Miyagi Chojun Festival 2013 with Higaonna Sensei

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Scenery like nowhere else in the world, training with the best on the planet and sharing the experience with great people from all walks of life – that was MCF 2013.

The annual Miyagi Chojun Festival was held in Niagara Falls, Canada during the first week of May inside the beautiful Crowne Plaza hotel. IOGKF Canada members under the guidance of Nakamura Sensei worked incredibly hard to create an event like no other.

Special guests to this years festival were of our Higaonna Morio Sensei and his friend and colleague, Kyuna Choko Sensei, a 10th Dan Master in Shorin-ryu Karate.

A group of IOGKF Canada members and some visiting country representatives from Australia and Chile went to the airport to meet and welcome Higaonna Sensei & Kyuna Sensei to Toronto. They were then driven by Nakamura Sensei to Niagara Falls where they took their rest before a tour of Niagara Falls the next day.

Niagara Falls has two main waterfalls, the Canadian falls and the American Falls. One is very smooth and flowing, while the other is rough and crashes on the rocks below. Higaonna Sensei commented the two falls are like Go & Ju (hard and soft).

Training began on the Thursday with around 500 participants showing up to learn from Higaonna Sensei. The focus was on basic training and sweating together and no one let this objective down. The kiai’s echoed through the ballroom of the Crowne Plaza.

This energy was continued later on that night at the MCF welcome party where Sensei Genaro did a great job as MC and put attendees through some great party games. There was plenty of laughter and good cheer, but afterwards the focus quickly turned to surviving the next 3 days of intense training.

The next morning, the mayor of Niagara Falls came to try his luck at Goju-ryu training during our morning basics session. Higaonna Sensei was awarded with a honorary pin from the Niagara Falls city council for his efforts and the Mayor passed an honorary black belt in our style. Higaonna Sensei and Nakamura Sensei did a great job at putting the visiting Mayor through his paces and his visit was very well received by all.

Training for each day then moved into group training sessions. World class instructors travelled from all over the globe to share their knowledge at the Festival. The group training instructors were Master Higaonna, Nakamura Sensei, Sensei Ernie Molyneux, Sensei George Andrews, Sensei Gene Villa, Sensei Linda Marchant, Sensei Bobby Smith. Each instructor had their own unique style and all taught a different the aspect of training. From Kata to street and Knife fighting, no stone was left unturned.

Specialty session were also give over the course of the weekend by Kyuna Sensei (Shorin-ryu 10th Dan), Donozo Sensei (Shotokan 8th Dan), Sifu Hung (Chinese Martial arts Master), Sensei Linda Marchant (who took a female only session) and Sensei Bobby Smith (who taught street self defence). All of these sessions were very well run and extremely popular with all those who participated.

On the Saturday night, IOGKF Canada hosted the Sayonara Party in the same room we had been training in. It was a beautiful dinner party and we got to see some Canadian humour with some funny videos made at Shudokan Dojo.

It was also the night for the IOGKF Idol competition. Members from each country sang and danced in front of the large crowd (and Higaonna Sensei) to be judged by Sensei George, Sensei Ernie and Sensei Donozo. It was a great and entertaining night!

On the last day of the MCF a Masters demonstration was held and all the event instructors and guest instructors gave performances. It was an awe inspiring event that further proved how IOGKF is traditional Karate at it’s best. The crowd applauded loudly and students of all levels walked away feeling proud to be a part of our great federation.

Thank you to all of those who assisted Nakamura Sensei in preparing and running such a fantastic event. Feedback from across the globe named this event as one of IOGKF International’s best ever. The next MCF is in Tampa Bay, Florida in 2014!