The Miyagi Chojun Festival was held in The Crown Plaza Hotel over looking the Niagara Falls with a breath taking view; the falls form the border between the USA and Canada.
I was met at Peterson International Airport in Toronto by Robert Langgartner who drove me to Burlington where I stayed with Howie Hamilton; these people are my friends and helped me so much.
The next morning we made our way to the Hotel on Niagara Falls, where the guest instructors were invited to have lunch with Master Higaonna, it was great to see him looking so well and in good spirit. Accompanying him was Sensei Choko Kyuna Shorin Ryu 10th Dan, a close friend of the Master.
After lunch, a brisk walk back to the hotel and after a small siesta it was time for training. First up it was all Black belts with Higaonna Sensei, then All Grades and finally group training till 7.30pm.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday 8.30 – 10.30 all grades, then group training till 1.30pm. On Sunday there was the Master’s Demo, Higaonna Sensei gave a demo of Renzoku Bunkai and Nakamura Sensei did Suparinpai Kata and Bunkai which received a standing ovation.
To conclude we had the Sayonara party with an appetite filling meal and then Higaonna Sensei read out the results, the famous word "Pass" was bellowed out many times to everyone’s delight, I was so happy to hear my friend’s name Howie Hamilton Sandan pass, I know it meant a lot to him, well done Lama.
But it was not all about Karate – Do; I was invited by Rob Langgarter to witness a sight not seen by most people at Beamer Memorial Area Trail, renowned as the best vantage point in the Niagara Peninsula to observe the annual migration of Birds of Prey which include Golden Eagles, Bald Eagles, Turkey Vultures, Broad winged Hawks, and Kestrels.
The highlight for me was when Randy, who I have met a few times on previous Gasshukus, arranged for me and Nakamura Sensei to go fishing on his 32’ Cabin Cruiser. We were accompanied by Howie, Rob and Steve, great time had by all.
Look forward to seeing you again soon in Italy.
Chief Instructor OTGKA