Itosu-Kai Canada Returns to Japan
Soke Sakagami and the members of Itosu-kai Canada and Australia
Although we can only speak for ourselves, from the time we joined Karate as young children we also learned about Japan. Japan and Karate were (and still are) very much analogous and it was hard not to feel a strong compulsion to someday visit and train at our international headquarters in Yokohama. For those of us who had never had the chance to meet Soke Sakagami before, it was also a chance to meet this man that almost felt like a mystical celebrity. He was someone we simply had to meet and train with in person. When the opportunity presented itself, we leapt at the chance!
Daniel Tsumura, the director of Itosu-Kai Canada, assembled and travelled with our team of 7 to Tsurumi, Japan in April 2019 to train at Honbu Dojo. Most of us had no idea what to expect and were exceptionally nervous to represent our dojos (which are located all across Canada) and ourselves well. We were greeted with open arms and (of course) a very challenging workout.
Maybe it was the jet lag, but we were admittedly struggling to move the next day! We would not have it any other way. One thing that stood out to us from that very first workout was the attention to detail and the PRIDE taken in them. That is something we all brought home to Canada with us and will encourage our students to maintain. The passion that Sakagami Soke had for the Kata we worked on was so apparent and downright contagious. Hour after hour, we worked on little details that might have felt trivial weeks before. It is clear to us now more than ever that we are a part of something important and our individual roles shouldn’t be taken lightly. The integrity of this ancient martial art relies on the passion of those that teach and their respect of those very details.
We were fortunate to share the dojo with some of our friends from Australia. The trip wouldn’t have been the same without them and it’s incredible to see how people from across the world can all practise the same things and keep this tradition alive. We were able to eat, drink and sightsee together to take in the amazing culture and history. Did we mention we ate?
Within those two weeks we had the opportunity to visit other local dojos to see how students typically trained and of course train with them. We were extremely humbled by the skill and dedication we saw from very young students and by the respect and hospitality we felt from each and every karateka we met. We can’t express enough how grateful we are for every conversation, photo and story we shared.
The passion we felt from both the incredible Shihan and young students alike for our karate was palpable. That is what this is; OUR Karate. Although incredibly personal we get to share it with this amazing growing international family and the students before us. We are grateful for each of you and can’t wait to train with you again.
In closing we want to send a special thank you to Murata Sensei, Oobayashi Sensei, Suzuki Sensei, Kusuhara Sensei, Kitaoka Sensei, Ayumu Sensei, the Kitaoka family, Leong Sensei and of course Sakagami Soke.
See you all in Denmark 2021!
Daniel Tsumura , Michael Duval , Michael Bruder, Codie Stevens, Andy Tsai , Michael Piperopoulos and Ann Chaplin