North American Black Belt Gasshuku Report

By: Tirrell Hill – IOGKF Canada

The IOGKF North American Black Belt Gasshuku for 2009 was a great success. Many participants travelled from all over Canada and the United States of America to partake in the event, which included a some unique and interesting teachings…

The North American Black Belt Gasshuku, held in Burlington on the weekend of November 20th to 22nd was a huge success. Not only did the instructors, staff and various organizers succeed in creating a smoothly run and well organized event; but the atmosphere of unity, and the admiration of peers was astounding.

Throughout a three-day period of intense training and lectures, with close to 70 participants, IOGKF members were brought together under the tutelage of Nakamura Tetsuji Sensei (Chief Instructor of IOGKF Canada and IOGKF USA), Sensei Gene Villa (future IOGKF USA Chief Instructor), Sensei Herbert Allen (IOGKF USA) and Sensei Michael Han (IOGKF USA) to pursue not only their self-improvement, but the improvement of their karate covering a wide array of topics.

The Gasshuku covered all of the basic technique requirements from 10th kyu to shodan, and also detailed explanations of Kata from Gekisai Dai Ichi to Suparinpei, as well as Sanchin and Hojo Undo exercises such as, tai otoshi, ten tsuki, furi sute and suri ashi; outlining how each related to the improvement and practice of Goju-Ryu Kata.

Also, internal principles of Goju-Ryu Karate were explained to senior students. The use of the Tanden in both Haishugata and Kaishugata was explained, as well as the principle of ‘chin kuchi kakin’, or the instantaneous tightening of all joints, and how it relates to the performance of Kata and power development at the senior level. ‘Chin kuchi kakin’ was emphasized as an important part to developing power at the senior level and students spent time in their training practicing various ways to apply it to their Kata, specifically Sanseru. This was a great benefit to all senior students who took part in the training, as this is an aspect of Karate that we do not often hear about.

On the second day of the Gasshuku, there were 12 participants in the grading test, all of whom passed showing a strong commitment and an indomitable spirit.

Overall, this North American Black Belt Gasshuku was a wonderful success with IOGKF members from Canada and the United States training hard and sharing memorable moments throughout the entire weekend. New friendships were made, and existing ones grew stronger in the atmosphere of hard training and learning that this Gasshuku, created amongst all of its participants.