This was a successful trip and one that will improve the communications between North and South of Poland; I met Sensei Adam Litwinski 4th Dan IOGKF, who is a senior instructor in Poland.
I went to Cape Town, South Africa, to celebrate with one of the best Karate practitioners I have had the privilege to be associated with; Sensei Bakkies, he is an inspiration to everyone.
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.
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.
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 over 33°C.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.