California karate tour by Australians

USA, Canadian and Australian Karate Black Belts come together… 2006

In addition to the online martial arts community we have a network of dojo(s) and sensei that associate for belt tests across Australia, Japan and the USA. In October 2006 we decided to get the Dan ranks from Australia and the USA together to train and test for new ranks as a group. 

All in all we had 12 Australians on our tour and interacted with the following clubs in California and Canada:

  • Young Sensei of Camarillo Shotokan
  • Sensei Larry Daugherty & Sensei Lukich of the Amgen Corporate Karate Club
  • Sells Sensei, 8th Dan USA Chief Instructor of Seito Shito-ryu (the Mabuni family line of Shito-Ryu)
  • Bartholomay Sensei, 7th Dan of Seito Shito-ryu in Santa Barabra
  • Penny Ringwood sensei, of Seaside Shotokan in Los Angeles
  • Sensei Otake of Southern California
  • Shihan Yabunaka (Goju-ryu chief instructor of Seiwa Kai for North America)

The trip saw each day consisting of 1 or 2 training sessions depending on events and location any given day. The overall pace of the tour was ferocious and therefore tiring but everyone wanted to squeeze in all they could. Places visited included: Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Universal Studios/Hollywood, Santa Monica, Santa Barbara, San Francisco and for Garry Sensei Canada as well.

Sensei Dave Lewis (4th dan) taking on Rocky Balboa 

at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas The Australians have a big thank you for the black belts of the Camarillo Shotokan and Young Sensei for providing house sharing while they were in town. It also allowed the USA and Australian guys/girls (and their traveling partners) to get to know each other so much better. Sensei Young also took extra time to train the Australian group in the mornings in addition to night classes which was a valuable preparatory process for the grading (sensei Young is pictured below with his national winning Hot Rod - "Bad news Travels Fast"). 

Kumite night at Camarillo Shotokan

A fantastic class at the Santa Barbara Shito-ryu dojo with Sensei Bartholomay (7thDan) and Sensei Sells (8th Dan) of  Seito Shito-ryu (Mabuni family line) was a day and evening all will remember. In that class we covered Uke no Gogenri “five methods of defense” and the transition kata called Kenshu devised by Kenwa Mabuni Sensei in 1949 (the bow in from that class is pictured below).

Hanshi Sells (8th Dan Shito-ryu) and Kyoshi Batholomay (7th Dan Shito-ryu), front left and right, lead the class for the night

The visit to Sensei Penny Ringwood’s dojo (a noted Shotokan 5th Dan, and premier international competitor) saw her introduce back stance to the Shito-ryu attendees and relate that to kata. Sensei Jason then shared/comapred to the classnekoashidachi (cat stance) and bunkai related to its use as that is the stance which most often replaces back stance when one looks at the common kata(s) practiced by both Shito-ryu and Shotokan styles.

On the Friday night Sensei Jason Armstrong hosted a seminar on “Using Budo and Zen lessons from the Dojo for life and career success”. The students enjoyed a partly PowerPoint derived presentation of concepts and real world examples with fun zen/martial art drills mixed in.

After a very successful grading by all sensei Garry Edwards headed up to Toronto, Canada and visited Shihan Yabunaka (Goju-ryu chief instructor of Seiwa Kai for North America) He enjoyed some good training with his advanced black belts some high kyu grades. For full details on this part of the training go to article...

On Friday the 3rd the traveling Australians had a week apart all going their own ways to see specific parts of the USA and dojos. Sensei Garry flew back into L.A. where he joined Sensei Jason who had remained in the area to further interact with the Amgen and Camarillo dojo(s) for an extra week. Sensei Garry taught Chinto (called Gankaku in Shotokan) and the associated bunkai at Young Sensei’s dojo for his black belts. There was one more day in the Camarillo Shotokan for a few of the tourists lead by Senpai Ed Mundy on the Friday. On Saturday morning Sensei Garry made the extra effort to experience a class by well known Otake Sensei. Others from the tour went to Universal Studios for the 12th anniversary of the Amgen Karate Dojo founded by Sensei Jason Armstrong.

Sensei Peter Wetherspoon (4th Dan) and Sensei Garry Edwards (4th Dan)
"mixing it up" at the edge of the Grand Canyon

All instructors were so very friendly and generous with there time in sharing their knowledge of the martial arts – the Australian crew thanks you so much. Sensei Victor had bridged the Pacific Karate gap by traveling to Australia in 2004 so it was good to build on this US-Australian network. The link will continue with Sensei Jason back in the USA in April and May of 2007 and hopefully Australia will have a visit from one of the USA sensei’s in late 2007.


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