo.

The Kodokwan Judo Jujitsu club of Zambia is one of the oldest founded dojos in Southern Central Africa, teaching traditional Kodokan Judo and Koryu Goshin Jujitsu. At the time of its formation in 1928 in South Africa, it was the only dojo that practiced JUJITSU and then around the early 1940s this Kodokwan began to include formal judo practice in its dojo.

John Kruger Sr.
John Kruger Sr.

The Kodokwan was originally founded by a Japanese merchant sailor by the name of Seishi Teppei or some times called Yusei Teppei who lived in Hong Kong, Shanghai in the 1920s.

In 1928 Seishi Teppei gave Dr Henry Johnston the Menkyo Kaiden to the Kodokwan Jujitsu, Judo Association. Soon after that Dr. Henry Johnston returned to Africa and opened his first Kodokwan Dojo in Adderley Street, Cape Town, South Africa.

Two of his top students were Joe Grant Grierson and Dennis McCrea who joined the Kodokwan dojo in 1943.

Shihan Jonathan Kruger
Shihan Jonathan Kruger

Joe Grant Grierson came up to Northern Rhodesia now called Zambia in 1954 to work on the Copper Mines. He opened the first Kodokwan dojo in 1954 in the city of Kitwe. His first two students were John Kruger and Steve Arneil who later went to Tokyo, Japan in 1960 and started training with Mas Oyama and the Kyokushinkai Karate dojo in Tokyo.

After Kancho Joe Grant Grierson returned to South Africa in 1964 Sensei John Kruger took over the running of the Kodokwan dojo in Zambia.

Sensei John Kruger carried on teaching at the Kodokwan dojo from 1964 until he passed away in 2011. His son Jonathan Kruger already had taken over the running and coaching of the Kodokwan Judo Jujitsu Club of Zambia in 1998.

Today Shihan Jonathan Kruger 6th Dan is the Kaiden Menkyo third generation instructor to the Kodokwan Judo Jujitsu club of Zambia.

Kodokwan Judo & Jujitsu Club of Zambia Website

Contact Shihan Jonathan Kruger:
PO BOX 22293
Kitwe, Zambia
+260 96 6782339
+260 96 4490267

Email Address:
judojonathan1987 (at) gmail (dot) com