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Neville Paulsen
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Neville Paulsen Shihan

Neville Paulsen started his karate training in the mid sixties as a 25 year old. He started training with Sensei Eric Smith in Shukokai progressing to Shihan Len Barnes and was then graded to brown belt by Sensei Abe Appolis.

He continued his training and in 1974, opened his dojo "Kuzuri-Zen" in a church hall in Retreat. Around 1978, he formed an association with Isgak Cassim who had by then also left Len Barnes's organisation and together the two travelled to Durban to form an association with Shihan AK Ismail who headed the Shihon Karate Organisation Kyokushinkai. Paulsen and Cassim's group was then called Toshima-Ku Karate - named after the district in which the Honbu is located in JAPAN.

In 1982, he rejoined Len Barnes's South African Kyokushinkai Karate Association (SAKKA) and in January of 1984, travelled to JAPAN to attend the 3rd World Tournament. He managed to fit in a few training sessions at the IKO Honbu in Toshima-Ku.

During the time period 1982 to the nineties, Sensei Paulsen proved himself an outstanding referee and in that capacity, he travelled all over the country to officiate at SAKKA tournaments. He obtained his Yondan in 1987, but only received the certificate in 1995 (signed by Matsui) after the visit of Matsui to South Africa. After Sosai Oyama died, Kyokushin in South Africa for a while was with Matsui, but after his visit here, people learnt that things were not as he said and the organisation started splintering.

When Shihan Barnes heard that Matsu's group had lots of irregularities, he separated and for a time being, was involved with Hanshi Steve Arneil's group. Shihan Barnes promoted Sensei Paulsen to 5th Dan Shihan. A few years later, he received his Rokudan (6th Dan).

In 1997, Shihan John Taylor of Australia visited South Africa to promote a new Kyokushin group headed by Kancho Matsushima. He also visited Shihan Paulsen's dojo and had lengthy meetings with him after which Shihan Paulsen decided to become a member of the Matsushima group. For a number of years, he ad an association with Shihan Alpheous Sabela, the country representative for Matsushima.

Due to ill health, he was forced to close his dojo and many of his seniors of sandan ranking went elsewhere to continue their training. Some of whom are now with the Kyokushin Rengokai or Matsui group. His senior student at the time, Sensei Abubakr Petersen could not continue with the dojo due to work commitments which had him travelling all over the country.

Despite being ill, Shihan Paulsen would often attend various tournaments and assist with the refereeing.

In 2007, Kancho Matsushima visited Cape Town and Shihan Paulsen who was recuperating attended training with him. The two also had a meeting to plot the way forward. In that same year, Abubakr Petersen started training in earnest. Shihan Paulsen slowly started his comeback. He currently has two of his Dan grades back into action - Sensei Abubakr Petersen (yondan) and Senpai Lionel Booysen (shodan) Abubakr has now opened two small dojo and Shihan travels once a week to Macassar to teach.

At 71, Shihan Paulsen has a new purpose in life and that is to help his students promote the ideology of the late Sosai Oyama as such, he is very optimistic about the future.

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