On the weekend of February 11,12 and 13th an historic meeting was held in Toronto. Present at the meeting were members of the Technical Committee of Chito-Kai Canada, the Executive and a number of directors. The purpose of the meeting was two-fold: (l)To develop the technical program that would he available for all Chito-Ryu clubs across Canada; (2) To review the relationship of Chito-Kai Canada to the National Karate Association white paper proposal.
The meeting was certainly an unqualified success with the Technical Program being developed and finalized and as a result we now have available a technical program in manual that can be used in all the dojos across Canada. Since the meeting the technical material has been typed into a manual and we are now in the process of making some editorial changes and hopefully it will be available by the middle of April. The development of the Technical Program has been one of the main concerns of the executive and directorship of Chito-Kai since the inception of the Chito-Kai organization. Through the program we will now be able to completely unify the teaching of Chito-Ryu across Canada. The program manual will he made available to all Senseis and senior Black belts in all local dojos and as a result all karateka will become familiar with the requirements for each rank.
During the three days of reviewing the technical material contained in Chito-Ryu it became very obvious that the Chito-Ryu style is extremely rich in both history and technical content. The Technical Committee and the Executive are sure that all of you will also realize this once you have had an opportunity to see the program. The purpose of developing the program was to standardize the training of Chito-Ryu across Canada and provide some order in the training of (1) kihon; (2) renzoku waza; (3) kata; (4) Bunkai and (5) kumite. The Technical Committee and the Executive realize that it would take some time to fully implement the whole program however it seems reasonable that the program could be introduced over the next 6-12 months. A wonderful time to more fully understand the program will be at the summer camps in the east and west and through various clinics arranged across Canada. The Technical Committee consisting of Sensei Higashi, Sensei Akutagawa and Sensei Henschel along with the Executive Committee wish to encourage all karateka to immediately take advantage and adopt the program and thus insure a speedy consolidation of the Chito-Ryu style.
The relationship of Chito-Kai to the National Karate Association White Paper Proposal was drawn up and accepted by the Executive Committee. A copy of this statement has been sent to all directors across Canada and interested karateka should contact their provincial directors for a copy of this statement.
As your president, it was an honor for me to be present at this three day meeting and to help in the further development and progress of the Chito-Ryu style. Until next time, train hard, keep happy and KIME.
Dave Smith, President,
During the past few weeks, (February 25 - March 7th) Sensei Higashi was teaching in Calgary and Edmonton and attended the meeting of the National Karate Association Technical Committee in Vancouver. Since the last edition of KIME there have been more clubs join Chito-Kai in Canada and there are now presently 64 member clubs. With this number of clubs affiliated with the Chito-Kai Association, ChitoRyu style represents the largest style in the National Karate Association and Sensei Higashi went to the meetings stating the position of Chito-Ryu with regard to future karate association policies.
THE USE OF BOGU
As it is now becoming evident we will eventually have protective equipment available for use in the Chito-Ryu style in Canada. It seems timely to include a couple of articles reflecting on the purpose of Bogu. These two articles written by Peter Giffen and Eric Peters have been forwarded to the technical committee of the National Karate Association to support the position of the Chito-Ryu style that we use protective equipment in our tournaments.
BOGU MEANS PROTECTION, NOT FULL CONTACT:
Within the development of Karate, from its deep mythical roots to its modern scientific approaches, there exists a form which successfully challenges the limited method of non-contact sparring. After all, we are participants in a sport with a history of combat training, and the purpose of Bogu-Kumite is to safely retain the practice of these classical techniques. One may argue that these kumite techniques can be practiced in a non-contact way, but non-contact is in reality restricted contact. It not only restricts the use of techniques, but often results in injury. As participants in real-life situations, it is imperative to have the experience and control learned from the realistic practice of techniques,-first to avoid fighting and, if this is not possible, to avoid causing serious injury through the correct defensive actions.
Armour technology has been developed through the ages to prevent injury, at one time in more warlike applications, and now in the sports arena. The adoption of armour in contact sports has served to rule out destructive behaviour; while developing good sportsmanship and the relaxed practice of correct techniques. In this way, Bogu allows the karate-ka to understand the full potential of violence, without the threat of injury of death.
All Karate-ka are ethically bound to the prohibition of violence. Paradoxically', we study it and yet are forbidden its indulgences. Injury is its indulgence, and injury is the essence of violence.
Bogu-kumite, is not an escalation of contact; it is an admission that the acts of blocking, punching, kicking, and falling are indeed contact, and that an "accidents-will happen" attitude is unjustifiable! The rules of the game remain the same, only no one is hurt.
The endeavour to institute bogu tournaments is simply a further expression of our advanced respect for life and regard for health. Bogu-kumite is wholly distinct from other existing contact forms.
When I first attended a large Bogu-kumite tournament in Tokyo, in 1979, I witnessed a sparring form which was faster and harder than I had ever experienced, yet eloquent and demonstrative of the proper karate motion and dynamics. My enlightenment on the matter of armour, its restrictions and benefits, came at the event when all two hundred of the fighters left unscathed. No other method would have netted these results. Since then I have had the pleasure of association with CHITO-KAI, an organization firmly dedicated to the improvement of karate as an ethically based practice, where the development of protective Bogu armour is regarded as an urgent social responsibility.
by Peter Giffen
I have heard that the NKA executive is concerned about the bogu tournaments which the Chitokai have been staging the last couple of years. As far as I can determine, there is a fear for the safety of the competitors in these 'full contact' matches and worry that this form of kumite might lead to bad technique and the general decline of the art's reputation. If this were the case, I would be worried too -but it is not.
Despite rumors to the contrary, bogu-kumite (protective armour sparring) is not dangerous. I have participated in three All-Japan bogu tournaments, fought in the 1979 ChitoKai/Rembukai Bogu Shiai in Tokyo (with over two hundred black belt fighters) and take my lumps in the two North American championships. Not a single person was seriously hurt at any of these tournaments. There were a few customary bruises on unprotected arms and legs, but no one had to be rushed to the hospital or revived by smelling salts, which is a remarkable record for any set of karate contests.
This is a record that cannot be matched by the supposed 'non-contact' events that the NKA endorses. For even with the introduction of knuckle protectors and strictly enforced no-facial-contact rules, a NKA tournament is still a dangerous proposition. I have yet to attend a National Championship or a CNE tournament where at least one (and usually more) unfortunate fighter has not been taken to the hospital. Lest we forget, at the last National Championship, Bino of B.C., had his leg broken and our own beloved Ron Tkatz flew home clutching broken ribs as well as his Sportsmanship trophy. We have been lucky to get away with only broken bones; for at the '78 Nationals in Montreal, a fighter almost died, choking on his tongue after being hit during a hard-fought match. The list of injuries, as we all know, goes on. And while I do not lose sleep over the prospect of having to fight at a NKA tournament, I always make sure my OHIP card is in my wallet before I go.
On to the next question. Are we trying to turn our students into bare-chested brawlers a la Yves Theriault, who prefers a left hook to oi-zuki? In a word, NO. If you look at the techniques of our competitors at the provincial and national level you will notice they have nothing in common with the wild, flailing stuff of the boxers who kick. In fact, the rules that govern the bogu matches are much the same as those which govern NKA contests; without the protectors, Chitokai fighters are indistinguishable from those of other styles, unless it is for the excellence of their techniques.
Indeed, if skeptics still remain, all they need do is to go the Chitokai dojo of their choice and observe the workouts. They will notice, more often than not that the bogu are not used in the course of a class, and sometimes are not slipped from under their cover of dust and cobwebs for months at a time. Classes consist mostly of time-honored basics and katas, and often sparring is done--gasp!--without any equipment on.
To even call bogu-kumite full-contact sparring is a misnomer. According to Dr. Tsuyoshi Chitose--pioneer researcher and leading promoter of bogu for kumite -the purpose of bogu is not to encourage full-contact fighting. He says that a karate man should have developed strong technique through basics and kata before he ever enters the ring. The bogu is meant, therefore, to protect fighters from each others' lethal karate techniques, not to encourage them to injure one another.
However, I sense there is some deeper reason for the NKA's objections to bogu-kumite. I think that their fear is a parental one. Just as a father might counsel his son against going to a certain university because it will take him away from home, so the NKA upbraids us for the bogu tournaments because they fear it is a sign we are going our own way. Well, let me assure them that this is not the case. If they would look about them, the NKA would realize that Chitokai's participation in the organization is as strong as it ever was. Just look at the number of Chitokai students who are on provincial and national teams. On the Ontario team to the Winnipeg Championship, for example, Chitokai competitors -- Dominic Pitto, Steve Bauld, Margaret Shiels and myself -- comprised a third of its members. Chitokai remains committed to its support of karate's national governing body.
We practice bogu-kumite because it is a part of our style, just as Heian Yo Dan is practiced by Shotokan students because it is part of theirs. And besides, with all the gear's safety features, it just plain makes sense. Furthermore, the bogu tournaments are not a substitute for the NKA ones, but are an addition that is meant to give our students a more rounded approach to sparring.
So the NKA should not concern itself. We are still practicing sound karate techniques and we have no plans to leave the national body. I appreciate all their fatherly concern for us and would close in assuring you that we are 100% behind the NKA.
FOR THE DOJO
Large -- CHITO-KAI CREST - BANNER for front of Dojo
- Approx. 4 feet x 5 feet
- Crest on white background
- Silk screened with lining
- Cost $50.00
Payable to Chito-Kai
c/o Joy Guenther
1 Harfleur Rd.
Agincourt, Ont. M1T 2X4