R.I.P. Shinyu Gushi Sensei


We are sad to hear that Shinyu Gushi Sensei has past away. His devotion and perpetuation of Karate is a strong example of his lifestyle. Most notably is Gushi Sensei’s athletic physique, developed from a hard and dedicated work ethic, a training methodology that was exemplified during his teachings. Gushi Sensei will be missed and always be honored.

85yr-old Karate Sensei Cuts the Cake

The great karateka Jack Summers Sensei celebrated his 85th birthday on November 5, 2011. The birthday party organized by Senpai, turned out to be a beautiful success.

Jack Summers Sensei is currently a Hanshi (Grandmaster title in Okinawan Karate), a 9th degree black belt in the Uechi Ryu style of Karate. Summers Sensei also had training in boxing and jujitsu, which really complimented him to be a great martial artist.

The party was held at a local bar, which filled up quickly for the celebration. It was nice to see all the people who attended. There was of course many of the members from our dojo, but was also nice to see people from other dojos.

What was really nice, a person from another dojo spent the time to contact all the different people who knows Summers Sensei from around the country, Europe, and Okinawa to send their regards. Most of which was printed from e-mails, then placed in a binder and given to Summers Sensei.

People brought sweets, ordered pizza and of course cooked hotdogs (Summers Sensei’s favorite). Good conversions were had and many alcoholic drinks toasted.

Happy Birthday to the greatest Sensei of my lifetime.

Gasshuku Karate Camp Canada 2011

The Gasshuku Karate camp is known for their very hard-working approach to traditional Karate training. The lead instructor is Sensei Ron Fagan and along with his Senpai Budrow, both are senior ranked in Chito-Ryu Karate. Sensei Fagan is a technician and innovator in karate instruction and practices.

After years of hearing how great the training is at Sensei Ron Fagan’s Karate camps, I had to experience this for myself. From a special invitation from a friend, Sensei Charles Quimby invited me to travel with him and his students to the camp this year.

The three day camp was full of scheduled activities to keep all the participants busy. It was evident that the organizers came up with a thorough plan and I had to say they executed it very well. The camp consisted of scheduled training sessions with appropriate breaks.

The start of every training session consisted of warm up exercises that involved medicine balls, with the incorporation of calisthenics. Then the sessions lead into specific focuses, that worked kicks, sweeps, footwork, and kata. At the end of each session, groups were formed and pitted against each other for friendly competition. The competitions were primary non-martial arts related, like making a basketball shot or completing a small puzzle. The interesting part was the losing team had to stay back at the end of the session and perform calisthenic exercises.

“I don’t think we are better then anyone else, we just train different.”
Ron Fagan Sensei

I thoroughly enjoyed the practice of techniques in a breakdown to isolate specific aspects, techniques that may seem elementary, but never the less was appreciated no matter of age, gender or rank. The organization and synchronization of practice with over 60 practitioners at the camp was very inspiring to experience.

The camp in general gave me a re-invigoration for Karate practices and for my martial arts in general. The generous attention and knowledge I received gave me many things to revisit in my martial arts.

“Good Karate is good Karate, no matter what the style.”
Ron Fagan Sensei

Filipino Martial Arts Training

Doce Pares New York definitely offers the best Filipino Martial Arts training around. I attended the one day Doce Pares Instructor Development Course. Sonny Mayo Sensei is an absolute gentleman, and was respectful of the fact that everyone that attended the seminar is from different martial arts disciplines. The material was presented in a clear, organized and systematic manner, which allowed for easy learning. Mayo Sensei is very approachable and had an open mind during instruction which reflected among the good character of his staff at the academy. I believe anyone that is serious about martial arts needs to learn this style.

Karate’s Body Conditioning

At a special evening class at Okikukai Headquarters, most of the current high ranking Shohei Uechi Ryu Senseis including the current Okikukai President Nakahodo Sensei was in attendance.

The class was a traditional class with junbi undo and hojo undo at the beginning of class. Then came the kotae, a regular body conditioning exercise phase that is heavily emphasized in the Uechi Ryu style of karate. Every student was asked to take off their gi tops, and then was asked to break up into three groups to be tested in sanchin. Sanchin testing is very helpful in not just body conditioning, but allows the practitioner to have full one on one guidance from the instructor.

First class at Okikukai Headquarters

This is a picture of my first Karate class at Okikukai Headquarters. I did not participate in class, but I had the honor to sit and talk with Okikukai vice president Arakaki Sensei as we watched the class.

Yamashiro Sensei lead the first class to a group of mostly European students that just arrived on the island earlier that day. It was a very interesting sight for me at the time, because I had never seen a traditional Okinawan karate class being conducted. All of my karate class experiences has been from America and I only wondered how different the classes may be conducted in Okinawa. To my delight, many of the school (dojo) etiquette and beginning class formalities are very similar to what I had been taught in America. I did find that Yamashiro Sensei did have a different teaching style and different way of implementing basic exercises.

As I sat with Arakaki Sensei watching the class, sensei was very helpful in communicating what was happening during the class.