Although KIME is a national newsletter, he reluctantly admits that there have been some gaps in his knowledge. He has been to Canmore, Alta., for one summer camp and to Vancouver on a couple of occasions -for a tournament or as a stopover on the way to Japan -- but had never had time to look around and see what the West was about. If asked to describe British Columbia, he might have said, "It's like Ontario, only the landscape is more lumpy." It was to correct this rash ignorance that he decided last August to rent a car in Calgary, drive to Vancouver and see what lay between.
After picking up his Pontiac Grand AM, sleeping overnight in Rick Rowell's Calgarian abode, KIME's first stop was the Canmore Summer Camp. For the journey out, he had the pleasure of the company of Sensei Isamu Kato, the Japanese instructor who was going to lead the madness in the mountains. Topping the rise where the rugged panorama of the Rockies is first clearly visible, Kato-Sensei gasped and commanded that the car pull over to the shoulder. He leapt out and snapped a few photos then had KIME shoot him against the mountain backdrop. As they neared the mountains, startling new prospects were revealed with each curve of the road, and Kato-Sensei stopped having the car pull over, he clicked away through the windshield of the moving car. Once in the range itself, surrounded by the stony crags scraping the blue sky, the reach of the mountains lay beyond the grasp Of Kato-Sensei to take it all in with his camera. In despair he put the camera aside and could not be put back into good spirits until he had a medium done pepper steak in Canmore followed by a soak in the hot springs of Banff.
Since KIME was last in Canmore a changing of the guard had taken place. Rompin' Ron Casey had taken over the running of the camp from Jumpin' Jack Kerr, who had gone to Kamloops; B.C. to find gold. Ron has many attributes which KIME finds admirable, including a hot tub in his back yard which was so useful after a day of suffering. He also has an impish grin which suggests if you turn your back on him for a couple of minutes you will find your shoelaces tied together.
The camp was its usual mixture of fun and fear. Kato-Sensei taught a series Of self defense techniques, called "taiho-jitsu," that made more than one person eat grass as they were taken to the ground with wrist locks and arm bars. Higashi-Sensei was his usual charming self, despite his recent gall bladder operation, and did his imitation of a broken record ("One more time, one more time, one more time..."). At the closing banquet, Kato-Sensei showed his appreciation to all who attended the camp by singing a perfect rendition of "I Left My Heart In San Francisco".
From Canmore, KIME took the Trans Canada west through Yoho, Glacier and Revelstoke National Parks, and was whelmed by vista after vista, each more magnificent than the one before. Driving along a precarious stretch to Golden, B.C., which twisted and plunged, barely hanging onto the mountainsides it traversed, KIME peered at the sheer drop beside the roadway and saw a cloud floating far below him. It was then he understood the difference between the concept of mountain and the experience of scaling one's heights.
Nosing the car into the warmth of the Okanagan Valley was a welcome treat after the final two days of cold had in Canmore. The Okanagan has it all: a warm climate, beautiful lakes, mountains and plush, fertile soil. In such surroundings it is a wonder that anyone would dedicate himself to the pain and misery of martial arts. Yet there are two thriving Chito-Ryu dojos in the Kelowna area -- the Kelowna club instructed by Brian DeMasters, and West Bank by Chris Taneda -- which are both dominant forces in the B.C. tournament scene. KIME learned much about karate there, as well as discovering the joys of pear cider and Kokanee beer. KIME stayed at Chris Taneda's place which is in the middle of a peach orchard he owns and works. Though KIME enjoyed himself very much, he feels he may have outstayed his welcome. One day he was sent into the wilderness with a gun-toting Len Comeau (who decided not to waste his bullets), the next he was sent on a 2-1/2 hour river raft trip under the blazing sun on an 18 foot blow-up doll called Gulliver. Many thanks to West Bank students Ross and Adrian who watched KIME turn lobster red on the river ride.
Next KIME went to Kamloops, where Jack Kerr and Judith run a Gold's Gym and a karate club. Jack used to be an RCMP officer, excising the criminal flab from Banff; now he trims and tones Kamloopsians(?), then teaches them to kill. He enticed KIME into an aerobics class where it was learned pain is pain no matter how sweet the music. KIME also visited the dojo of Peter Nelson and was impressed by the eagerness of students to learn Chito-Ryu techniques. Last stop was Vancouver, where Darlene and Bob Tordiffe gave him the best, and most plentiful meal of his trip.
At the end, KIME had to admit that he was smitten by the West and could be lured back any time.
Summer Camp East
Waking up at six a.m. Running at 6:30. A thousand punches before breakfast. These were Just a few of the delights offered by the Summer Camp East, hosted by the Hampton Karate Club and instructed this year by two seventh dans, Senseis Shane Higashi and Isamu Kato. Kato Sensei came to New Brunswick all the way from Gotemba, Japan.
The camp provided many opportunities for karateka to work on basics and settle disputes over techniques. "Easy," Kato-Sensei used to say as he taught class; though it was never so easy that we didn't welcome the "T" sign he made with his hands, indicating a time out. The higher belts were fortunate to learn two katas, Wansu and Ananko, taught to Kato-Sensei by O'Sensei about twenty years ago.
Participants were also lucky to have Kato Sensei demonstrate his knowledge of hypnotism. As well as putting a few young karateka into sleeping trances, both lying on the ground and standing up, during one demonstration, he placed a mesmerized blue belt, Cameron McInnis, between two chairs to form a solid human bridge. And one day he gave the whole class a rest: using mass hypnosis techniques he put the larger part of the group into a deep sleep. He claimed that five minutes in this hypnotic sleep was equivalent to four hours of regular sleep. He also claimed it would help give girls better complexions and make boys stronger. In the old days, he explained, karate masters had their own form of hypnosis: they could stop a samurai mid-charge by shouting a special kiai.
Just getting Kato-Sensei over to Canada was no mean feat. Since the normal leave of absence from the Japanese army (Kato-Sensei is a master sergeant) is only ten days, McInnis Sensei got Bob Lockhart, a retired colonel in the army reserve, and Brenda Roberston, a Senate member, to write the Japanese Consulate in Ottawa to try to get his leave extended. Not understanding Canada's vastness, the army next offered him 20 days to do his coast-to-coast teaching tour. Eventually he was given a full month. Even so, Kato-Sensei found himself a bit rushed and said he hoped he would have more time if he came to Canada again.
Though Sensei Bob McInnis managed to cover costs this year for running the camp without resorting to funds from the national Chito-Kai, it was a close call. To avoid a financial squeeze next year he hopes "people will contact us in advance so we know how many to expect. He adds: "Clubs should encourage black belts to attend since they are the teachers responsible for Chito-Ryu. Five days out of one year is not much. It's a lot cheaper than visiting Japan."
More Summer Madness
by Kim Ruthig, New Hamburg, Ont.
On the weekend of July 20, the New Hamburg Chito-Ryu Karate Club, led by Sempai Jim Hammer, hosted a mini-camp at the Elora, Ont. Conservation Area. The Elora Gorge offered a beautiful outdoor setting to what became an intensive weekend of karate training. Approximately 30 people attended this camp and their response was such that it could easily become an annual event. Unfortunately, due to illness, Higashi Sensei could not attend, but he was ably represented by Sensei Ted Jungblut and Sempais Earl Robertson and Peter Giffen.
Arriving Friday evening with the mosquitoes, karateka pitched tents (almost into the gorge) and started to socialize. The 6:45 a.m. run came awfully early the next morning, followed by a vigorous morning wake-up class led by Robertson-Sempai. After breakfast Jungblut Sensei took his turn and worked us two hours on kumite techniques. In the afternoon, Giffen Sempai taught a session devoted mainly to kata and bunkai. We decided that he needs to get a new watch, because each hour that passed only registered 20 minutes by his watch. Many sunburnt feet, necks and faces later our ordeal for that day came to an end. Those that had the energy to drag themselves waterside had a much needed swim.
That evening a real treat was in store for us. Jim Hammer and his mother had spent the afternoon roasting an entire pig and some beef on a spit. Was it good? you ask. Speak to anyone who was there! Afterwards, campfires were the order of the evening, as well as general vegetating. Then it was early to bed for those who were wise.
The weekend was a success, but it could have only happened with the participation of members from the Ottawa, Pickering, Toronto, Owen Sound and, of course, New Hamburg clubs. The level of instruction we received showed that a successful camp can occur even without Higashi Sensei present. This may encourage him to take time when he needs it to devote himself to family and personal affairs. Many thanks to Jim Hammer for organizing a memorable weekend. See everyone next year!
Edited by Peter Giffen
1 Harfleur Rd.,