Last November 20 Canadians (more or less) descended on Japan for sight-seeing, karate training and the 1983 International Chito-Ryu Soke Cup Championship. What seems to have been an otherwise interesting and rewarding trip was marred slightly by a few (very few) travellers who did not know, or could not be bothered to know, what passes for good behavior in Japan. In future, those who plan to act the part of the ugly Canadian abroad are advised to leave their Chito-Ryu colors at home. On a brighter note, Canada did remarkably well at the November 20th tournament. Brian Demaster won first place in men's kata and Chi Ling third. John Klie pounded his way to a second place in kumite and Rassamee Ling left her mark in both disciplines, winning first in women's kata and second in kumite. Toronto ni-dan Peter Manza has left his mark another way in the following poignant account of his trip to Japan.
Peter Manza talks about Soke Cup in Kumamoto
Japan, Land of the Rising Sun; peace and serenity. Canada. Land of last minute preparations, missed schedules and crowded airports. What's happening to me? I still can't believe I'm going to Japan. Me, a Round Eyes, rubbing elbows with the masters -with history. I'm prepared, you bet. Within me lies a storehouse of knowledge of Japanese language and etiquette. Smile a lot. Nod yes to everything. Close your eyes and eat everything. There's my ticket; I've had shots for diseases I've never heard of. Then the passport photo...beard on, beard off.
On the plane I sit beside Sensei Higashi. He eyes me glumly, waiting for me to say or do something awkward. I straighten my back with samurai indignation and coolly return his gaze. Then, suddenly silently a thought passes between us: I am travelling half way around the world for a tournament and am going to get pummeled.
Many, many hours later we land in Kumamoto. We are met by Sensei Inomoto who crushes my fingers in a handshake. Smiling, looking at my tears he asks if I have a cold. What cold?...it is agony. Then I know there is a conspiracy to disable me before the tournament. They house the 20 of us in a single room at the Kanko Hotel. At night, the snoring, the sleepwalkers, the fevered mutterings of my compatriots, the too small sleeping mats, all conspire to keep me awake. They are trying to wear me down. The toilet is a glorified hole in the ground. It terrifies me.
But I make it to the tournament despite their efforts. Sensei Higashi gives us a pep talk - We have the psychological edge, we're bigger and stronger. As 1 look through the iron mesh of the headgear into the assassin's eyes of my opponent the reassurance gives way to fear. All is lost. It's all over except for the dying. I rush in wildly with a reverse punch, hoping to provoke him to finish me off quickly. The world stops. I've scored: I win the match. New vistas open for me; I know they can be beaten. I see it now: returning to Toronto in triumph, flowers strewn in my path, Nubian dancing girls offered for my pleasure. But gripped in this distracting daze, I lose my next fight.
Oh well, there's always the next tournament.
Annual General Meeting Report
The first weekend in October was a busy one for the members of Chito Kai. It began on September 30th, with the final meeting of the 1982-83 Board of Directors. Among the subjects discussed were: a financial plan outlining priorities for the following year; the attendance of the Chito-Ryu President at the next National Karate Association Annual General Meeting; the possible establishment of Hombu (Head) dojos in Toronto and Vancouver: and the writing of provincial histories by provincial directors.
The following day brought many bleary coffee-drinking karateka together for the Annual General Meeting at the Holiday Inn, Toronto. The turnout was good; particularly impressive was the number of people from out-of-town and out-of-province. Each province was represented in a report written by its director. These were concerned mainly with the increasing number of Chito-Ryu dojos, and the successes of both the east and west summer camps. David Smith presented his President's report which reflected favorably on the leadership of Senseis Higashi and Akutagawa, and praised the efforts of such stalwarts as Joy Guenther and Bob Tordiffe, who manage to keep our organization afloat. With justifiable pride Dr. Smith displayed the new technical manual which is available to black belts, and pointed out the outstanding efforts of the individuals involved. For many the highlight of the day came during a short break when all heads crowded around a videotape of a recent Japan-Canada tournament, which took place in Etobicoke, Ontario last August. All the armchair warriors had a chance to say what they would have done had they fought on team Canada.
Getting back to business, Sensei Higashi and Sensei Akutagawa presented detailed technical reports. Then the re-election of David Smith and Bob Tordiffe as President and Vice-President respectively was announced as well as new 1983-84 Board of Directors. They are as follows:
|Sensei Higashi||Sensei Akutagawa|
|David Smith||Dennis Mandville|
|Art Bellhouse||Lynn Farris|
|Bob Tordiffe||Jack Kerr|
|Bob McInnis||Mike Delaney|
|Ross Rumble||Chi Ling|
|Jean-Noel Blanchette||Glen Jones|
It was decided at the Annual General Meeting that the clinic, to be held the following day would be based on the new technical manual. For the close to forty black belts who turned out to Leaside High School for the clinic, the manual was introduced to them using the Shodan test as a working example. The proper instruction of basics was stressed as the participants were put through their stances, blocks and punches. The clinic emphasized the need to have correct and uniform instruction throughout our style. The new technical manual used in conjunction with the instructor clinics will make Chito-Ryu as accessible in St. John as it is in Vancouver.
Teaching Kumite - an interview with Ted Jungblut
Anyone who knows something about karate in Canada will recognize the name - Ted Jungblut. He was the premier fighter of the '70's and arguably, the best the National Karate Association has produced, having won three National Championships, garnered innumerable CNE and provincial titles, and anchored many Canadian teams in international meets. In recent years Sensei Jungblut has been running his own dojo in Toronto and has produced a crop of young fighters who are increasingly becoming a force on the Ontario tournament circuit. The following is from a recent conversation with Ted about teaching kumite.
Question: Does a sensei have to have been an active competitor like yourself in order to successfully teach his students tournament fighting techniques?
Ted: There is a certain awareness you develop through tournaments. The background helps but you don't have to be a champion to understand sparring, so long as you have an open mind.
Q: You take an active part in the classes you teach, especially in the sparring. How does this help your students?
Ted: Students like to have a model to look up to. But you have to realize you're not out there to fight, you're there to teach. Sometimes you have to turn it on (when you spar) and make them work. You also have to let them came in, give them an opening, to give them confidence. You have to help them find the balance between fighting spirit and control.
Q: Can anyone learn to spar?
Ted: I think almost anyone can. The difficult part is that everybody moves differently, thinks differently. It is up to the instructor to see each person's mistakes and make him understand what they are. I'm still learning to do this. It's easy one-on-one to catch mistakes, but in a class it is difficult. All of a sudden you have to be able to click in on one person in a group. That's the challenge.
Q: Haw much time should a competitor devote to sparring as compared to basics?
Ted: Free sparring is good but you have to warm people up to it. Hard work, basics are the essence. You need basics to learn how to balance your body. People tend to favor one side of their body as they spar, which limits their movements and leaves them vulnerable. The basics round out your development.
Q: What is the connection between kata and sparring?
Ted: Kata is very important. It teaches you continuation, not to lose your intensity or concentration. In sparring a lot of people go one, two movements and that's it. Kata teaches you to keep the intensity over an extended period of time.
Five Days Last Summer
by Bill Dometrich
(Sensei Dometrich is 7th dan and head of the Chito Kai in the United States. This is his account of the karate camp he conducted at Canmore last summer.)
I had often heard of the Canadian Rockies and how beautiful they were. It was not until I entered Canmore, Alberta that I realized that words are insufficient to describe the wonders of this region. Mountains reach upward to touch the clear blue sky and snow lies on the top of each, like a crown resting on the head of a king.
I made the two thousand mile trip from Kentucky to Canmore in a VoIkswagen Camper with my wife Barbara, daughter Sherry, karate student Sally Ziedler and two loyal sidekicks, Prince and Mo, the family dogs. The first night in Canmore, I slept in the V.W. while the girls and the dogs shared the comparative luxury of the Coleman camper we had hauled along.
On Thursday I met with Jack Kerr, the local ChitoRyu karate sensei. Jack is a member of the RCMP and the sponsor of the Canmore clinic. He insisted that we move from our campground to a chateau he had reserved for us. Then we went sightseeing.
Saturday, the first day of the clinic, was lovely, with few clouds and dry weather. Class started at 8:30 a.m. in a local school's gymnasium. After warm-ups and a couple of hours of basics, the class was moved outside to the school's soccer field. The clinic regulations were also explained to the students this first day. One of these rules involved a two beer-a-day limit. A beer or two with a meal was okay; but we had came to Canmore to train not party. Classes usually broke off around 4 p.m. and continued from six until nine at night. Sensei Hal Henschel of Toronto helped with the clinic, introducing three new exercises kihon katas Ichi, Ni and San -- to which we devoted a good deal of time over the next five days.
The night sessions were more informal than the day classes. High ranking black belts learned bo, sai and tonfa katas, while the lower belts practiced basics and Chito-Ryu katas. As well, Jack Kerr had arranged a nightly competition between schools, which included a hill climb, walking race, running race, bicycle race and a tug-of-war.
During the week there was also sight-seeing tours and a raft trip down the Bow river. During any lulls in the activity people always seemed to sleep. On the last day a banquet was held at the Canadian Legion hall, and the two beer limit was lifted. everyone danced the night away with great spirit and brotherhood.
In summary, the 1983 Canmore Karate Clinic was a huge success due to the great people who attended, people interested in Chito-Ryu, people who came to learn, practice and sweat together. Sensei Henschel's assistance and Jack Kerr's organization were also important factors. Comradeship was evident in the clinic in the way people took time from their training to help others. Most important, it seemed as if the spirit of Dr. Chitose were present, and that motivated me and lifted my spirits when I became tired. We departed for Kentucky, glad to be going home, but sad to be leaving so many wonderful friends. Until we see them again, we will keep them in our thoughts.
Edited by Peter Giffen
Assisted by Doreen Docherty
c/o Higashi School of Karate
832 Eglinton Ave. East,
Toronto, Ontario. M4G 2L1