27th All Japan Weight Category Championships
Osaka, Japan
June 12-13, 2010


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I 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.

Telephone rings at 06:30 and itfs 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. 

Next morning 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.

This was 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 .

The Tournament 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 spectators. 

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.  

We 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.

Congratulations 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. 

Osu, 

Curtis Mason
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.

Canadian Team:

Officials:
Shihan Stuart Corrigal

Fighters:

Michi Nagase (Vancouver)
Kris Erickson (Vancouver)
Mike McDougall (Victoria)

Coaches:

Tats Nakamura (Vancouver)
Curtis Mason (Vancouver)
Mark Berg (Vancouver)
Tsuguo Hada (Vancouver)

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Mike steps in the ring.


Lime now lives in Kyoto came over to support the team.

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