Still So Many Mistakes! Help Support Our World Kyokushin-kan Kata Championships US Team.


At Shihan Petrovich’s Maine Kyokushin Open this weekend. May 25, 2013.

The Budo Karate West reading public should have no doubt that we, in the United States, lag far behind the international norm for kata, and lag WAY behind the Japanese standard within Kyokushin-Kan. Yet the only way to improve is to practice and participate in competitions, so I, personally, laud Ligo Dojo instructors Amy Kaufman and Donald Harris for the spirit and determination they show in their willingness to try. Even when standards differ, bringing those standards together is the only way to improve. In karate, isolation of the weak helps keep karate weak.

Amy and Don will be competing next month in Japan, both in the Kyokushin-kan World Kata Championships, and Donald Harris in the Kyokushin-kan Weight Category Shinken-Shobu Tournament (with legal head punches). It was perfect timing, therefore, that they both had the chance to participate this past weekend in Shihan Marty Petrovich’s Maine Kyokushin-Kan Open Karate Tournament. We are desperately seeking donations if anyone wants to help support their trip, so please Donate Here if you are able. Remember that we are a nonprofit and your donation is tax deductible.

This weekend, Amy took 3rd place in women’s advanced kata with Gekisai-sho, and Don took second place in the men’s division, and then later in the day, both demonstrated Gekisai-sho (the mandatory kata for the Japan tournament’s elimination round) together, this in a country where kata is not unified, so even the judges are often not sure what to judge as correct. All three video clips are here, and we want to make one important point loud and clear:  We make these videos so we can study and see clearly what needs to be improved. Both competitors did better the second time, when performing together, than they did the first time, when competing separately. When they were competing, they made MANY MISTAKES . . . and we are glad to see it, because now they can see, clearly, how much work they still have to do.

Included also here are the clips of two fights that Don Harris had this weekend. There were only 4 fighters in his division, and he lost the first fight against the day’s winner, and then won his second fight in the fight-off for 3rd place. Note that whereas the fighters are trying to kick each other in the head, none of those kicks land. In Japan next month, in this rare tournament with Shinken-Shobu Rules, head punches will also be legal. Good thing Don has a good natural sense for how to protect his head! He already about lost his in this fight . . .

Kyokushin-kan members in the US should keep in mind that Kancho Royama and his instructors in Japan are working furiously to unify kata and bunkai throughout all of Kyokushin-Kan worldwide, and that that work starts in the International Instructors Seminars in Japan. Instructors should all attend. US Kyokshin-Kan members, please take note! Kancho wants us to be able to identify the fine points of kata that will allow all of us to unify our kata worldwide, so that even when we meet for our domestic tournaments, every competitor is working on refining the same points. Here is Don’s second fight, and also the two kata clips.


Can You Help Support Two Ligo Dojo Students Competing this June in Japan?

Ligo Dojo Instructors and Technical Committee Members Amy Kaufman (shodan) and Donald Harris (1st kyu) will be representing the United States on June 23rd, in Kyokushin-Kan’s World Kata Championships in Tokyo, and the following day Don Harris will be competing in Kyokushin-Kan’s weight category tournament with Shinken Shobu Rules (legal head punches). Can you help support their trip? We decided to send them at the very last minute because other competitors from the United States had not enrolled. If any Budo Karate West reader can help support their trip, whether with $5 or $500, please contact us, or click here to make a contribution. Our dojo is a 501.c.3 nonprofit, and even though, in this case, you’d be supporting our instructors rather than our kids, your contributions are tax deductible (US).


Amy (left front), and Don (right front) are members of Ligo Dojo’s new Technical Committee.


Amy fought in the World Tournament in Hungary in 2009. Despite this ferocious picture, she lost this fight against South Africa’s champion.


Don Harris has fought once before in Japan. In this first round fight of the All-Japan tournament, he’s fighting against the competitor who won the entire day. I.e. Don had the luck (depending on how you look at it) to face the champion in the very first round.


Amy competing in a North America kata tournament.

Below are some clips of Donald fighting recently in Rochester, NY.

A New Website Launched Today for our Kyokushin-Kan Branch In North Carolina, Ligo Dojo of Budo Karate.

And it’s about time! Our prior site had become very outdated, and hard to navigate. Anyone in Kyokushin-kan who wants website advice, should check out this site and contact Nathan Ligo if I can be of any assistance. It’s been a long time in the making, and I’m sure there will still be many things to fix. All Ligo Dojo students, take note! Lots of good information here for you as well! (By the way Budo Karate West will be getting a new face as well. I learned a lot of things building this second site, and there are many things that can be done to enhance the blog, Budo Karate West, as well.) North American instructors, would you be so kind as to link to and to Budo Karate West? Osu!

The site can be found at ( will be discontinued). To see the site Click Here: Ligo Dojo of Budo Karate.

ligodojo4 Continue reading

A Ligo Dojo Technical Committee? Saturday 6 AM, April 27


Ligo Dojo Technical Committee Members practicing kata with Sai.


Application of Sai vs. Boken (wooden sword).

Some good advice here for all Ligo Dojo students. Please read. You’ll note that I’m discussing a particular group, but the advice applies to everyone, and there’s come critical advice here within. Read below.

This morning was our 4th Saturday, 6 AM, seeing what we can do to form a Ligo Dojo Technical Committee class. A fancy term, but all it means is forming a contact group that moves a step beyond and takes the technical aspect of the training to a new level. We started with five adults, and now have four. The expectation is that we meet once a week for 2 hours for a year, that students never miss a class, and that it’s always a 3rd class per week, i.e. that they’re always present in at least 2 regular classes per week, so that they can help raise the standard in the regular classes by example. In theory, any adult students that can make that commitment are welcome to join. More on that below, because there are a couple strict requirements. This group plans to go to Japan next year for the instructors seminar with Kancho Royama. Continue reading

Nathan Ligo fighting with Japan Champion Masuda Akira in 1991

We chose the order of opponents for Masuda’s 100-man kumite by lots. I drew number 7. By the time he’d fought 60 90-second fights that day, he was pretty spent. Here, right at the beginning, he was just getting warmed up. This fight did a lot to build my confidence because I stood up to a Japan champion for some time . . . before he won by TKO, his famous chudan mawashi geri that completely collapsed my lungs. I was 20 years old. It was 1991.

Blackbelt Magazine Article about Mas Oyama by Nathan Ligo


One of my earliest forays into published writing was this Blackbelt Magazine Article that ran in 1994. I was at Davidson College soon after the two years I spent in Japan. The article begins:

The Japanese refer to Mas Oyama’s Kyokushin Karate as kenka karate, meaning “brawling” or “brutal” karate. But Mas Oyama tells is students “Baka! Kenka karate ja-nai! Budo Karate da!” which translates to “Fool! This is not brawling karate! It’s budo karate!” Continue reading

Nathan Ligo Interviewed on ABC News

Video: ABC News Interview 2011


Click here to see the Ligo Dojo of Budo Karate Website.