December 24, 2012

Our message to you

December 19, 2012

2012 Closing Ceremony

On the evening of December 19th, the members of Toronto Branch gathered together for our final practice session of 2012.

We were very happy to be joined by Toronto Branch alumni Louie-sensei (Yorkville Branch) and Paul Turner-kenshi.

Our event included Chinkon-gyo, a lecture on the accomplishements of 2012 and goals for the coming year, and a performance of technique by current members.

After the event we headed over to the Free Times Cafe for food, drink and more of Yan's stories!

Here are some photos from our event.


September 23, 2012

Atsugi Doin 40th Anniversary

On September 16, 2012 I had the great honor of attending the 40th Anniversary of Atsugi Doin in Kanagawa, Japan.

Atsugi Doin was founded and has been managed for the past 40 years by Kizumi Hiate sensei (8th dan). This dojo was also where I studied Shorinji Kempo during an academic exchange in the summer of 1985. Hiate sensei has been my teacher ever since and has supported all of us in Toronto with four teaching visits (1995, 2000, 2002, 2006) including two WSKO seminars.

The 40th anniversary events were held in three parts:

1. Embukai

Kenshi from all over Kanagawa Prefecture gathered at the Atsugi Sports Centre to show thier embu (pre-arranged technique displays).   The event also included displays of exceptional embu from Atsugi area kenshi including the Masui brothers and women's embu by Kurita kenshi and Yusaku kenshi.

2. Koshukai

Following lunch, all kenshi agthered again the main gymnasium for a special koshukai (study session) led by Yamasaki sensei (Hombu) and Yajima sensei (Kawagoe Doin). Yamasaki sensei gave a lecture that stressed the imprtance of acceptance and yielding both in human relations, business, politics and technique!  He then procedded to teach us exactly how he uses this philosophy to make effective self-defense without having to resort to force. I had the pleasure of being thrown about by Yamasaki sensei several times during the event and can attest that what he says is definitely true!

One unexpected and great surprise - I got to meet Keisuke Ogura kenshi once again.  We had been members of the same dojo in London some 25 years ago and hadn't had a chance to meet for at least 21 years.  Also, recent Toronto Branch member Hiroko Fujita made the trip from Tokyo to join in too. Nice to see her again!

3. Party Time!

Next we all headed out to the Nurumizu area and Atsugi Doin itself.  Hiate sensei built and opened his private dojo 10 years ago and it was fitting place to hold the 40th anniversary party.  Following speeches by Yamasaki sensei, Yajima sensei and senior teachers from Kanagawa and beyond, the event switched to the social focus (i.e. drinking and eating!).  An apres party with Machida Doin Old Boys including Yamasaki sensei, Yajima sensei, Hiate sensei, Morikawa sensei and others was particularly fun!

Toronto Branch alumnus Hiroko Fujita
Many, many kenshi and senior instructors turned out to support Hiate sensei in his 40th anniversary. Every part of the day was packed to capacity. Apart from myself, Anders Pettersson sensei - President of the Swedish Federation - and representatives from Humboldt University Branch in Germany were in attendance. Hiate sensei is not only a highly respected and loved teacher in Japan but worldwide too!

I wish to thank Hiate sensei and his family as well as Morohoshi sensei and his family for their great kindness and support during this amazing visit.


September 02, 2012

Vancouver 2012

In late August three members of Toronto Branch flew out to Vancouver to attend the 2012 WSKO North American Regional Instructors' Study Session and the 3rd North American Taikai. These events coincided with the 30th anniversary of the founding of Vancouver Branch.

President Yuuki So of the WSKO was in attendance along with instructors Sato sensei (Fukuoka) and Kawashima sensei (Hombu).

The Study Session consisted of kihon, in-depth technical study of various technique families and philosophy lectures.

Kawashima sensei taught many variations on techniques and stressed that the key thing is to understand the basic principle of each technique and learn to apply it in various circumstances.

At the end of the first day of training all delegates attended a fun dinner party at a local Chinese restaurant. It was wonderful to have the chance to socialize with many friends from all across North America and neighboring branches from the Greater Toronto Area.

During the course of the Study Session, US and Canadian Branch Masters studied many aspects of the operating procedures for branches to help strengthen and unify our efforts. As part of these efforts we hope that a Canadian Shorinji Kempo Federation will soon emerge.

The 3rd North American Shorinji Kempo Taikai was held on the final day.  Events included tandoku embu (single form), kumi embu (pair form), dantai embu (group) and unyoho (sparring).

Tony and Christian from Toronto Branch took part in the events and brought back a total of two gold medals and one bronze medal. In addition, kenshi from nearby Yorkville Branch were also successful in the taikai and were awarded three gold medals. Together this represented the best performance of Toronto area kenshi in a taikai to date.

We wish to thank the members of Vancouver Branch, BC Tozenji Branch and UBC Branch for their huge efforts in making the Study Session and Taikai such a great success.


June 25, 2012

Grading success

Another step up for Luther, Lyndsay, Amy and Christian!

Four Toronto Branch kenshi were successful in recent gradings held on June 24th at the JCCC:
  • Amy passed her 8th Kyu exam
  • Lyndsay passed her 5th Kyu exam
  • Luther and Christian passed their 2nd Kyu exams
We'd like to thank Louie sensei and Fontaine sensei for conducting the exams.

Congratulations to our members on their success!


June 04, 2012

34th Annual Cornell Camp

Sakuyama sensei - uke
On Friday May 25th, five members of Toronto Branch set off on the long drive to Trumansburg, NY to take part in the 34th Annual Shorinji Kempo Cornell Camp.

Atsumi sensei teaching
The event is the longest continuously running Shorinji Kempo event in North America and it holds a special place in the hearts of Shorinji Kempo members in the Eastern US/Canada region.

Sakuyama sensei - kamae
For the first time in six years, both Sakuyama sensei and Atsumi sensei were able to come from Japan to lead the training. The teachers are direct students of Kaiso So Doshin (founder of Shorinji Kempo) and exemplify excellent technical and philosophical understanding of the art.


Christian - ryusui uke

We attended the first two days of the Camp and on each day Sakuyama sensei taught in the AM session and Atsumi sensei in the PM session.

Lunch with the teachers
As before, a great deal of attention was placed on basic aspects of body movement and stance before using these principles in technique.  The impact of this approach was dramatic - kenshi who had previously struggled to make good form suddenly appeared graceful and smooth in their movement.

Luther - ryusui geri
One great feature of the Camp was an open Q&A Session with the teachers on Saturday evening.  Some of the topics discussed included
  • the early days of Shorinji Kempo
  • anecdotes about Kaiso
  • shooting the movie "The Shaolin Temple" with Jet Li in China
  • Japan's recovery from the tsunami crisis
The Cornell Camp is located in a lush natural environment.  This year's wildlife tally included deer, rabbits, chipmunks, a water snake, a toad, a crawfish and a gazillion tadpoles.

Fine livin"
All of us from Toronto Branch had a wonderful time and learned many valuable things.

Beautiful Cornell Camp!
We wish to thank Sakuyama sensei and Atsumi sensei for coming all the way from Japan to teach us and also the Camp organizers for their selfless efforts in facilitating yet another excellent training opportunity.


May 23, 2012

Our 17th Annual "Kickathon" was a success!

6000 combined kicks later...

It was another hot and airless night in the main gym of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) as we each performed 500 kicks with a hearty kiai. Wishful thoughts of oxygen masks were combined with a feeling of accomplishment as we struggled on.

The reason for this physical anguish was our 17th Annual Charity "Kickathon" in aid of drug addiction treatment programs offered by CAMH.  Thanks to our many generous sponsors we were able to raise $7,520 this year for this important cause.

Indeed, this year the event hit a major milestone - we have now raised over $100,000 since the event began (the actual running total is $101,970).

Shorinji Kempo was founded in Tadotsu, Japan by Kaiso Doshin So in 1947 and has since then spread across the world.  Kaiso intended Shorinji Kempo to be more than just a martial art - he hoped that its members would play a positive role in society.  Every year in the month of May, Shorinji Kempo members all over the world engage in charitable and community events as a concrete reminder of Kaiso's goals.

Shorinji Kempo Toronto Branch has chosen to assist CAMH in its efforts to combat drug addiction as its annual "Kaiso Day" activity. Drug addiction is one of the most powerful and devastating maladies of our our modern age. It not only leads to the destruction of the addict's life but has numerous community impacts too.

It is clear that many centralized approaches have had limited effectiveness in dealing with this issue (see the US "War on Drugs" for example).  However, providing help to those who wish to quit is a high payoff investment with an impressive success rate.  It is this type of approach that our event supports.
We would like to thank our many family members, friends, business donors and colleagues for their generous ongoing support of our charity event.

All done!
We also wish to recognize the great efforts of CAMH in helping Canadians overcome the challenges of addiction and mental illness.

The CAMH event  donation page will be online for a few more days, so please donate!


April 27, 2012

Hiroko Fujita - my experience at Toronto Branch

It was a great experience practicing Shorinji Kempo at Toronto Branch. I was happy to join there as my first Dojo outside of Japan from September 2011 until March 2012.

I was a bit nervous before joining since I didn't know what to expect, however McCulloch sensei and every Toronto Branch member welcomed me warmly. I realized that in Shorinji Kempo it is possible to bridge between countries. Everybody at Toronto Branch practices seriously and has fun.

Training at Toronto Branch had the same feeling as I was used to in Japan and my experience there gave me great friendship with the members. 

I highly recommend for Torontonians and Japanese Kenshi to join practice at Toronto Branch.

Many thanks and best regards,


Hiroko Fujita
Shokenshi, 2nd dan
Ehime, Japan

March 22, 2012

Grading success

Tony (left) and Stew (right)

Toronto Branch members have been successful in recent dan gradings.

Tony passed his 2nd dan examination on March 4, 2012 and Stew passed his Junkenshi 1st dan examination on February 22, 2012.


We'd like to thank Louie-sensei and Fontaine-sensei for conducting the examinations.