previous arrow
next arrow


Article Index

My family first came to Africa from Berlin Germany in 1713 and moved up to Northern Rhodesia from South Africa in 1898. My grandfather was the first european to be born in Northern Rhodesia now Zambia in Livingstone in 1898. The 5th President of South Africa Paul Kruger was my great great grandfather. A man looked up to not because he was the President of South Africa but because of his strong faith in God and his love for Africa.

I first became interested in learning the martial arts in 1985 after watching the original Karate Kid movie,which was one of the top martial arts movies of the 1980s. I started taking Jujitsu lessons from my father on our front lawn at first with a friend of mine by the name of Michael Kanyemba who later became Zambian Judo champion.

My father Sensei John Kruger fought in and won the 1960 Eastern and Central African Judo championships, which included some Black Belts from the Budokwai in England living in Africa. He also fought the top Budokwai Judo representative Ticky Donavan later on and some Black belts from the South African Shahin Judo club. He was later challenged to an all out wrestling match by the Central African wrestling champion Fred Coates. Fred Coates wanted to prove that European Wrestling was much better than Judo or Jujitsu.

Fred Coates wore his famous leopard skin wrestling costume and my father wore one of the early judo suits short in the sleeves and trousers. My father knew that if Fred got hold of him that would be the end of his judo career. When the match started my father just waited for Fred Coates to move, luckily my father was able to throw him first with Harai-goshi (sweeping hip) and then Osotogari (major outer reaping) and then finally with Seoinage (shoulder throw). Fred Coates finally got up off the mat and congratulate my father and then the following day he showed up at the judo club asking to learn judo from my father.



My father John Kruger Sensei Kruger 6th Dan Kodokwan Jujitsu later continued taking part in events against boxing and Wrestling champions to promote Jujitsu and Judo in Zambia. He was always taking part in events with no fighting rules in the ring. Many of his opponents later joined the Kodokwan dojo as students.

In Memorium

The Late Shihan John David Kruger. 1931-2011. 6th Dan Kodokwan Jujitsu-2nd Dan Judo International Judo Federation. All Eastern and Central African Judo Champion in 1959. Second generation Kaiden Menkyo to the Kodokwan in Zambia. Practised at the Kodokwan from 1954 until his death in 2011.


Fr. Jude McKenna

During my time learning Jujitsu from my father I was introduced to International tournament Judo by Fr Jude McKenna in 1989, from Ireland who is a Franciscan Catholic priest working in Zambia. Fr Jude McKenna 7th Dan (Father of Zambian Judo) is my spiritual guide.

Father Jude has trained over 500 judokas in Zambia since 1971, he also built the biggest martial dojo in Southern and Central Africa called Central Sports club in Lusaka. Father Jude is a Cappuchin Franciscan father from Ireland and has served the order for more than 50 years. Before he became a priest he was Irish light heavy weight champion of Europe in 1957, he also Assistant Technical Director of the Commonwealth Judo association. He is one of the best instructors of judo and has helped me reach the 1995 world judo championships in Japan. He has always kept me humble through using some of his terrible judo strangles.

Before Fr Jude became a priest he was European light heavy weight boxing champion in 1959. He was staged to fight up coming boxing world champion Mohammed Ali, but became a Catholic priest instead and was sent to work in Zambia in 1966. He started judo with some of the first Japanese Judo volunteers in 1970. Well known Japanese Judo coach Bunji Matsushita was his first Judo coach. He was staged to fight World and Olympic Judo champion Toshiro Daigo in his Livingstone city dojo in 1976. Unfortunately Toshiro Daigo was unwell that day to fight because of drinking the local water. Fr Jude always says he was saved twice by the lord in his life from two world champion fighters, First against world boxing champion Mohammed Ali by becoming a priest and then against World and Olympic Judo champion Toshiro Daigo who could not fight because of drinking bad water.



Jonathan in Japan

In 1991 I was able to live in Osaka Japan for 7 years working there as a Christian missionary. I worked among the Japanese youth in high schools and universities in Osaka and Kyoto. I ministered to the Japanese biker gangs called the Bosozoku and with the local Yakuza mafia members who would meet at the Japanese bath houses called Sento and Onsen. Some Japanese Mafia became strong Christians through our work with them. I was a Bible smuggler into main land China in the early 1990s. I managed to smuggle 440 Chinese Bibles into Shanghai to the Chinese underground churches and Chinese ministers. This was quite dangerous at the times due the restrictions of Bibles brought into the Communist country. I also worked with the Boat People escaping from Vietnam in the 1990s arriving by boat to Hong Kong and put into internment camps. Many Vietnamese were open to the Word of God in these camps.

During missionary work in Osaka Japan I was able to continue my Judo and Jujitsu training. I trained at the Kongo Kyo High school Judo club in Kanmaki, Takatsuki city, and the Takatsuki Shi Shimin Taikukan Judo Club. It was during this time I won the 1993 Ibaraki and Takatsuki cities inter High School judo championship or Northern Osaka, Soon after that I received my 1st Dan black belt in Judo from Hashimoto Sensei who was high school coach to Kongo Kyo High School Judo club. Hashimoto Sensei 6th Dan Judo was one of instructors to have trained at the famous Tenri Kyo university Judo club in Tenri City. Hashimoto Sensei taught me the importance of doing thousands of Uchikomi and NageKomi to perfect a Tokui nage waza.

Later on in Tondabayashi city I was able to train under Toshinori Arao Sensei 5th Dan. He taught me Tomiki Aikido and Aiki Jujitsu. Toshinori Sensei was a tremendous instructor who could throw any one just with his hands using tremendous Tai Sabaki. Arao Sensei was one of the instructors to teach Aikido to the famous Hollywood martial arts action star Steven Seagal at the Tennoji Aikikan, in down town Tennoji city in Osaka. In 1994 at the Zone 6 Southern and Central African Judo championships, I won a Silver and Bronze Medals in the heavy weight and Open weight category. Six African nations take part in this annual Judo event.



Kaiden Menkyo

"I represented Zambia in Judo at the 1995 World Judo Championships in Makuhari, Japan. I fought in the 95kg + weight category against the European and number 3 world heavy weight Judo champion from Germany Frank Moller. I was also able to train in South Korea for a year in Inchon city under Grand Master Choi in Korean Yudo and Hapkido. Grand Master Choi was one of the instructors to 1988 Seoul Olympic Gold medallist Judo champion Kim Jae Yup who was famous for his high scoring Uchimata. GM Choi helped me perfect my Uchimata throwing technique.

I also trained in Sheffield, England under Sensei Keith Tiger Brown 8th Dan Judo who was 7 times Judo veteran champion of England. I returned to Zambia in 1998. I then took over the running and coaching of the Kodokwan Judo Jujitsu Club of Zambia.


Since 1998 I have worked with the underprivileged youth and orphans in my three community dojo around the city of Kitwe. Our Kodokwan dojo is like a light house to those Zambian youth who are looking for help to improve their lives through the martial arts training. Our Kodokwan Dojo tries to help them finish their education by helping them with their school fees. We also look for donations to get them Judo and Karate uniforms especially for those of the underprivileged and orphan students.


I also try to look after our Zambian World War 2 Veterans. I first found these old warriors of the Kings African Rifles regiment begging at a bus station for a little food wearing their old British WW2 uniforms and medals for bravery. My heart went our to them every since then. I try to feed them cloth them as there are suffering in terrible conditions in their old age. These old Zambian warriors fought all over world in North African, Somalia, Italy, Madagascar, Burma, Singapore. And later on in Malaya against the Chinese Communists in the Malaysian Emergency in the 1950s. These old warriors need our help in their old age.


Jonathan Kruger
Kaiden Menkyo third generation instructor to the Kodokwan Judo Jujitsu club of Zambia






Kodokwan Zambia. Copyright © 2019. All Rights Reserved. The website content and artistic works are the intellectual property of kodokwanzambia.com. No part of the materials including graphics or logos, available in this Web site may be copied, photocopied, reproduced, in whole or in part, without specific permission.
Design & Maintenance - Kwikkies WebArt - the Netherlands