July 08, 2016

WSKO North America Session & Taikai in Banff, AB

Photo courtesy of Rick Hand
From July 1-3, 2016 kenshi from branches all across North America traveled to Banff, Alberta to attend the WSKO North American Study Session and Taikai.  These events were provided by the Canadian Shorinji Kempo Federation and expertly hosted by the members of Alberta Branch who set a new high standard for other hosts to follow.

Kawashima-sensei (photo: Rick Hand)
The Study Session was held at the beautiful Fenlands Recreation Centre, nestled among the majestic Rocky Mountains.  The WSKO Instructors who taught the event were Kazuhiro Kawashima-sensei (WSKO Secretary General) and Shoji Arai-sensei (WSKO Deputy Secretary General).

Arai-sensei (photo: Rick Hand)
The session began with Arai-sensei providing a concise and clear outline of Shorinji Kempo basics and etiquette.  His teaching style was easy to follow and his demonstrations were of textbook quality (perhaps because he was a student of "the living textbook" Tsunehiro Arai-sensei). However, once the basic principles were established, Arai-sensei quickly moved on to more challenging applications including jumping sokuto geri combinations!

Demonstration by Kawashima-sensei
Kawashima-sensei picked up the teaching role later on and emphasized the correct form for tan'en hokei as well as the sotai applications. During his sessions, Kawashima-sensei showed dramatic effectiveness of his application of goho and juho techniques.


Tal & Brian
In addition to the Hombu staff, the US-based WSKO Instructors (Hirayama-sensei, Harada-sensei and Hagata-sensei) gave exciting lessons to the kyu kenshi in attendance.

Toronto Branch members with the Hombu teachers (photo: Rick Hand)

During each day of the Study Session, Kawashima-sensei provided lectures on topics drawn from his experience and our philosophy. In addition, time was spent reviewing plans for the World Taikai in California next year.

Lecture time
Lecture time

On the Saturday, Alberta Branch provided a wonderful social event at the Toque Bar in Banff.  A fun aspect of the event was the presentation of the famous Alberta white hats to the WSKO Instructors! All delegates greatly enjoyed the chance to mingle and relax with fellows from all across our continent.

The white hats!

The final day of the activities was the 5th North American Shorinji Kempo Taikai held at the Banff High School.  The event began in an impressive way with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police ("Mounties") escorting in the national flag of Canada prior to singing the national anthem.

As for the Taikai itself, the sections were
  • tandoku embu (single form)
  • kumi embu (pair form)
  • dantai embu (group)
  • unyo'ho (sparring)
Christian Castillo from Toronto Branch participated in the Dan Grade Men's Tandoku Embu section and Men's Lightweight Dan Grade Unyo'ho achieving a high place in both events. Chrtistian greatly enjoyed his participation and will be using the experience gained to prepare the World Taikai next year.

All of us from Toronto Branch had a wonderful time in Banff and wish to express our sincere gratitude to Noda-sensei, the kenshi of Alberta Branch and all their supporters for their painstaking efforts in organizing these events and for all the kindness and support they extended to all delegates.


McKaiso (photo: Rick Hand)