A year of Firsts! – Looking back on 2010

By: David Lambert – IOGKF International

Starting this year is our new annual addition to the newsletter – the year in review. In this section to round up each year, we reflect upon the success and accomplishments of the past 12 months, remember the friends we have said goodbye and express our gratitude for being able to be continue to be part of our great organisation.

It has been an incredible year for IOGKF International, best summed up as a roller coaster ride from start to finish! The IOGKF event year began with a World Chief instructors Gasshuku in Okinawa, Japan.

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This event was delayed from 2009, but was still well attended by Chief instructors from all over the world. 60 participants attended the event with over 35 countries being represented. Leading the training was Aragaki Shuichi Sensei and off course Higaonna Morio Sensei.

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Higaonna Sensei was very happy that even with all the differences between countries and cultures, everyone could still establish strong relationships.

The next major IOGKF happening for 2010 was the South American Gasshuku with Higaonna Sensei, that was held in Argentina. This event was organised by chief instructor Sensei Gustavo Tata and was attended by over 250 keen Karate-ka.

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Higaonna Sensei’s power and instructional brilliance captured the hearts of all involved. Sensei focus a lot on Kihon, Kata and Kumite during this event. The demonstrations by senior instructors at this event was also very well received.

Higaonna Sensei’s next major IOGKF movement for 2010 was to the United States, where he took the Miyagi Chojun Festival. This year the event was held in Spokane under the co-ordination of Sensei Gene Villa, USA Chief instructor.

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Again this was a very well attended event and Higaonna Sensei was assisted by IOGKF International Vice Chief Instructor, Sensei Tetsuji Nakamura. This event was well publicised, with a local news report on Higaonna Sensei featured on Washington television.

But halfway through what was a great year, the IOGKF was struck with two dealings of sad news. Firstly on June 28th, IOGKF founding member and dear friend to many, Sensei John Lambert, passed away after a long battle with cancer. Sensei Lambert was Chief instructor for IOGKF Scotland for over 32 years and well known and loved by all on the European an International event scene.

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Then as the organisation was coming to grips with the passing of a long time friend, another valued member sadly left us as well. Sensei Geoff Pickup was IOGKF Thailand representative and head of the Samui Dojo. On July 19th, 2010 Sensei Geoff Pickup was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident. He will dearly missed also.

But come the end of July an organisation united under a Danish flag for the largest European Gasshuku in IOGKF history! The Gasshuku was hosted by IOGKF Denmark Chief Instructor, Sensei Henrik Larsen and featured over 800 Karate-ka!

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The Gasshuku was a resounding success. The training remained as per the usual European format and included six Japanese instructors: Higaonna Sensei, Terauchi Sensei, Yamashiro Sensei, Masuyama Sensei, Nakamura Sensei and Kuramoto Sensei. Other IOGKF senior instructors from around the world also participated in instructing at such a unique event. The only thing missing was Sensei Bakkies Laubscher, who was busy in South Africa, preparing for IOGKF International’s other big ‘first’ for 2010.

September saw Higaonna Sensei, Terauchi Sensei and Yamashiro Sensei head to Aichi, Japan - The once home of the Samurai generals. This location would play host to the Japan summer Gasshuku.

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This event was attended by many IOGKF Honbu Dojo and IOGKF Japan members and even a participant for Australia.

Then the big one! - The first ever three in one event. This was hosted by Sensei Bakkies Laubscher in his beautiful home town of Stellenbosch in South Africa. The event included the 2010 World Chief Instructors Gasshuku, an IOGKF World Gasshuku and the IOGKF World Friendship tournament – which is held every four years.

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Over 520 participants came to train under Higaonna Sensei, Bakkies Sensei and Terauchi Sensei in an event that has only received positive feedback! The Gasshuku theme (Ubuntu), togetherness, was epitomized under the leadership of Higaonna Sensei.

2010 was a year of great triumphs and also of great loss. But as an organisation, and like any family, we remained unified and strong, focused solely on the essence of Karate-do. Let us now look forward to the hard work and rewards 2011 has install for us all!