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.