Patrick Curinckx - Chief-Instructor IOGKF Belgium
I was born at Mol on 7th February 1960.
As a 13-year old boy I started Karate. Twice a week I went by bike to the nearest dojo. There I got training in "Kyokushinkai Karate". Friends of mine from the same village stopped rather quickly; however I was fascinated by this martial art.
After three years my teacher met the Okinawan Master, Morio Higaonna Shihan, so then from 1976, I was lucky to start practicing "Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate". Prominent students, trained by Higaonna Shihan (Sensei Chinen, Sensei James Rousseau, Sensei Onaga, Sensei Suzuki) came, on repeated occasions, for training in our Belgian Dojo’s.
In 1978 I passed my grading for Shodan.
In 1979, the year that the IOGKF was founded, I started my own Goju-Ryu Dojo. At the beginning I taught twice a week. The club however grew very fast.
A few years later, namely in 1982, we organized a European Gasshuku at Leopoldsburg. This was my first personal meeting with Master Morio Higaonna. Immediately I realized I would not be able to find a better Karate teacher. From that moment on I started training with still more dedication and conviction. The result was a 3rd place in the Flemish Kata championship "Team Kata" and a first place in the Belgian "Team Kata" championship. Since then, I have not participated anymore in competitions but I concentrated more on practicing "Traditional Okinawan Goju-Ryu" and on passing my knowledge to my students.
In 1983 I passed my grading for Nidan, 1990 Sandan, 1999 Yondan and 2005 Godan.
In 1991 my Sensei, Pieter Harms, decided to leave the IOGKF. From that moment on "Traditional Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate" in Belgium fell apart. Every Sensei followed his own way. However I did not agree with this decision and decided to stay with Morio Higaonna Shihan.
In 1993, I was asked to become Chief-Instructor of Belgium by Master Morio Higaonna. Since then I completely realized how important it was to train as much as possible with Morio Higaonna Shihan and other Senior-Instructors; Bakkies Laubscher Sensei(South Africa), George Andrews Sensei(England), Ernie Molyneux Sensei (England), the late Harry de Spa Sensei and Sydney Leijenhorst Sensei (Netherlands) had already been our guests in Belgium. I want to say thanks to them again for their technical support.
Further on I consider it as my task to pass my knowledge to my students so that they can grow in "Okinawan Goju-Ryu" as well.
In 1995, during the European Gasshuku in Spain, my Sandan was confirmed by Morio Higaonna Shihan himself.
August 1998, for the first time I met Miyagi An'ichi Sensei and Shuichi Aragaki Sensei. I was amazed by their knowledge, enthusiasm and kindness. It was also a unique opportunity to hear them talk about the history of "Traditional Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate". Thank you Sensei, it was a unique experience to train with you.
When you practice Okinawan Goju-Ryu it is almost a must to travel to the country of origin. The group of Senior-Sensei as well as the Okinawan population is full of people with honest and warm hearts.
Now, after almost 37 years of karate, of which 34 years has been spent in Goju-Ryu, I would not be able to imagine my life without it: it is not only a martial art for me and my family but it has also become an important part of our life philosophy. My wife also practices Goju-Ryu Karate.
2009, the Honbu-dojo in Mol exists 30 years later. Also children from the age of seven can practice Okinawan Goju-Ryu in our Dojo’s. Adults as well as children practice with a lot of dedication.
Beside the Honbu-dojo in Mol there are still four other Dojo’s in Belgium, for the time being, which practice "Traditional Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate", namely:
- "Okinawa Goju-Ryu Arendonk": Ivo van Olmen Sensei
- “Okinawa Goju-Ryu Geel-Ten Aard”: Ivan Cools Sensei
- “Okinawa Goju-Ryu Nuclea”: Geert de Meyer Sensei
- "Okinawa Goju-Ryu Viersel": Ludo Huybrechts Sensei
- “Okinawa Goju-Ryu Brussel”: Marc Sanglier Sensei
On the regional and the so-called executives-training, which are given by me on Sunday morning, the members of all the Belgian Dojo’s train together. This is to keep uniformity in our style.
For the future, I hope that Okinawan Goju-Ryu will keep growing here in Belgium.
In 1999 we organized the 17th European Gasshuku. It became a great success, thanks to the efforts of so many. For me it was the first time that I, as Chief-Instructor, could welcome into Belgium, Morio Higaonna Shihan, many other Senior-Instructors and so many Karate-ka from all over the world.
I must admit that after my daily work as a hairdresser, it is
not always easy to give training in the evening (about 20 hours
a week). The meeting with other Sensei has always been a stimulus
for me, and my students too, to continue, still, with more conviction
and dedication. I am convinced that a Gasshuku (even a small one),
next to important technical value, has a not negligible spiritual
stimulus to maintain. As Higaonna Shihan told us several times:
"Never give up, you come and you'll grow!"
At last I sincerely want to thank all my teachers, especially Morio Higaonna Shihan and Bakkies Laubscher Shihan, who, up to now, put their knowledge at our disposal and all of them who put their trust in me. I hope and I will always do my utmost, not to betray their confidence in me.