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Soke Sakagami visits Itosu-kai Sweden

Soke Sakagami and European Black Belt Members

Stockholm Sweden

Soke Sakagami visits Itosu-kai Sweden

In early May, Itosu-kai Sweden had the great honor of having Soke Sakagami visiting the Swedish branch. This was the first time that Soke was visiting so for us and it was a great event in every way. Together with him, Sensei Oda also traveled. Over the years, Sensei Oda has been to Sweden many times, so it was a great reunion.

Seminar with youth and adults

On Wednesday, May 1, a four-hour seminar was held with Swedish youth and adults of all ages and belt levels. There were butterflies in the stomach of many students as this was the first time they met Soke Sakagami. Someone whom they had only seen in pictures and heard so much about.

During the seminar, the training focused on Kihon and Pinan katas.

Itosu-kai Soke Sakagami in Sweden

For our students it was great, not only being able to participate in excellent training and understanding our connecting to Japan. But also the feeling of being a part of something bigger. Another insight was that we train the same things regardless of whether we are in Sweden, or Japan over 8000 kilometers away.

Having the Costello family from Ireland training with us that afternoon increased the sense of international affiliation and further encouraged the Swedish students.

In the end of the seminar there was a black belt test for two students. Per Gästgivar 4 dan and Ludvig Hammarlund 1 dan.

Kids seminar

Itosu-kai Sweden

On Thursday evening, May 2, two seminars were held. The first was a seminar for children training karate. Of course, there was excitement in the air but as soon as training started everybody felt relaxed. Focus was on Kihon and the children had to work hard. As none of the children knew Japanese, and English was not the mother tongue, the Swedish instructors helped with the translation into Swedish. From time to time there where simultaneous instructions in three languages but it worked fine and for the kids it was a memory for life.

Kobudo Seminar

Itosu-kai Sweden

Thursday evening ended with a Kongo-ryu kobudo seminar (please read a separate article at To our great delight, participants from abroad joined us again. From Ireland came the Costello family together with John and Marie Dolphin. And from Scotland came sensei Charles Hunter and Scott Graham. Due to the pilot strike at SAS many Irish Kobudo practitioners could not make it on time for the seminar. We are sorry for that.

In Sweden we started teaching kobudo some years ago so for our students it was a great honor to receive instructions directly from Soke Sakagami and Sensei Oda. Since we only had two hours training, all the focus was on Bo, the most complicated of our kobudo weapons. The evening included a number of “Aha!” moments for everybody, beginners as well as more experienced students.

European Black Belt Seminar 2019

Itosu-kai European Black Belt Seminar

On Friday Soke Sakagami, Sensei Oda and all Swedish black belts went to Bosön, Sweden's largest training facility for elite sports. After lunch and check in, a three-day Black Belt Seminar started with a total of almost seventy participants from Spain, Switzerland, Ireland, Scotland, Denmark, Japan and Sweden. Unfortunately, the Danish Championships took place the same weekend as the seminar, but we were happy that seven participants from Denmark could attend.

The seminar offered three full days where we practiced together, got to know new friends, but above all to take part of Soke's enormous knowledge of karate and all the details within Itosu-ryu. (Read more in the more detailed article about the Black Belt Seminar).

Sightseeing in Stockholm

Vasa Museum at Itosu-kai Soke Sakagami

During the days in Stockholm, Soke Sakagami and Sensei Oda also took a walk around the old parts of Stockholm, visiting a number of important spots and museums. The highlight was the Vasa museum which displays the only almost intact 17th century 64-gun warship that has ever been salvaged. The Vasa ship sank on her maiden voyage in 1628.

Thank you!

Many thanks to Soke, for the unforgettable visit to Sweden.

Itosu-kai Soke Sakagami

All knowledge and fine training that we have been able to enjoy during your days here will be important parts in Itosu-kai Sweden's continued development. Also many thanks to Sensei Oda, for the endurance and for six intense days of brilliant translation and explanation of all details. Also many thanks to all the karatekas from abroad and the Swedish dojo who participated and made the days in May a memory for life.

Göran Crafoord

Itosu-kai Sweden

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