In this post I would like to share with you something that I have recently been inspired to do. Let me start by telling you how I became inspired.
I tested for the 全日本空手道連盟, All Japan Karaqte-do Federation (JKF) 四段 4th Dan over the summer vacation at the 全日本空手道指導者研修会 All Japan Karate-do Instructors' Training Course held at the 空手道会館 Karate-do Training Hall in Tokyo. This is the headquarters for the Japanese Karate-do organization recognized under the World Karate Federation (WKF).
(公益財団法人 全日本空手道連盟 日本空手道会館, Photo retreived from http://www.jkf.ne.jp/map, 2016)
In preparation for this grading I spent a lot of time practicing 形 Kata. However, since the style of Karate-do that I practice, Chito-Ryu Karate-do, is not a recognized afiliate of the JKF I had to perform a different style's kata. I chose to perform 剛柔流の形 Kata from the Goju-Ryu style as, in my opinion, the stances and breathing components of this style are most similar to Chito-Ryu.
I had to perform two kata for the test. One 指定形 Shitei Kata, this is a kata from the list of designated kata recognized to represent the 4 major styles affiliated with the JKF; 松濤館 Shotokan (sometimes referred to as Shotokan-Ryu in Japan), 剛柔 Goju (Goju-Ryu and Goju-Kai), 和道 Wado (Wado-Ryu and Wado-Kai), and 糸東 Shito (Shito-Ryu and Shito-Kai). From this list I chose to perform セイパイ Seipai, a well recognized Goju kata frequently performed in competitions all over the world. The second kata was, 得意形 Tokui Kata this can be translated as a Specialty Kata. The kata does not have to be performed exactly in accordance to the Shitei guidelines, but it still needs to be a kata from one of the affiliated styles. I chose to perform 制引戦 Seiyunchin, also a Goju style kata not to be mistaken for the similar Shito kata Seinchin.
(Seiyunchin, performed by Morio Higaona Sensei, uploaded to youtube.com Sept. 3, 2009)
To help me get a better feel for these kata I wanted to see them performed by someone with a similar body type as myself. I asked my friend Richard (Ricky) Kaminski, an Australian Goju practitioner living in Fukui Prefecture (Pictured below) to film himself doing Seipai and send me a copy to help me. He abliged and it was this video that inspired me to begin a much larger project.
(The Author and Richard Kaminski Sensei, Okayama Momotaro Hai, 2013)
I will include the video of Kaminski Sensei doing Seipai later in this post. But, first let me tell you more about this project that I want to start. I will need the support of the Karate World to make it a success. I truly believe that this project can be something that brigns us together, crossing the boundaries of Ryu-ha and Kai-ha for something much bigger; Humanity. I will outline the project below and include two video examples.
I am assuming that you have heard of the "Ice Bucket Challenge" to raise awareness of ALS and the "22 Pushup Challenge" where you do 22 pushups for 22 days to promote awareness for veteran suicide prevention and honor military service members and veterans. Well I am proposing something similar. I would like to start a Power Spot Kata Challenge and nominate people around the world to film themselves performing their favorate Kata in a place that is special to them (a Power Spot). You can perform the kata in your Gi or in sweats, that doesn't matter. This is not a tournament and I ask that the kata not be critiqued by the public. This is not about that. It is about bringing people who love Karate-do together in a common goal. I would like to use this project to raise awareness for cancer research.
I have lost 4 people very close to me to cancer, two of whom were my Karate-do Sensei; Sensei Micheal Delaney, whom I have written about in previous posts. He was like a father to me in many ways and guided my Karate-do training since I began practicing. And, Sensei Robert (Bob) Gascoigne Who played a big part in my training from around the time of 2nd and 1st Kyu. (Both are pictured below). I have been quoted as saying that these two men were "the Heart and Strength" of the Atlantic Karate Club, where I began my karate journey.
(Micheal Delaney Sensei and Robert Gascoigne Sensei, Halifax, NS, Canada, 1990s)
What to Do
I ask that you film your kata and post it to youtube.com or facebook or some mainstream social media site. Please include a link to this blog (understanding-karatedo.blogspot.jp) and any information about cancer research foundations in your area. Of course, information on ways to donate to cancer research and donations to cancer research would also be great, but I am in no way soliciting money from you. Also, please nominate others to do the same.
To start this off, I nominate anyone and everyone who was taught by or who had a friendship with Delaney Sensei and Gascoigne Sensei.
Video 1 - Chito-Ryu Shihohai performed by the author at the Temple of Heaven, Bejing, China, 2014. The kata begins at 1:46 into the video. Video 2 - Goju Seipai performed by Kaminski Sensei in Fukui Prefecture, Japan, 2016.
(Waterfield Shi ho hai, Bejing, China, 2014)