I was invited to conduct a Gasshuku by Kevin and Mika Duff, who stayed and trained in the London Honbu Dojo for 18 months. I was happy to travel to the states at this time of year because the temperature was 25°C with beautiful blue skies.
I arrived at night and was met by Kevin and Mika; we made our way to the hotel where I was staying, a very comfortable place called Radisson Hotel San Diego – Rancho Bernardo, with Swimming Pool and Hot Spa.
On Thursday I gave private training at Sensei Steve Daz Dojo for an hour or so and on Friday evening I started teaching to a very enthusiastic group of people, on Saturday I met the Children of the Dojo and trained them for an hour, and they enjoyed every minute of the training, look forward to seeing them on Sunday.
With the senior on Saturday I tried to give as much information as I could, they seemed to absorb the training quite well. On Sunday Kata, Basics, Pad work, Kakie and readings on subjects like Nutrition, Prevention, Street Awareness and History, all facilitated by Mika, so thank you for your input
I was very happy to see Sensei Gene Ville 7th Dan IOGKF, who is the Chief Instructor of the U.S.A. and Sensei Steve Daz 5th Dan IOGKF, Dojo director.
But it was not all about Karate – Do, one of my old students that trained and lived in the Marble Factory. Sensei Miko Peled 6th Dan invited me to brunch in the Hotel Del Coronado on the beach where the film “Some like It Hot” starring Marilyn Monroe, stayed and many famous Hollywood stars.
Next day I received a phone call and to my surprise, Sensei Paul Enfield 6th Dan who trained with me in England, invited me and Kevin to lunch; it was wonderful to meet Sensei Paul’s wife Michelle who also trains in Karate, we had a great time together.
As much as I love my England, I was happy to be in Sunny California however, before long it was time to head for the airport.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for making the trip a success, and look forward to February 2014, if the gods will.
Arriving at Catania airport on Sunday, a chartered bus was waiting for some of the people arriving at the same time as me. To my surprise my good friends Rob and Adrienne Langgartner from Canada where on the same bus.
On arriving at the Hotel, which was next to the sea, I quickly registered and after unpacking it was straight to the swimming pool to cool down, the temperature was in the 30’s.
That evening I met up with the entire Canadian contingent and the famous Howie Hamilton, we had dinner together at a wonderful Sea Food and Pizza Restaurant, then it was time for bed in anticipation of what tomorrow will bring.
Wake up at 6.30 and a light breakfast and then to training. The first morning was for 3rd Dans to 8th Dans with the Master. Sanchin and Sepai Kata would dominate the class, then all together with Higaonna Sensei for the warm up for 40 minutes, then the classes were spilt into groups for 3 hours.
Every day the schedule was the same, we practiced Kata and Higaonna Sensei explained in detail the finer points from Kata to Kata and Nakamura Sensei translated word for word that Higaonna Sensei spoke, particularly when the Master give an hour long lecture about History.
But it was not all about Karate, I was invited out to dinner with the Russia contingent, Sensei Pavel Klopov and his team, we had a wonderful sea food supper.
It’s always a pleasure to see old and new acquaintances, and so I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the staff for their hard work.
This was the 7th Gasshuku in Koh – Samui, it is the ideal place for those people that live in cold climates, it is a chance to train hard and enjoy the warm Sun, Sea and Beaches with a Night life second to none, and guaranteed temperatures of 33°C +.
The training was for 7 days with 5 hours a day, 10 – 12.30 and 5 – 7.30pm. This gave students the opportunity to compromise and have time in the afternoon and the evening with their familys.
Morning training focused on endurance and resilience, with a diversity of impact work and resistance, the temperature in the Dojo would reach 32 – 34°C so water breaks were frequent. After training had finished everyone was invited to a healthy fruit lunch which consisted of Papaya Fruit, Yellow Watermelon, Dragon Fruit and Sweet Pineapple and ice cool water, this helped replenish those essential vitamins and minerals that the body uses during training in a hot climate.
To enhance understanding about the body, there were readings on Physiology, Anatomy, Nutrition, Injury Prevention and History of Karate – Do.
Evening training focused on technical detail in the Goju Ryu curriculum, and one to one in Kata from Gekisai – Suparinpei, Sanchin, Sanchin Kotai and Tensho. People were saying that they lost 5 Kilo over the week.
But it was not all about Karate – Do, in the evening Koh Samui comes alive with many shops and small markets and Bars and Restaurants as far as the eye can see. Sea food caught that day is in abundance, which includes Tiger Prawns, Squid, Spider Crabs, Oysters, Lobster, Mussels and Cockles all cooked on a BBQ, and of course the meat, BBQ Spareribs, Steaks and Chicken and many different Curry’s.
That why I call it The Paradise Gasshuku, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the people and staff for making this event a success and look forward to 2014 in Koh – Samui.
The message from Moscow was to make sure you bring plenty of warm clothing and they were right, the temperature outside Domodedovo Airport on my arrival was -22°C and lots of snow.
I was driven to my place of stay which was about 40 minutes outside Moscow; it was called Zhukovsky, the accommodation was in the Sanatorium (houses of rest) where you can have treatment for every part of the anatomy. The surroundings were outstanding with Pine and Birch trees and an aroma to match, everywhere was covered in snow, on entering my room the temperature was a comfortable 25°C and furnishings to match.
Three meals a day were provided so you never went hungry, alcohol was not allowed. I could not sleep the first night due to the silence, and then I could not wake up due to the dark mornings, due to living in London this place was like a retreat.
...the temperature outside Domodedovo Airport on my arrival was -22°C and lots of snow.
My first teaching was at Sensei Bogdan Kurilko’s Dojo which is situated in the centre of Moscow. Training started with Black belts and then Kyu grades, Renzoku Bunkai and Self-defence dominated the training. After training I was invited to dinner, the fish supper was delicious and the vegetables were exquisite.
The next 3 days would be spent outside Moscow with the person who invited me to Moscow to conduct the Gasshuku, Sensei Pavel Klopov. The training was steered towards Kumite, Kihon (Basic), Yakasoku (Promise) and Iri – Kumi (Try Out). There were about 100 people in attendance, the Children practiced the 5 basic San Dan Gi, and the Cadets practiced Iri – Kumi, then the Black belts concentrated on the finer details in Kata. Sunday morning the Children had a PowerPoint Presentation and Q&A, the Children were very pleased with this. To conclude I was asked to conduct a grading for the Cadets.
But it was not all about Karate – Do, I visited a small but educational Aviation Museum, where I had the chance to try out my piloting skills on a flight simulator. I was s*** however the instructor commented that it takes 30 hours to get an idea.
As always when visiting Russia one must visit a Russian Banya (sauna), which is said to have many health benefits. It is fired by wood only and oak branches are tied together and immersed in fragrances and cold water, which are then beaten and rubbed against the body which generates heat and therapeutic conditions. You are then invited to step outside and ice cold water is poured over you if you can take it, I’m pleased to say I've done it twice. I have many fond memories of Moscow over the past 28 years and this was no exception.
My special thanks to the entire Russian contingent that made this trip a success.
I was invited by Sensei Veerappan Arumugam (Billy) Chief Instructor IOGKF Malaysia to conduct a Gasshuku in Intan, Perak (Diamond Bay). It is situated some 400 Kilometers from the capital Kuala Lumpur.
The training was for 5 hours per day with temperatures of 35°C; I requested that Sensei Billy to have made Hojo – Undo training implements readily available and to my surprise Chishi, Tetsu Sashi, Nigiri Kami and Impact Pads were produced.
This shows me that his determination and effort to want to learn about Supplementary Training is unique. I started the training with the traditional warm up and explained in detail the important points about safety and long-term avoidance of injury, then the 3 Ks, Kihon, Kata and Kumite, followed by a demonstration on how to use Hojo – Undo.
Then arranging 4 stations so everyone had the opportunity to experience Hojo – Undo training and to finish the Kata Sanchin was performed. Some of the people commented that they had never seen these apparatus before, and some have been in Martial Arts for 30 years.
There was also a presentation by Mr. Burhanuddin Bin Daud (Hilir Perak Youth and Sports Officer) after the Gasshuku had finished. I was presented with a plaque in recognition of my work, my special thanks to him for his effort in making this Gasshuku a success.
But it was not all about Karate – Do; I was taken around by car to see some of the sights. The town’s main attraction is the leaning tower of Teluk Intan, it is the equivalent to the World famous Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy. The purpose for building the tower, also known as the Clock Tower, was to store water for the locals during the drought season, in case of fire. The clock on the tower was also used to keep time and was a landmark for the Ships at sea.
The town also has a number of Colonial buildings and Chinese Shop houses, and is home to a diversity of Cultures and Religions, and not forgetting I went fishing on the Perak River which is home to a wide variety of fish and Crocodiles.
During my stay I sampled the fruit Durian (The King of Fruits), it is a large prickled fruit that smells like Gas but tasted very sweet, and I ate fish and sea food every day and drank Oolong Tea.
I would like to thank Sensei Billy and especially Chong Hai Lee for taking care of me during my stay, looking forward to Malaysia in 2013.
Course Report from Martin and Louise Stockley, Cambridge
The 2012 Lambert Gasshuku started on Friday 28th September in Kirkcaldy, the birth place of the social philosopher and economist Adam Smith (1723-1790). The dojo for the evening was an upstairs room of the theatre named in his honour. The instructor that we had driven 400 miles to see was the newly appointed world chief instructor Nakamura Sensei. After personally greeting all of the participants, Sensei began the gasshuku briefly informing us of the new organisational structure of the IOGKF and that we would also be taught be the newly appointed vice chief instructors Sensei Ernie Molyneux and Sensei Henrik Larsen. The class that evening covered Junbi Undo, Ten Tsuki and Sanchin kata.
Training on Saturday and Sunday was over 4 hours each day. With three senior IOGKF instructors on hand, we spent much of the time in smaller groups, allowing for greater relevance of training depending on grade. The gasshuku finished with many repetitions of ten tsuki. Mo ichi do!
As is traditional for a gasshuku, many of the participants joined the instructors for a meal on the Saturday night at a local hotel. We had not been to Scotland for many years, so Louise and I instead took the opportunity to explore the local area and took a drive along the coast road to St Andrews.
We would like to thank the SGKA for organising a great weekend of training and the instructors for sharing their knowledge and experience with us. We look forward to returning to Scotland in 2014 for the European Gasshuku, if not before!
The venue was the famous Okinawa Kenritsu Budokan in Naha, training started at 8am for 3rd – 7th Dan every day, then one hour with the Master for basics which included all grades, then there was group training for 3 hours, so a total of 5 hours.
We were also honoured to be given lectures by Aragaki Shuichi Sensei who was a direct student of Miyagi Chojun Bushi and the Sakiyama Sogen Roshi of Kozenji who also trained with Miyagi Chojun Bushi.
There was special trainings and lecture from China;
Lin Yuandun – White Crane – China
Zhang Xiao Feng - Five Ancestors – China
Hung Ting Seng – Canada
Li YiDuan – Chinese Fuzhou Karate-Do Association honourable president.
Everyone enjoyed the Forms that they demonstrated; one could see the connection to Goju Ryu.
So many people in such wonderful surroundings, it is a one in a lifetime experience that everyone that is involved with Martial Arts should make the effort, because it is the birth place of Karate – Do.
On a more sentimental note, Master Higaonna announced that we would be paying our respects to the third anniversary of the passing of Anichi Miyagi Sensei in his home town. As we passed through the city of Kin I felt a sensation that this is where Shinzato Jinan Sensei died during the war. On arrival at Miyagi sensei’s home town we were greeted by the family and Mrs Miyagi, it was quite an emotional time for us all.
I waited for everyone to pay their respects to Miyagi Sensei and then I approached the gravesite and placed my hand on the site; I felt a connection to his presence in my mind that was satisfying. I have the greatest respect for someone that worked hard to support his family and to bless us with the greatest Karate – Do Master that ever lived.
I also was invited by Master Higaonna to test for 8th Dan in Okinawa and to my delight was awarded this prestigious achievement. I would like to thank those special people that supported me in achieving a life time goal.
The world famous Higaonna Dojo in Naha, Okinawa is a short walk from the Asato station on the Okinawa Monorail (or Yui Rail). On an exterior wall visitors are greated with the following words:
The kanji next to the IOGKF kenkon reads "Okinawa Goju Ryu" followed by "Higaonna Karate Dojo" in larger print. The remaining text tells us that beginners and women are welcome for maintaining health. These simple words remind us not only that karate is for everyone but this martial art is for the purpose of looking after your body.
Thank you to Kumiko Akamine for the translation.
Course Report from Martin and Louise Stockley, Cambridge
On a sunny Friday 25th May we boarded the Eurostar at London’s St Pancras station and 2 hours later we arrived in Brussels. We were met by Fréderic Lantreibecq, who whisked us out to our hotel on the outskirts of the city. Sensei Marc Sanglier and his wife Els had done an excellent job organising this first Gasshuku in Brussels and after a brief rest at the hotel we were driven to the training venue by Alex Gherschon, another one of our very welcoming hosts.
The venue was large and well equipped with a matted dojo next to the main training hall, which was being used by an Aikido group. Our instructor for the weekend, Masuyama Sensei began the weekend with a children’s class, which we joined in with at the side. This was followed by the first all grades adult session, covering Miyagi Chojun no Sanchin Kata and Gekisai Dai Ichi. Training was followed by a traditional meal at a Belgian restaurant and the first opportunity to sample the excellent local beers.
Saturday brought the first full days training during which we covered a great deal of stance practice, considering preparation before movement. After a lunch in the sunshine we continued with practice of Shisochin kata. We returned to the hotel and after a brief rest we gathered for a few drinks in the bar, a great chance to meet new friends. We were then taken to an excellent Japanese restaurant, with hot bowls of noodle soup and fresh Japanese salads on offer.
On the final day we were taken to a different venue, used regularly by Sensei Marc’s club. Another well equipped sports facility with a gymnastics hall situated next door. We covered Junbi Undo preparatory exercises in great detail often referring to the relevance to aspects of Kata. The black belt only session covered Kanryo Higaonna no Sanchin Kata (also called Sanchin Dai Ni or Sanchin Kotei) and we practiced the turning section with many repeats. This was followed by practice of Sanseru kata.
We returned to the city centre and caught the last Eurostar train home, tired but very satisfied with an excellent weekend of training. We would like to thank Masuyama Sensei for his wonderful instruction and sense of humour. We would also like to thank Sensei Marc and his wife for organising such a great Gasshuku, Sensei Patrick Curinckx and all of the very welcoming IOGKF Belgium.
IOGKF Dojo Kun (Dojo Oath)
Train your mind and body
Practice daily and protect traditional karate-do
Strive to teach the essence of Goju-Ryu
Never give upThe full article can be found here.
Explanation of the IOGKF Badge
Heaven and Earth are described as Kenkon in Japanese.
Ken meaning heaven and Kon indicating earth. Heaven is shown as round and earth as square, which symbolises the vastness of heaven and earth.
The badge expresses the harmony of hardness and softness in nature...heaven and earth.
The meaning of Goju is directly related to the badge since this also means hard and soft, Go translates as hard whilst Ju equals soft.
The symbol within the circle is the family crest of the Miyagi family, since the idea of heaven and earth, hard and soft originated with Miyagi Sensei.
Translation of the IOGKF Dan Grade Certificate