December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

October 01, 2013

Grading success!

Jesmar, Christian and Daryl

Congratulations to the following Toronto Branch members who were successful in recent gradings:

Christian - 1st Dan (Sep 30)

Jesmar & Daryl - 6th Kyu (Sep 25)

September 03, 2013

Atsugi Super Trip 2013

Decoration, Samukawa Jinja
Following on from the World Taikai and International Study Session I headed off on the bullet train to Yokohama and transferred to Atsugi in Kanagawa Prefecture (just south west of Tokyo).

I was warmly welcomed by Morohoshi sensei (Atsugi Minami Doin) and his family. Morohoshi sensei has been a great friend since we first met at Atsugi Doin in 1985.

On the way to Samukawa Jinja with Morohoshi sensei and Harutoshi-kun
Despite a very busy work schedule, Morohoshi sensei ensured that I had a great time during my stay.

Samukawa Jinja (est. 5th century)

We enjoyed a trip to the Samukawa Jinja - a shinto shrine with origins in the 5th century! We also enjoyed a delicious sushi dinner with the Morohoshi family, friends and kenshi of Atsugi Minami Doin.

Dinner with the Morohoshi family, Mr. Matsuda, the Ozawas and the Atsugi Minami kenshi
I am also indebted to Mr. Matsuda who despite a painful knee injury took me out for a full day tour of the beautiful Izu Peninsula and surrounding area.

Surf City Atami
 On September 1st I attended a public training session of the Takasago Beya ("stable") of sumo. The senior rikishi of Takasago Beya is Asasekiryu - a well known Mongolian athlete who previously held the high rank of sekiwake.

Takasago Beya morning training

Asasekiryu and Makaroku
Following the sumo training, I set off on a trip to Mount Oyama (1,252 m) along with Kazutaka Hiate and his children. Once there we visited the Oyama Afuri Jinja (shinto shrine). In order to reach the shrine it is necessary to walk up ~2,000 steps, take a steep cable car/train-type thingy then walk up a bit more.  So it's fair to say that arrival at the top is a welcome experience! The view from the shrine and the shrine itself were both spectacular.


Oyama Afuri Jinja
I then spent a few days with my teacher Hiate sensei (Atsugi Doin and Tokai University Branch) and his family. After a big welcome dinner we set out the following day to pick some of the biggest grapes I've ever seen! This was followed with a fine lunch and a soothing onsen visit. Ahh!

Big dinner with the Hiates!

Hiate sensei - hasami waza
Hiate sensei also took time off work to ferry me all the way across Kanagawa, Tokyo and Chiba to Narita Airport for my return flight.

I wish to thank the Morohoshi family, the Hiate family and Mr. Matsuda for their incredible hospitality and kindness during my stay. 

Iro iro domo arigato gozaimashita.


August 29, 2013

2013 International Study Session (Hombu, Japan)

** Disclaimer: This post contains photos that display the manji ( 卍 ) - a symbol widely used in Japan to express Buddhist ideals. Due to misinterpretation of the manji in the West it is no longer used in Shorinji Kempo. **

Finishing up in Osaka our next stop was Tadotsu, Kagawa for the Shorinji Kempo International Study Session (Aug 27-29 inclusive) at Hombu.

We arrived in Marugame around noon on Aug 26 and those of us who were not participating in gradings had the opportunity to visit the major historical sites of Shorinji Kempo in Tadotsu.

Reception room
Kongo Zen shrine
Some examples included Kaiso's original dojo, Hombu Doin and Kaiso's home. It was thrilling to experience first hand the places where Kaiso and the "founding fathers" of Shorinji Kempo built this wonderful art.


Hombu Doin
Olsson sensei (Sweden) and Williams sensei (UK) try some moves in Kaiso's original dojo
In the evening we ended up (not surprisingly) at the famous Ikkaku Restaurant in Marugame for the best chicken dinner on Earth!
Waiting for the Ikkaku magic!
US Federation members mid-feast!
Training in the Study Session itself was tremendous despite the high temperatures and humidity that were affecting most of Japan at that time.

Onogi sensei (ouch!)
Yamasaki sensei - ryu nage
The 3rd Dan and Higher group was mostly taught by Kawashima sensei (Hombu) and Onogi sensei (Saitama). We were also fortunate to get extra one-on-one help from Yamasaki sensei (Hombu) and Yajima sensei (Saitama) throughout the sessions and a special lesson on Day 3 from Aosaka sensei (France).

Kawashima sensei explains...
With Peter Monk sensei (New Zealand) - a pioneer of WSKO
Much of the training focused on ensuring basic items were clearly established and then used this foundation for improving our skills as examiners and judges.

With Johan Frendin (Sweden) who successfully passed his 5th dan exam despite a battle with major illness. Get well soon Johan - you are GREAT!
One special feature of the Study Session was an optional Hokei Seminar on the teachings of Kongo Zen by Urata sensei.

Getting ready to party!
On the evening of Day 2 we had a good ol' fashioned Hombu party!  Branches and Federations performed skits on the main stage as we talked with our many international friends, old and new.
"And if you buy one now we'll give you this second one absolutely free!" Helping (?) Uebayashi-san at the concession stand.
More photos of the activities at Hombu can be found here (see "Fourth Day" onward).  

Thank you to all the Hombu staff for all their hard work (and patience!) in hosting this fabulous event.


August 25, 2013

2013 Shorinji Kempo World Taikai in Osaka

Preliminary rounds, 2013 World Taikai

Back in Japan! This time the occasion was the 2013 Shorinji Kempo World Taikai in Osaka at the massive Osaka Municipal Central Gymnasium.

Women's Dan Category expertly judged by Hiate sensei.
The World Taikai is held every four years and, as the name implies, is a gathering for members from across the world. Represented were members from every country from Finland to New Zealand including our very own Canada.

Men's Dan Embu
 The first day of the Taikai (Aug 24) consisted of preliminary rounds along with a Judges Meeting.

The evening of Aug 24 was the Taikai Eve Reception - a lavish event held at the Hotel New Otani Osaka. During the Reception the US, Spanish and Canadian Federations received Distinguished Service Awards from WSKO President Yuuki So.

The US, Canadian and Spanish Federations received Distinguished Service Awards at Taikai Eve Festival
Reunion of the Hiate sensei deshi group!
The main part of the Taikai was held on Sunday Aug 25 and included Embu competition from Kyu to Dan ranks as well as a Dantai (group) Embu event.  More photos of the Taikai and the results by category can be found here.

Perhaps one of the most memorable parts of the event was the epic closing performance by members of the Osaka Shorinji Kempo Federation (hosts of the event).  Their performance was an interpretation of the theme "chaos to harmony" by using embu on a massive Kurosawa-esque scale.

Another wonderful part of the Taikai was getting to see former Toronto members Asuka Tomari and Takashi Kariya (and family) once again. Asuka was competing in the Dan Level Men and Women's Embu category. You can see her embu below.


Reunion with Toronto alumnus Asuka - now based in Nara.

Reunion with Toronto alumnus Takashi Kariya (and genki Takeru!) - now based in Fukuoka.
In addition, the opportunity to see friends and teachers from Japan and the rest of the world once again was truly great. It'd be tremendous to have such an opportunity more frequently.

We wish to thank Yoshida sensei, the members of the Osaka Shorinji Kempo Federation and WSKO Hombu for all their hard work in putting on such a memorable event.


May 29, 2013

Thank you Paul!

Paul Vaz - the Smiling Ironman of CAMH Security!

Tonight's class was the last time the members of Toronto Branch we were blessed to have Paul Vaz at the helm of CAMH Security.

Paul has been looking after the entrance to our dojo since November 29, 2005 and we have been warmly welcomed by him at every practice over all these years and have been continually amazed by his dedication, friendliness and rich life experience.

Paul is moving to a new site in a few days and will remain there until he retires later this year after 50 years of continuance employment.

All of the members of Toronto Branch wish Paul continued success and happiness in his forthcoming retirement.

Paul Vaz is great!


May 22, 2013

18th Annual "Kickathon" for CAMH - UPDATED

On the evening of May 22, ten members of Shorinji Kempo Toronto Branch held their annual charity "Kickathon" in aid of drug addiction research and treatments offered by CAMH.

Five hundred kicks and a lot of yelling later we were extremely pleased to have raised over $8,300 for CAMH's drug addiction programs.

Update: We have now finished collecting donations and are delighted to announce that the final total raised in this year's event was $8,745.

We would like to thank our many generous sponsors for their kind consideration in funding our initiative and also the CAMH Foundation for logistics and support.

Since this event was first held we have raised $110,715 for the programs of CAMH.


March 03, 2013

Haru Matsuri Demonstration

At the invitation of North York Branch, eight members of Toronto Branch took part in a public demonstration today at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre as part of their 2013 Haru Matsuri (spring festival) .

The demonstration consisted of typical class as well as displays of embu by members of North York and Toronto Branches.

We would like to thank North York Branch for allowing us an important opportunity to publicize Shorinji Kempo in Ontario.

Here are some photos of the event.


February 25, 2013

Special Dan Grading

Hondo Dojo, Hombu

On February 22, 2013, Toronto Branch Master John McCulloch passed the examination for 6th Dan at Shorinji Kempo Hombu in Tadotsu, Kagawa, Japan.

With the examiners following the test (Onishi sensei - left, Kawashima sensei - right)

The examiners for the test were Onishi sensei (WSKO Director) and Kawashima sensei (WSKO Hombu Instructor).

Receiving inkajo from Onishi sensei

L to R: Suzuki sensei, Kawashima sensei, J. McCulloch, Pettersson sensei, Onishi sensei

In addition to the dan examination, John McCulloch also tested for and received certification as a 1st Class Examiner.

Ikkaku Restaurant in Marugame - the essentail dining spot for all kenshi!

Also testing was Anders Pettersson sensei, Branch Master of Karlstad Branch and President of the Swedish Shorinji Kempo Federation. His technical knowledge, ability and patience were highly appreciated!

Following the examination both Branch Masters spent a few days at the famous Rakuto Doin in Kyoto and experienced incredible hospitality and support from Morikawa Zeo sensei  (8th dan), Morikawa Kazuhoto sensei (7th dan) and their families.

At Rakuto Doin with all three Morikawa sensei!

Rakuto Doin garden