Part 2: Kancho’s General Message Regarding Kyokushin-kan’s Seminars : “Please attend them!” (Concept #4 Part 2) Also, see here regarding “Fighting Posture”.

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Kancho Royama’s central message regarding Kyokushin-Kan seminars: “Attend them, attend them regularly, take what you learn back to your countries!”

In Part 1 of this essay, I described Kyokushin-Kan as something different from “just another IKO.” At least it should be considered so by us. More than that, it WILL be considered something different by anyone who attends Kancho’s instructors seminars, or by anyone who embraces what’s being taught at them as taught by any of our North American instructors who have been to them. Let’s review: Continue reading

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Kancho’s General Message Regarding Kyokushin-kan’s Seminars : “Please attend them!” Concept #4 Part 1.

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Kancho Royama’s central message regarding Kyokushin-Kan seminars: “Attend them, attend them regularly, take what you learn back to your countries!”

Above all other content at Kyokushin-Kan’s International Instructors Seminars, is Kancho’s message, “Attend these seminars! Take what you’ve learned back to your countries!” It is my intent in this blog post to drive that message home, and then discuss some certain realities about the seminars in regards to traveling to them from the US. Continue reading

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 Our prior site had become very outdated, and hard to navigate.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 ligodojo.com and to Budo Karate West? Osu!

The site can be found at http://www.ligodojo.com. (www.budokaratehouse.com 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

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Ligo Dojo Technical Committee Members practicing kata with Sai.

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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

Bunkai : The Marriage of Kata and Kumite – Kyokushin-kan Instructor’s Seminars – Concept #3 Part 2

(This author thought it would be beneficial to the Kyokushin-kan community to summarize, to the best of my ability, some content of Kancho Royama’s Internatinoal Instructors’ Seminars, held every year in Japan. Although I do have the dual advantage of having attended more of Kancho’s seminars than any other American, and of having acted as Japanese-English interpreter for those seminars in many cases, the reader should understand that, still, I can only do the best I can to explain concepts presented by Kancho and other high-level instructors in Japan. I do have the advantage of having been there, but my level of understanding in karate is only just what it is, and I can only explain what Kancho and others explain, through the lens of my own limited understanding. Yet to assist the development of Kyokushin-kan in the West, I will do the best I can.)

In part 1 of my discussion on Bunkai (see Instructors’ Seminars in Japan tab above), I suggested that Bunkai, “application,” is a formal class of karate exercise in which the practitioner studies, with an simulated attacker, the meaning of the individual (and sometimes combined) movements that go together to make up Kata. In that sense, we can think of Bunkai as the marriage of Kata and Kumite, as shown in the picture below. Separate this diagram to where there are two separate circles, one for Kata and one for Kumite, thus eliminating Bunkai where the two meet, and you have the model for karate training that has lost its way, training in which Kumite is merely fighting, and Kata is nothing but a dance.

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This discussion takes us straight to the heart of an earlier discussion posted here (see Our Moment in History on the Kyokushin Beginners’ Guide tab), in which I discussed the evolution and devolution of Kyokushin. Here I mentioned how Kyokushin was always evolving during Mas Oyama’s lifetime, and that to take Kyokushin as a snapshot of exactly what it was at the time you learned it many years ago from Mas Oyama (for example) is destructive to the art because Kyokushin’s greatness derived from its evolution. AND , likewise, the times that Kyokushin fell short (sending Kyokushin fighters prematurely into K-1 kickboxing rings, for example), those shortcomings derived, in some cases, from Kyokushin’s “devolution,” or situations in which Kyokushin lost some of what it once had (albeit sometimes in the name of gaining something else). Continue reading

Fight to be First : Excerpt #5 from A Kyokushin Beginner’s Guide, Coming Soon

(I have previously shared here 4 excerpts from my forthcoming book’s Introduction. The body of the book, however, is made up of 116 one, two, or thee page essays, all describing the ideal attitude to have while practicing karate. All of it is kind of “no duh, of course it’s that way” for the Japanese student, but unless you’ve taught karate in the west, you might be surprised how hard it is to convince the beginning Western karate student how they’re supposed to come in the dojo engaged, rather than passively waiting for karate to fall on them from above. I think you’ll be able to see as you read this first one of the 116 essays. I recently spoke with Annie Gottlieb, my editor for this project, she’s 110 pages in and still loving it. We’re hoping that this is the missing link. Americans, Westerners perhaps, who read this book, will at least understand what’s expected of them as the BEGIN their training in Budo karate.)

1.      Fight to be First

This is the central attitude of training in the Budo karate dojo. You might hear it referred to as “having strong spirit.”

It’s not something someone will give you. It’s the attitude that even the whitebelt must endeavor to BRING to the dojo from his/her first week of training. It is a requirement of participation, not something you’ll get over time by waiting for it to come. Ask yourself: What’s the best way to ensure I’m not last? Continue reading

Kyokushin-kan Instructor’s Seminars – Concept #3 Part 1 – Bunkai : Kyokushin’s Missing Link

Kyokushin-kan's Kaneko Shihan and Ishizawa Shihan performing the Bunkai for the final motion of Pinan sono 5.

Kyokushin-kan’s Kaneko Shihan and Ishizawa Shihan performing the Bunkai for the final motion of Pinan sono 5.

Bunkai – Kyokushin’s Missing Link

(This author thought it would be beneficial to the Kyokushin-kan community to summarize, to the best of my ability, some content of Kancho Royama’s Internatinoal Instructors’ Seminars, held every year in Japan. Although I do have the dual advantage of having attended more of Kancho’s seminars than any other American, and of having acted as Japanese-English interpreter for those seminars in many cases, the reader should understand that, still, I can only do the best I can to explain concepts presented by Kancho and other high-level instructors in Japan. I do have the advantage of having been there, but my level of understanding in karate is only just what it is, and I can only explain what Kancho and others explain, through the lens of my own limited understanding. Yet to assist the development of Kyokushin-kan in the West, I will do the best I can.)

Bunkai means “application” in Japanese. It refers to a type of training, usually performed as formal one-step kumite, in which the practitioner studies the application of the individual movements performed duruing kata by applying them as defenses against the simulated attacks of a training partner . The practice of bunkai is a long-missing-from-Kyokushin, but vital, link between kata and kumite. For most the first 20 years of this author’s Kyokushin experience, I never practiced bunkai. Even in two years of training every day at Mas Oyama’s world headquarters dojo in Japan, we didn’t practice bunkai, certainly not in any way that compares to what is not being stressed at the cutting-edge of training within Kyokushin-kan. Yet knowing what I know now, I sure wish that we had. Continue reading