May 29, 2017

39th Annual Cornell Shorinji Kempo Camp (May 2017)



On Friday May 26th, I travelled down to Camp Barton near Trumansburg NY to participate in the 39th Annual Shorinji Kempo Cornell Camp.

As the log cabin doors creaked open, we stepped out into an early morning fog rolling in off beautiful Lake Cayuga located in the heart of New York’s Finger Lakes.  Friends old and new gathered for a short warm-up followed by a quick jog to breath in the fresh air and get our bodies moving.  After a delicious breakfast, we began our study of the philosophy and techniques of Shorinji Kempo taught by Sakuyama-sensei (Ibaragi Takahagi Doin, Japan), former staff member at Hombu and direct student of our Founder – Kaiso So Doshin-sensei.



This year the emphasis was on raising our awareness of how our body moves, specifically through the hip joint (Greater Trochanter or GT for short).  Since many of the techniques involve rotational motion through the hip joint, it’s important to understand how it is used to generate power as well as improve speed and balance.  We stepped out of our comfort zone by exploring the edge cases where it feels like we would fall over because we were leaning far forward or to the side.  We wouldn’t actually fall because our brain tricks us into thinking that we are going to lose our balance well before the point where it happens.



As many of us will be attending the 70th Anniversary of the Foundation of Shorinji Kempo World Taikai event in California this summer, Sakuyama-sensei shared some of his thoughts on Embu preparation and competition.  Embu is an important aspect of studying Shorinji Kempo because students perform several techniques in longer combinations with a partner.  By alternating the roles of attacker and defender, students improve their techniques by better understanding distance and timing.  We learned that there is no difference between practicing Embu and competing in it, other than the fact that in competition you only get to perform it once.  This is why it’s important to practice diligently and concentrate completely in order to perform at the highest level possible.  In Embu, as in life, it’s okay to make mistakes.  One should recognize that a mistake has happened by acknowledging it but not getting too caught up in it.  Embu is more than just demonstrating techniques, it helps cultivate life energy (ki) and demonstrates the flow of energy between partners.  During our training we continuously combined techniques together to build Embus and demonstrate them to each other.  At key times during these demonstrations Sakuyama-sensei would ask us to pause so that we may become aware of the energy flow between us.



We also learned how fortunate we all are that we have a powerful tool for introspection, self-awareness and connection to our environment and beyond - our breath!  Humans can survive weeks without food, days without water but only minutes without air.  We learned how to monitor and regulate our breathing while sitting, stretching and performing techniques.  During stretching, we were asked to focus on allowing our breath to flow into the area of our body that we were trying to stretch and not to think about it as purely a muscle exercise.  This allowed us to be more proficient at stretching as well as helping us become more aware of our bodies.

We wish the thank Sakuyama-sensei for coming all the way from Japan to teach us and the Camp organizers for their selfless efforts in facilitating another fantastic training opportunity.


We hope to see everyone again next year!


Gassho,

Kevin Legault (2nd dan)
Toronto Branch
 

May 17, 2017

22nd Annual Charity Kickathon for CAMH meets $10K goal!

On the sweltering evening of May 17th (why does the first really hot day of the year always coincide with our event?) the members of Shorinji Kempo's Toronto Branch gathered at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Russell Street site to hold the 22nd annual installment of our main charity activity - the Kickathon.

First some meditation

Every year we are getting older, and our kicks are not quite as high as they used to be, but we are still filled with a strong sense of pride and purpose every time we hold this event.


Then some stretching

The goal of the Annual Charity Shorinji Kempo Kickathon is to raise funds for the CAMH Foundation that will be used to alleviate the suffering caused by drug addiction in Ontario.

Lining up

Our evening began with a period of meditation then a warm-up and stretching.  Following that we lined up and launched into 500 consecutive full force kicks with kiai (yell).  Given the humid conditions the gym was rather airless, but once we launched into the kicking time just seemed to fly by.

Off we go!

Before long we reached our 500th kick and the joy of accomplishing our goal eclipsed any fatigue or soreness that we felt.  Also, we knew that it'll be 12 months before we do this again!

Halfway through

We would like to thank our truly amazing sponsors, many of whom who have generously supported our event for many years.  We would also like to express our sincere gratitude to Lidia and her team at the CAMH Foundation for ensuring that the logistics of our event went so smoothly.

We can now announce that our event raised a total of $10,025 - we met our $10K fundraising goal thanks to our sponsors' generous support!

Since the Shorinji Kempo Toronto Branch Kickathon initiative began in 1996 it has raised a total of $149,280 for the CAMH Foundation.


"All done for another year" selfie!

Gassho




April 10, 2017

Grading success!


Toronto kenshi Max Teplyakov successfully passed his 2nd Kyu examination on April 10, 2017.

Congratulations!

Gassho

February 20, 2017

Grading success!


Toronto Branch member Daryl Ola passed his 1st Kyu examination on February 20, 2017.

Well done!

Gassho

December 25, 2016

Seasons Greetings from Toronto Branch!




MERRY CHRISTMAS 
A HAPPY NEW YEAR

On December 21, 2016 nine members of our branch gathered for the 2016 Closing Ceremony.  The event included kihon, chinkon and a demonstration.



The end of year message covered:

2016 events: 21st Annual Kickathon, 38th Annual Cornell Camp, the WSKO Seminar and North American Taikai in Banff as well as grading successes during the year



2017 upcoming events: World Taikai and WSKO Seminar in California, the 22nd Annual Kickathon and the 39th Annual Cornell Camp

We are now taking a good rest and will be back in action early in January!



Gassho

August 23, 2016

Grading success!



On August 22, 2016 Daryl successfully took his 2nd Kyu examination.

Congratulations Daryl!

Gassho

August 18, 2016

Grading success!




Toronto Branch kenshi Max successfully took his 3rd Kyu examination on August 17th.

Congratulations!

Gassho