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.