According to AJA President David Boesel, “This effort exemplifies the AJA’s core value of ‘Community Spirit,’ in which we foster cooperation and respect among members. Our dojo in Zambia has done wonderful work with the local community for nearly a century. These new uniforms will help its current and future students continue their training.”
AJA members’ contribution of $1,520 exceeded the original fundraising goal by $220. This paid for thirty belts and high-quality uniforms of various sizes–all embroidered with the AJA logo–to be produced and shipped to the Kodokwan Dojo in Zambia.
Kodokwan Head Instructor Jonathan Kruger (AJA 8th dan) is a missionary with a lifelong background in jujitsu. Many of his 100+ students are underprivileged orphans whom he teaches free of charge.
Jonathan said he and his students are “profoundly grateful” for the contribution and “especially honored to receive uniforms with AJA insignia.”
He underscored, however, that students must “earn their new uniforms” by showing genuine dedication: “We aren’t just handing them out. Only students who demonstrate long-term commitment to training will receive them. This acknowledges Kodokwan’s storied history and reflects how proud we are to be AJA members.”
Founded in 1928 by a Japanese merchant sailor, Kodokwan is one of the oldest dojos in Southern Central Africa, teaching Koryu Goshin Jujitsu and Kodokan Judo. Jonathan Kruger has been head instructor since 1998, when he took over from his father, who had led the dojo since 1964.
Kodokwan’s community involvement often goes beyond martial arts training, helping local children pay school fees and providing sleeping nets to protect them from mosquitos, which spread malaria.
Jonathan sums up the dojo’s impact: “We found these youths without any hope in their lives, yet many have become strong community leaders by learning martial arts. They often bring back medals for Zambia from all over Africa.
Impressed by Jonathan’s work, AJA’s Board of Directors saw his dojo’s need for new equipment and launched the initiative, with AJA Marketing Director Alessandro Ashanti (AJA 8th dan) and National Membership Director Thomas Dineen spearheading the effort.
About the American Jujitsu Association (AJA):
The American Ju-Jitsu Association (AJA) is a national, non-profit amateur athletic association founded in 1972 to support the martial art of traditional Japanese jujitsu. It is registered with both the state of California and the U.S. government as a 501(c)(3) organization. The AJA promotes a variety of safe competitive formats, recognizes outstanding instructors with national awards, and provides liability/accident insurance and certificates of rank to members who meet the criteria of their particular ryū (style).
The AJA is a low-cost ($25 per dojo; $20 per student), high-value organization, in which members:
benefit from comprehensive but affordable liability insurance coverage
participate in AJA’s strong presence on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram
have access to the broad range of martial arts expertise represented by our 500+ sensei and student members
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