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Malcolm Dorfman Sensei

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Malcolm Dorfman Sensei was born in Johannesburg on 31 March 1947 and was educated at King Edward VII High School. After two years of Judo between the ages of 12 to 14 years, he recommenced Judo training at the University of the Witwatersrand and captained the Judo team in 1966.

At that time, he joined the University karate club and a few months later, the JKA dojo of Stan Schmidt Sensei. He made rapid progress, and in 1970 was selected for the very first Springbok (national) team to tour overseas. In 1978, after being chosen as the Springbok captain, he retired from the team, but still competed internationally on a selective basis for several years thereafter. 


He went abroad many times to train with karate masters all over the world, inter alia, M. Nakayama Sensei and the instructors of JKA headquarters in Tokyo, H. Nishiyama Sensei (Los Angeles), H. Kanazawa Sensei (Tokyo), T. Kase Sensei (Paris), H. Shirai Sensei (Milan), K. Enoeda Sensei (London), H. Ochi Sensei (Bottrop), and especially M. Tanaka Sensei (both in Japan and when Tanaka Sensei was resident in Copenhagen). 

Malcolm Dorfman Sensei was well known in the famous "Hornets' Nest", the elite instructors class of the original Japan Karate Association, before it fragmented. From 1974, when he first trained there as a 3rd Dan, up till 1993, he had been to Japan almost 20 times, and trained in the "Hornets' Nest" each time for an extended period.

In 1986 he was awarded 6th Dan by M. Nakayama Shihan, the late Chief Instructor of the Japan Karate Association making him the holder of the highest Dan level awarded to a non-Japanese during the lifetime of M. Nakayama Shihan, who died in 1987. He also achieved the highest status qualifications given by the Japan Karate Association to a non-Japanese, which are A-class International Instructor, A-class International Judge and A-class International Examiner and was elected to the International Shihankai (Master Panel) of the Nakahara JKA. 

From 1993 till 1999, Malcolm Dorfman Sensei was a member of the Asai JKA, where he was graded to 7th Dan in February 1994. However, in 1999, after the Japanese High Court ruled in favour of the Nakahara JKA with regard to title to the name Shadan Hojin Nihon Karate Kyokai (Japan Karate Association), the former Asai JKA organisation split into two, with Asai Sensei forming the Japan Karate Shotokai (JKS) and Yahara Sensei forming the Karatenomichi World Federation (KWF).

Malcolm Dorfman Sensei opted to go with the Karatenomichi World Federation. After undergoing a lengthy and arduous grading examination held the day prior to the 2000 Karatenomichi World Championships in Cardiff, Wales, he was awarded the rank of 8th Dan KWF by the Japanese Master Panel (International Shihankai) under Yahara Sensei. making him the only non-Japanese in the world to hold this rank. In addition, at that time, he was appointed as a member of the original 3-man Supreme Master Board (Saiko-Shihankai) of the Karatenomichi World Federation, the first and at that time, the only non-Japanese to hold this status. The other two members were Yahara Sensei and Isaka Sensei with whom Malcolm Dorfman Sensei currently trains in Japan whenever possible. 

The present Saiko Shihankai comprises seven members, three of whom are non-Japanese. Malcolm Dorfman Sensei now holds the title of Assistant World Chief Instructor jointly with Isaka Sensei. 

M Yahara

A Isaka

M Dorfman

K Kakihana

Y Hozumi

R Sidoli

J Lewis

Malcolm Dorfman Sensei is the Chief Instructor and official representative of the Karatenomichi World Federation in South Africa and operates the South African branch under the name of Karatenomichi South Africa. Karatenomichi South Africa also has membership with the World Shotokan Karatedo Association (WSKA) where he was appointed as WSKA Director for the African Continent.

Malcolm Dorfman Sensei introduced Kendo into South Africa in 1985, and through his efforts the South African Kendo Federation was established. Due to his extensive karate commitments, he eventually handed over the reins to his senior kendo students.

Saville, Malcolm & Shane Dorfman
    This photo was taken after the 2000 KWF World Championship, in which:
  • Saville Dorfman won the Junior World title, 

  • Shane Dorfman won the Senior World title

  • Malcolm Dorfman attained 8th Dan.

On a personal note, he was married to Janis, an Exercise Physiologist for more than 20 years. Janis passed away at the end of October 2005, and is sorely missed. He has two sons, Shane, from his previous marriage, and Saville from his marriage to Janis. Shane holds the rank of 6th Dan and is the current KWF World Grand Champion. Saville holds the rank of 2nd Dan and was a former KWF World Junior Champion. (Click on their names to view their achievements).

Click here to view the article that appeared in the Rosebank/Killarney Gazette on Janis's passing.

The late Janis Dorfman

In his spare time, Malcolm Dorfman Sensei likes to read American and British historical novels, and novels about feudal Japan. He is an avid alpine skier, and spends the end of the year vacation skiing with his family in the Swiss Alps and the Easter vacation in the American Rockies. He is also a keen soccer fan and an ardent Manchester United supporter.

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