YEAR IN REVIEW – 2011

As 2012 creeps upon us and 2011 rounds up another successful year for IOGKF International, we take the time to reflect upon the highs and lows of the past twelve months...

The major event year began with Higaonna Sensei travelling to Wellington in New Zealand for the 2011 IOGKF Oceania Gasshuku. The event was a 3 day success and was attended by over 150 Karate-ka from Australia, New Zealand, England and Okinawa.

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But it was shortly after the Oceania Gasshuku that Mother Nature began to show her angry side with a magnitude 6.3 earthquake striking New Zealand’s south island and bring ruin and havoc to the beautiful city of Christchurch. Only a few short weeks later disaster struck yet again with a tsunami, unlike anything ever seen before, hit the mainland of the Japan. It had devastating consequences and due to power outages it was several days before Nakamura Sensei could confirm the safety of Higaonna Sensei, Terauchi Sensei and other IOGKF Japan and Okinawa instructors. Thankfully the IOGKF suffered no loses in this most tragic of circumstances.

Shortly after, Higaonna Sensei headed to Fuzhou with Nakamura Sensei for yet another successful Goju-ryu historical research trip. Whilst in Fuzhou, Higaonna Sensei was honoured to open the first Goju-ryu Dojo in Fuzhou which was named after Kanryo Higaonna Sensei.

The following month Higaonna Sensei, Nakamura Sensei and Kuramoto Sensei travelled to Moldova for the IOGKF Euro-Asia Gasshuku where they received a rock star welcome. 

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More than 200 people attended the event, which included a Masters demonstrations, a large scale training camp and a Dojo grand opening. There was also a large amount of media coverage for this event and it was a great success with the event to be repeated in Moldova in 2012.

But Higaonna Sensei did not slow down, heading to other side of globe a month later and touching down in Cancun, Mexico for the Miyagi Chojun Festival.

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About 100 Karate-ka turned up for training under Higaonna Sensei, who was assisted by Nakamura Sensei and again this was another success story for 2011.

Higaonna Sensei then took a very special trip to Burlington in Canada where he opened the newly built dojo of Nakamura Sensei and performed a Kata, Kakie and stone pounding demonstration to mark the event.

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IOGKF Canada also completed their enormous fundraising efforts by presenting a $15,000 cheque to the Japan Red Cross to help people rebuild their lives in Tsunami ravaged Japan – a big well done goes to the IOGKF Canada organisation as well as all the other member countries who did a great job with their fundraising efforts.

Following the success of the MCF and his Canada visit, Higaonna Sensei travelled to Portugal for this year’s major event. The 2011 European Gasshuku was definitely one to be remembered!

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Over 800 attendees, training in two training halls, along with the famous hospitality Portugal has to offer, made everyone feel at home. Event host and Chief instructor Sensei Jorge Monterio and his team spared no effort in ensuring the event was a memorable one. Higaonna Sensei was in fine form and had the assistance of Nakamura Sensei, Sensei Bakkies Laubscher and Yamashiro Sensei just to name a few. The Sayonara party was also one to remember!

Immediately following the European Gasshuku, Higaonna Sensei made another very special trip to Scotland to pay tribute to the memory of Sensei John Lambert, his student of over 35 years. Sensei Lambert passed away in 2010 and Higaonna Sensei made a special visit to visit his students’ family, spread Sensei Lambert’s ashes and take a special two day Gasshuku.

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For many it was a double up, with many of the 80 odd participants travelling straight from Portugal to England and then driving or flying straight to Glenrothes in Scotland! Higaonna Sensei was in fine form and the contingent faced some of the masters’ famous spirit training to honour Sensei Lamberts spirit. Sensei Ernie Molyneux and Sensei Nigel Thomas were on hand to assist Higaonna Sensei.

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When you think this year couldn’t have been any busier for our World Master, Higaonna Sensei headed to Venezuela in September for the South American Gasshuku, where he was assisted by Sudo Sensei. The Gasshuku was a fantastic success and will next year be hosted by Argentina with Nakamura Sensei as guest instructor.

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To round up the year and to coincide with the Fuzhou martial arts championships, Higaonna Sensei hosted an IOGKF Black Belt Gasshuku in Changle near Fuzhou. The event was a great success and was followed by the Fuzhou tournament and seminars; the report for which is featured in this edition of the newsletter.

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2011 has been an incredibly busy year for the IOGKF and in particular Higaonna Sensei and our senior instructors. Higaonna Sensei is still continuing to take Goju-ryu to the four corners of the globe and the support of IOGKF members worldwide to train with our Master and his highest rank students makes our organisation the pillar of strength it is!

With the 2012 Okinawan World Budosai creeping up fast in July 2012, it us our turn to travel to Okinawa to support Higaonna Sensei in his own homeland. Next year will no doubt be as successful for the IOGKF if not better!