IKO Kyokushinkaikan Training Camp / Mt. Mitsumine, Japan
Osu. Fall is a great time of year in New York. It has been warm, but now the trees are starting to turn color in Central Park. I am happy that I could really focus on our local NY-NJ Dojo’s this past month, and welcome many new, and many returning, children and adult members to the Dojo.
This weekend, I will travel to Banff, Canada for the 9th IKO North American International Black Belt Conference hosted by Shihan Stuart Corrigal. I will lead training sessions alongside Shihan Seiji Isobe, Brazil and Shihan Kenny Uytenbogaardt, South Africa. Before the end of 2014, I will go to Japan for the IKO All Japan Open Tournament, and to Poland for the IKO European Open Karate Championships.
Our organization has affiliate schools in approximately 130 countries around the world and I am honored to be able to go abroad often for the IKO Kyokushinkaikan. To be able to meet and train with people of all ages and abilities, and from all walks of life, is what it means to be a part of a real ‘International Karate Organization’. When you are sleeping, somewhere on the other side of the world, fellow IKO Kyokushinkaikan members are doing ‘KIAI’.
We are lucky that being in NY, many IKO members come here and make the effort to train with us. At the Promotion Test, IKO members came from North Carolina, this week members from Costa Rica will join in classes. Quite a few KKNY & NJ members already make the effort to participate at events in Japan and other countries as well. Senpai Otomo, for example, came to the IKO Netherlands Seminar in Amsterdam with me this March, for the first time training abroad. I believe the trip opened his eyes, not only to the scope of the Kyokushin world, but also the culture and history of the people we met there. I recommend all IKO members try to travel to Kyokushinkaikan events if your schedule allows. The best way to open our minds, to respect people and appreciate different ways of thinking is through experience first hand. We are lucky that we have such an extensive network of Kyokushin karate-ka that supports each other all over the world.
New York is my home base, and this cosmopolitan city is really a microcosm. In classes at the NY-NJ dojo’s we have students training together from across America, from Japan, Poland, Iran, Bolivia, Brazil, The Philippines, China, Taiwan, Korea, Russia, Ukraine, Serbia, Hungary, Israel, Lebanon, Algeria, Armenia, Australia, France, and many, many more. For me, this is the beauty of IKO Kyokushinkaikan. The world may never exist politically conflict free, but wherever we are in the IKO Kyokushinkaikan, we can be friends with a loud KIAI and ‘seiken chyudan tsuki’.
“IKO Kyokushinkaikan surpasses discrimination based on national borders, ethnicity, race, politics, religion, and philosophy.” Mas Oyama (translated)