by Harvey Brown
In 1960 Andre Langelier started a Karate school in the Ottawa-Hull region. Mr. Langelier was a 1 kyu, in the Shotokan Style of karate when he opened his first dojo. He received this level of proficiency from Mr. Harry Anatasias. He obtained his Shodan under Tsuroka Sensei who was then the Chito Ryu representative in Canada.
Mr. Langelier continued to teach the style of Karate in which he obtained his shodan, Chito Ryu and eventually he developed and managed five dojos, with the main one situated on Rideau Street, another in the West End of Ottawa, one in the South, one in Vanier and one in Hull, Quebec.
In 1972, he obtained the rank of godan from Yamamoto Sensei who was then still a student of O-Sensei. Mr. Langelier by obtaining this rank became the highest ranking Canadian born Karateka (at that time).
In 1971, the " Canadian Yudansha Karate Association", was formed, to promote and regulate the practise of karate. Amongst the founding directors, were Andre Langelier, Fernand Cleroux, George Sylvain, Mike Litwinczuk and Orville Frenette. Letters Patent were issued on February 15, 1972, incorporating the above association of which Andre Langelier became president. The name of the association was changed in the early 1970's unofficially, to the Canadian Karate Association, CKA, and included clubs throughout Quebec and Ontario.
The creation of the CKA caused the Ottawa-Hull region to be separated from Tsuroka Sensei's organization but did not sever contact with the Honbu dojo in Japan. O-Sensei and his then principal student Yamamoto Sensei, visited the Ottawa area in 1967 and Yamamoto Sensei by himself in 1974.
Many of Mr. Langelier's students went on to eventually operate their own dojos such as Mr. George Sylvain, Mr. Fernand Cleroux, Mr. Harry Villeneuve, Mr. Pierre Myre, Mr. Mike Litwin, Mr. Gilbert Kingsbury, Mr. Claude Villeneuve and Mr. Harvey Brown.
Mr. Langelier abandoned his active participation in karate in 1975 and died in 1990.
Langelier's karate schools were taken over and operated by others (mostly Yudansha he had trained and promoted). The main dojo was first operated after Mr. Langelier's retirement from karate, by Mr. Wib Corcoran. Mr. Corcoran ran the school until 1980, when Harvey Brown the Head Instructor, at the time, took over the responsibilities for the management of the club.
Contact was made with Higashi Sensei in 1981, and Mr. Brown and the club was put on probation for one year. In 1982, Mr. Brown went for his Nidan when O-Sensei visited Canada. Since then the club has been an active member both in the National Karate Association (NKA), Canadian Chito-Kai, Karate Ontario and Ontario Chito-Kai.
In 1997, a new page in the history of the dojo was turned. After being on Rideau Street since 1960, previously as Langelier Karate Club, and as the Ottawa Chito-Kai, we relocated to the current location at 200 Cooper Street. In moving to this location we have doubled the actual workout area. The atmosphere of the dojo is upbeat and everyone is starting to take ownership, which is how every dojo should be treated. The environment surrounding the dojo has a lot of potential, and in the past three months we have seen an increase in walk-by traffic drop-in and enrollments.
The dojo currently has a total of 18 members at the Yudansha level, of which four are currently not training. We anticipate that in the next 12 months the total number will increase to 24. There are currently six 1 kyu who are training to take their yudansha grading this year and January of 1999.
The members range from five years to 71 years in age, with the eldest being one of the original students that started with Andre Langelier. Over the years the club has had several members selected to represent Ontario and Canada at both national and international events. In the Youth Division we have Alana, Jenna and Vanya Welch and Linh Doh who was the "1989 Soke Cup's 12 year old Kumite Champion". In the adults we have had Harvey Brown, Steve Parker, Bill Anderson, Rick Going, Victor Brown and Roch Defayette. We currently have several students that have the potential to continue this tradition and with the number of past competitor, the tradition will continue.
The dojo is an active member of the community through demonstrations and charitable events. Each year we host a "Budo for Foods" demonstration. The original event was created in Montreal, by a former student of Chito Ryu, Mr. Earl Robertson. The Ottawa Chito-Kai has been a contributing dojo to this event since its conception. Since then Ottawa has organized its own "Budo for Foods" and has held three of these events. Different martial artists are invited to demonstrate their particular martial art to the public. Over the years we have had from China Tai Chi, and Wushu; from the Philipines Kali and from Japan Karate (Chito Ryu) and Kobujutsu.
The cost of admission is a can of non perishable food item. The collected food items are given to the Ottawa Food Bank who then distributes the quantity to the community at large. This year's event we are looking forward to adding to the list of martial arts both Judo and Aikido.
The dojo is open six days per week and offers two morning classes, three lunch hour classes and regular classes Monday to Friday from 6:00p.m until 9:00p.m. and on Saturdays from 9:00a.m. until 12:30p.m. Should you be visiting the Nation's Capital please drop in and train, or just to say hello.