Sweden wishes a Happy Holiday and a Happy 2020
Sensei Göran Crafoord and his wife Helen wear Japanese "Kanreki" style vest and cap.
Looking back on 2019 I realize it has been a busy year for Itosu-Kai Sweden. In the beginning of May Sweden held the 2019 European Black Belt Seminar in the archipelago of Stockholm, hosted by Soke Sakagami and Sensei Aymu Oda. In total close to 100 persons participated with representatives from Denmark, Scotland, Ireland, Spain, Switzerland and Sweden.
In conjunction with the seminar a black belt test was held in Sweden with Soke Sakagami as examiner. Ludvig Hammarlund was awarded with 1 Dan and Per Gästgivar 4 Dan.
Two major belt test events are planned each year and in average of 80 students are participating. One in the end of May and in mid-December. Usually do the belt test start 09.00 am in the morning, with tests for kids and beginners, and at 5 pm we have finalized the test of those with the highest rank, 1 kyu students.
The December test included a black belt test for 2 students; Zafar Golmhasan and Lovisa Falkman. After a 2 hour long test they were awarded 1 Dan.
Sensei Göran Crafoord reached honorable age of 60 years in 2019. A special gift was handed over to Sensei Crafoord and his wife Helen at the December belt test ceremony. A Kanreki suit.
In Japan this is a birthday which is celebrated by many in a special way. Since sixty is a magical number in the Japanese culture, it is in this age wherein a person celebrates a Kanreki. Where Kan means "return or cycle" 還 (kan) and Reki depicts "calendar" 暦 (reki). It is said to be a celebration of being reborn or being a child again, it is also known as the beginning of second childhood. So kanreki literary means, your years completed a circle, in other word, you come back to the same year as when you were born.
So why wear red clothes? The color red is believed to have an effect of protection in Japan and people would put red clothes to new born babies. This vest is called chan-chanko (ちゃんちゃんこ) and is a sleeveless kimono jacket for children. Since Kanreki has a meaning of re-born, people started to give the 60-year-old person a red vest and a red hat.
Happy new 2020 from Sweden // Per Gästgivar, Swedish Itosu-Kai