Six members of the club recently attended a training event and competition in Japan. This is a bi-annual event that members of the club can attend as Ilkley Karate club is one an elite few clubs that is associated with a Japanese governing body; in this case the Yamada-ha Shito-ryu Shukokai KarateDo world union. As such all grades and awards at the club are certified by the Japanese governing body giving true authenticity to the club’s member’s qualifications.
The recent Japanese experience was shared with karate students from all continents North and South America, Africa, Asia Pacific and Europe making it truly international experience with new friendships established and refreshed. During the five days of training the course organisers had sought out masters’ from across Japan to share their knowledge of karate all of whom were or had recently represented Japan at a senior level.
The masters teaching ranged from 7 th to 9 th dans which as it takes decades to achieve a grade of 6 th dan and above is an indication of the vast experience that was available to the attendees. The Ilkley attendees were all struck by the humility and generous nature of the masters who were so accommodating in sharing knowledge in a gracious manor that is so representative of Japan and its people.
As readers will understand five days of karate training are both exhausting and demanding on the body. So, to ensure that all attendees were ready for training the days would start with an hour of calligraphy to build mindful practice to thereby focus on the training ahead. The Ilkley participants have all returned with a deeper understanding of the ancient art of calligraphy and gifts of work by their instructor.
Possibly the most significant and moving event of the training week was a Memorial dinner for the former Global Chief Instructor Yamada Sensei who passed away earlier this year. He had achieved the highest rank in Karate and awarded a 10th dan some years ago be the Emperor of Japan. This being the only way such an award can be bestowed on a Karate master!
A week of training was concluded with participation in Gishinkan World Cup where the British team achieved medals in an extremally high-class cadre of competitors.
There was no rest for the Ilkley team, as the cherry blossom began to emerge, a week of sightseeing was commenced taking many sights from historic Japan. The training event was located near Kyoto, the former capital city of fundal Japan, a city that now has 16 World Heritage sites hence a spectacular place to visit. Other locations visited during the week were the Peace Garden at Hiroshima, the temple complex of Nara and the spectacular Himeji castle plus Osaka castle and many other temples.
Ilkley Karate club members will be visiting Japan again in 2020 the year of the Olympic in Tokyo and the first time that Karate will be include as an Olympic sport, therefore, making it a unique year!