arrived in Osaka at ITM airport about 19:30 along with Mark
Berg, a student of Sensei Tats. We were given directions to
the Namba Station by a helpful information desk employee at
the airport. Approximately 30 minutes later we arrived at
Namba Station and Mark departed the bus and walked to his
Hotel (Yamatoya Honten) while I waited for the next stop to
get off at JR Namba and to my surprise was immediately beside
the Hotel I had reserved (Hotel Monterey Grasmere). Very nice
after the long day of traveling purposely without sleep.
I checked in my room and had a shower to clean up then went
out for a walk through downtown Osaka where I found Dotonbori
Street. This popular pedestrian street was very busy up until
about midnight. I then decided I was up long enough to reset
my clock so I could adjust to the time difference and so back
to the Hotel for the night.
at 06:30 and itfs Mark and we decide to meat at my Hotel at
08:00. We then decide to explore on foot through the Namba and
Minami (south) Areas where we tried different small street
side food places and found a vending machine or two for cold
refreshments...it was a hot day...really...!
We then decided
to a walk to the Osaka Castle which took well over an hour to
reach. Very impressive and worth the walk. The return was by
subway though as we needed to get back to eat again.
11th of June Mark and I went over to meet Michi Nagase and
Kris Erickson at their Hotel (Grampus Inn) which is one block
from the Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium where the 27th All Japan
Weight Category Karate Tournament was to be held on June 12
and 13. We all went to the Gymnasium in order for them to
register for the Tournament. After which we went for a walk
around town and I played tour guide for Michi and Kris.
I had to return
to the Gymnasium in the afternoon to attend an Officiating
Seminar and to become familiar with the rules for this event.
Regular IKO rules with a few modifications on when and how the
Tamashiwari would be conducted on the final day.
attended by Shihan Stuart Corrigal as well as other Branch
Chiefs from other countries including Shihan Nicola Cujuic and
Seisei Dom from Australia who I was fortunate enough to meet .
rules were translated from inside the Gymnasium on the centre
arena from Japanese into English and Russian by Sensei Artur
Hovhannisian who took 3rd place in the 9th World Open
Tournament in Tokyo 2007. He also completed the 100 man kumite
in March of 2009.
I was invited to
also take the IKO officiating test and I gladly accepted the
chance to do so. This was a somewhat familiar experience in
that Shihan Stuart was asked to go through some practical
details with the people taking the exam. I was quite impressed
with the small details which we all know are of great
importance to him. It became clear to me that we have an
internationally respected resource through him which can allow
us to officiate on an international stage with confidence. It
is the small details which do make the difference between
looking professional or not to the head table as well as the
It is now the
morning of the Tournament and off I went to meet Sensei Tats
and Mark at the Tournament Hotel where Michi and Kris were
staying. We then went to the Gymnasium and down to the
Sub-arena where the fighters warm up area was. We were joined
by another fighter from Canada, Mike McDougall from the
Victoria Dojo of Sempai Hirokazu Hayashi. Tsuguo also arrived
to support the fighters. He trained under Sensei Tats in
Vancouver for over a year and is now living back in Japan. We
also met Sensei Taku Nakasaka from Los Angeles and his
fighters, Shohei Yamamoto and Taison Naito. The North American
fighters stayed together as a team.
kept relaxed until the time came to warm up by doing some pad
work with each fighter before their respective matches. Mike
was the 1st Canadian team member to fight and it was in the
Middle Weight category. While waiting with him in line for his
match I watched and was very impressed with the quality of the
fighters competing in the three courts. Mike entered the mats
and began his kumite. He used many hiza-geris but
unfortunately lost his match against a Japanese opponent,
however gained valuable experience.
The next member
was Michi who fought in the Heavy Weight category. He fought
well and won the match against his first opponent from Japan.
The next to fight was Kris in the Super Heavy Weight category.
Kris fought well and landed some very strong mawashi-geris to
his opponents right thigh and then continued into an extension
round where his Japanese opponent finished the last 30 seconds
with more punching techniques than Kris and convinced the
judges for the win. Kris also gained valuable experience. Then
Michi fought strong in his 2nd match with one of the
tournament favorites from Tokyo but unfortunately lost. His
opponent was very powerful with inside leg kicks and convinced
the judges for the win.
After the 1st
day of the Tournament, Kris, Mike, Tsuguo, Mark and I went out
to a Japanese all you can eat and drink restaurant near
Dotonbori St and had a great time. We all watched the final
day of the Tournament from the upper seats and saw some
excellent matches. All of the fighters were very strong and
skilled. It is impressive to see the results of those who are
dedicated to training hard in Kyokushin. At the Tournaments
closing Kancho Matsui gave a long speech in Japanese to the
fighters and spectators. Sensei Tats , Michi, Kris, Mark and I
went back to meet at the hotel after the Tournament where we
had a visit with Shinan Stuart for a while before heading out
for a meal together to relax and reflect.
to Kris, Michi and Mike on competing at such a high level
Tournament. I will personally do what I can to support them
through training and more in their continued perseverance to
become stronger fighters. Sensei Tats is well known as I witnessed and is a
great benefit for our Canadian fighters in many ways. We are
fortunate to train with him. The caliber of fighters at this
tournament was very high and convinced me that we in Canada
must train harder and continue to compete in more
International Tournaments in order to perform successfully at
this level. I look forward to attending many more events
locally and internationally to learn what I can and to observe
what others are doing to stay on top.
Vancouver Kyokushin Karate
27th All Japan Weight Category
Championships saw 247 competitors fight
fiercely in four different weight
divisions. Eight Canadians including
three fighters participated in this
incredibly high caliber competition.
Although none of the fighters made it
through the 1st day's preliminary
rounds, we all had very good times
throughout the event.
Shihan Stuart Corrigal
Michi Nagase (Vancouver)
Kris Erickson (Vancouver)
Mike McDougall (Victoria)
Tats Nakamura (Vancouver)
Curtis Mason (Vancouver)
Mark Berg (Vancouver)
Tsuguo Hada (Vancouver)
Mike steps in the ring.
Lime now lives in Kyoto came over to
support the team.