2010 North American and International Black Belt Conference
Banff, AB
October 8-10, 2010
Central Canada Kyokushin Karate

7th North American & International Black Belt Conference
Banff, Alberta, Canada

 

Mas Oyama honed the skills that became Kyokushin Karate in the mountains of Japan and that makes it fitting that we should gather in grandeur of Banff to further our training in the “Kyokushin WayE 

          There were 6 training sessions at the beautiful Banff Centre facility on Tunnel Mountain.   Many aspects of karate were covered. 

          Kancho Matsui, from Japan, conducted a number of classes that focused on how all of our training relates to fighting. His detailed explanations, translated from Japanese by Shihan Gorai, made the connections between kihon, ido geiko, kata and fighting.  

          There was a session that included learning the use of the weapon known as “tonfaE This was a fascinating lesson taught by Shihan Gorai. The”tonfaEare formidable weapons exemplified by the kata we were taught and the “boEverses “tonfaEsparring. It is a little hard to get used to but a welcome addition to our training.  We always admire others skills when they are demonstrating techniques, and this weekend did not leave us wanting.   Shihan Gorai displayed extraordinary high kicks during his demonstrations tonfa vs bo. 

          It is always refreshing to have different instructors with different approaches to Karate. Shihan Gilbert’s enthusiastic ido geiko class certainly fit the bill, as did Shihan Don Corrigal’s self defence session.

          Again, the connection between kata, basics and practical application were demonstrated, it was particularly interesting to see some possible counters to the Kyokushin self defence techniques.  

          One of the highlights of this conference is the hike up to the top of Tunnel Mountain. Once there over 90 Karateka trained overlooking Banff and the Vermillion lakes.  

          Also, there is always something to be said for the level of comfort when training with old friends, to which there were many.  It was a pleasure to see Shihan Gilbert, Shihan Pierre, and Shihan Gorai in our beautiful province as we have only met them on the international stage previously. 

          It was and excellent weekend, many thanks Kancho Matsui and the Shihans for their informative instruction.

OSU!

 

Doug Potter ECalgary Dojo

 

          **************************************************************

  

          It felt electric to be among so many Shihans, Senseis and Sempais of Kyokushin Karate. I felt proud and honored to be among this group at this particular event. 

          Being a big fan of Kancho Matsui the fighter, I was impressed to learn the basic Kihon, Ido Geko in detailed fashion from the known legend. Kancho thankfully covered many fundamental basics of Kyokushin. 

          Shihan Gorai sold me on the use of the Tonfas. I am anxious to make this weapon a part of my regular training. 

          I left the conference very satisfied and inspired. I spent the 9-hour drive home replaying all I learned from the camp, going over everything in my head. 

          It was great to see old friends and make new ones between the classes. Thank you to all the organizers and instructors who made the conference a priceless experience.

 

Osu!

 

Scott Boudreau  - Burnaby Dojo

 

      **************************************************************

 

 

Friday afternoon Jordan and I made our way up to Banff to participate in this year’s Black Belt Conference. This event only takes place every other year and always features internationally well respected high-ranking members of our organization. The list of guest instructors this year was exceptional; Kancho Matsui from Japan, Shihan Gorai from New York, Shihan Gilbert from Montreal, Shihan Stuart from Vancouver and Shihan Don from Cranbrook. All that experience brought together, under one roof, provided an excellent opportunity to develop our skills and understanding of Kyokushin Karate. 

          Friday night’s session led by Kancho Matsui focused on kihon and it’s relation to kumite. Kancho did a great job explaining the importance of basics as it relates to our fighting.  

          Before class ended I took a count of people participating and was surprised to find out well over 100 people were training. There were black belts from all over the world; Japan, England, Scotland, Singapore, United States, Eastern & Western Canada just to name a few.  

          Saturday morning 6:30 AM we began weapons training using tonfas with Shihan Gorai. For those who have never heard of tonfas, they are a “tEhandle wooden clubs that fit in each hand closely resembling an old fashioned policeman’s “billy clubE  

          We began with basic movements using tonfas and moved on to tonfa katas, which was very interesting as this was brand new to most of us. Shihan Gorai had incredible patience teaching tonfas as we fumbled awkwardly and sometimes dropped our tonfas.

           Breakfast time, short break and on to our mid morning session led by Kancho Matsui this time focusing on ido geiko as it relates to our fighting techniques.  

          Next came lunch, a quick rest followed by a brisk walk up Tunnel Mountain. At the top of the mountain with a breathtaking view, Shihan Stuart led the training with fight combinations.

           What goes up must come down so all of us came down just in time for our final session of the day with Kancho Matsui. This session involved fight combinations and tied the previous kihon and ido geiko sessions together stressing the importance of a strong foundation for a stronger kumite.  

          The evening brought us all together for a wonderful catered supper at the Sayonara Party. This was a great opportunity to mingle and meet people from all over. 

          Sunday morning came early again at 6:30 AM with Shihan Gilbert starting out the session by giving our minds and bodies a grueling workout with advanced fight movements and combinations. Shihan Gorai finished the sessions with Bo katas and tonfa katas review.  

          Breakfast time came and went and Shihan Don did a great job teaching the mid morning session of goshin jitsu stressing the importance of proper basic stances, techniques and movements.   

          This concluded the conference for most of us but a few people stayed back to be graded for their next belt by Kancho Matsui. Best wishes to all of you! 

          Thank you to Kancho Matsui for sharing his knowledge and expertise with all of us. Shihan Gorai and Shihan Gilbert thanks for the great teachings. Shihan Stuart and Shihan Don every time we train with you we take back something new, Thank you. To Sensei Kathy I can’t imagine how much work you did to make this all possible but rest assured we do appreciate your efforts, Thank you. 

OSU,

 

Denis Forget

Calgary Dojo

 

          ***************************************************************************

         

          Wow! What a camp!  

          Nothing compares to this camp in regards to level of instruction, enthusiasm and camaraderie. I had a blast. This is the 3rd such event that I have attended and every event has topped the one that preceded it. 

          Friday I arrived late and had to hurry around, find my room get changed and bolt down to the gym. Kancho started the 1st class with Basics and ended with Basics. This became the theme for the weekend. Practice of basics makes perfect or rather, practicing basics perfectly makes perfect. 

          It became apparent that Kancho was trying to demonstrate the building blocks of Kyokushin from the ground up or Basics so to speak. Friday night was standing basics. Saturday mid-morning was moving basics and finally Saturday afternoon we touched on movement and incorporating the techniques into the movements. 

          In Saturday’s early morning session, Shihan Gorai demonstrated and taught Tonfa, basic Kihon Kata and the more advanced Kata. It was fun and interesting as for most of us it was the 1st time we'd ever handled a Tonfa. I only dropped them once. 

          Saturday afternoon we were treated to a fantastic view overlooking Banff and the mountains after a brisk walk up Tunnel Mountain. 

          Sunday morning we began with a warm-up from Shihan Gilbert and then continued with the Tonfa and Bo training from Shihan Gorai. 

          Sunday mid morning session started with Happo no Kuzushi lead by Shihan Stuart and followed by Goshin Jitsu lead by Shihan Don. 

          I would like to thank everyone that participated, organized and helped with this camp. This was a great camp and I am looking forward to the next one. We'll see you there!  OSU,

 

Lance Gerber

Calgary Dojo

 

          **********************************************************************

  

On the weekend of October 8th, 9th and 10th the International Black Belt Conference was held once again in Banff. This conference brings out a crowd from all over the world that are united under their affiliation with Kyokushin Karate. There were many different black belts from all over the world including those from Great Britain, Scotland, Singapore, USA and even Japan.   

          Kancho Matsui also attended and instructed many of the classes throughout the weekend. After listening to his point of view on many aspects of training (especially basics) it opened my eyes to a whole new way of looking at karate. Kancho went into great detail and explanation on how basics relate to fighting and the importance of technique and visualization in fighting and real-life applications. It was very insightful to train with Kancho for the weekend and get a different perspective on training.

During one of our training sessions we did a 30 minute hike to the top of a mountain and proceeded to train there. The view and the scenery were fantastic. There were plenty of pictures being taken.  Many of the participants from outside of Canada were blown away by the beauty of Banff. 

Other sessions over the weekend included weapons training using bows and tonfas.  These classes were taught by Shihan Gorai of New York. It was very interesting because I had never used tonfas before and it was difficult but quite fun. Weapons training is something that we aren’t normally used to so it was experience that required new skills just to keep up. Although it was tough, the class was a great time. 

The last session was a self-defense class instructed mainly by Shihan Don Corrigal of Cranbrook. His knowledge of pressure points and how the body works allowed for great examples for the self-defense portion of the weekend. He taught us that strength and power isn’t everything and that there are many weaknesses in the body that can be exploited if you ever find yourself in danger in a real-life scenario.  

          Kancho Matsui finished off the session and the weekend with more self-defense/fighting drills.  

Overall the weekend was informative in many different ways. It also brought many people from all over the world together who share a common interest.  

I enjoyed my weekend at the Black Belt Conference in Banff it was a positive experience that taught me new skills and how to improve old ones. 

Osu,

 

Jordan Forget

Calgary Dojo

 

 

          **********************************************************************

 

 

Osu!

 

          I had a great time at the 2010 Black Belt Conference. This year was much less stressful as I was not grading. I was able to enjoy the training sessions and the wonderful facility without worrying about what was about to happen to me in the test looming around the corner. 

          I found the instruction we received very inspiring! I enjoyed Kancho's instruction throughout the weekend. He focused on small details in your basic techniques that really make a difference in how you can perform them better. He accompanied his teaching with great stories that helped me visualize what you should be feeling in your body when performing specific techniques. He chose some pretty unique objects to think about like toothpaste tubes, tree trunks, bolts stuck in the ground, and catching flies to name just a few. These examples may sound strange but I found them very helpful! Shihan Gorai's classes using the tonfas were great. Having never used the tonfa I was pleasantly surprised how much fun they can be! Tonfa vs. Bo was pretty cool! 

          Wonderful training aside, another great thing about this camp is bringing karate-ka from all parts of the world together to train. Meeting new friends from across Canada and catching up with old buddies never gets old! Thank you for another great opportunity to learn and improve! 

Osu! 

Dean Bawtinheimer

PoCo Dojo

 

 

          ***********************************************************************

 

            The drive to Banff from Vancouver was a long one.  I was happy to hear about how excited my students were to go this year.  We all speculated on what the training would be like, if we would be in good enough shape, and how sore will we be when we pack up and leave on Sunday. 

          After arriving in Banff mid-afternoon on Friday, we decided to unpack and have a quick nap, so we would be well rested for the first training session.  Kancho Matsui led the first class on basic kihon.  I have been to many training camps over the years that involved extensive training of your basic kihon, and I am always amazed at how much I can still learn about how my body moves, as opposed to how it is supposed to move.  Kancho Matsui’s explanations on body movement were very thorough. 

The main focus of his classes were:

 

-         Proper posture

-         Transition of your weight as you move through your stances

-         Be creative with your basic kihon.  Just because a technique is taught one way, doesn’t mean that it can’t be used in a variety of different ways. 

I left the camp thinking not only about how I perform my own basic kihon, but how I teach them to others.  Kancho Matsui’s classes also showed me, that no matter how many years you have been training, and how much you think you have mastered your basic kihon, there is always something more to learn.   

I would like to thank Shihan Stuart, Sensei Kathy, and the rest of the organizing committee for hosting such an enjoyable weekend.  I look forward to the next Black Belt Conference in a couple of years.   

Osu

 Jeremy Russell

North Richmond Kyokushin 

          *****************************************************************

 

          ‘The World Unites AgainE was the theme for this unique training camp and the Conference offered the diversity of delivering its powerful experiences in an inspiring mountain location EBanff, AB. 

          While this was not my first time into and around Banff through work and leisure, it was my first time for attending an International Conference, and my first time staying at the Banff Centre. The stage was set to make my experience productive, energizing, rewarding and memorable, and I was not disappointed. 

          My room was shared with Shihan Mac Robertson, a Godan from the UK. Kyokushin has been a way of his life for 39 years and in many countries. We quickly formed a good friendship over the weekend.  

          The training was not so much physically demanding as it was mentally demanding, and continued to focus on reinforcing basics through instruction, so that each of us would continue to be consistent in our teachings about Kyokushin knowledge and bunkai to our Kohai. When one had a moment to reflect on the broad spectrum of participation involving 10 Shihans from different counties of the world, and the amount of experience contained within the training vestibule from 109 participants, it was awe inspiring yet provided an atmosphere of commonality.  

          Kancho Matsui led the first of four training sessions, and with the support of Shihan Gorai, reinforced how the basics had to be in tune with one’s body, with correct posture and breathing and timing.  For some of us it was learning how to relax for 5 or 10 minutes while in ‘ippon kumiteE and maintaining ‘kimeE then executing through stiff body parts until once again we’re loosened up. 

          During the reception on Friday night and over the course of meals shared during the conference one was able to renew relationships, forge new relationships and exchange information Ealways valuable.  

          The second day of training was as varied as the settings. Shihan Gorai led us through the Tonfa Kata, as we learned how to grip and handle the Tonfas while manoeuvring through various stances and kicks. Kancho Matsui continued to reinforce creativity and imagination through circle and point. The day was warm and clear as we ventured up Tunnel Mountain, each going up and down the 3 km distance at one’s own pace, while enjoying the ambiance.    Training was performed in a unique atmosphere on top of a different world, not often experienced.  During the last session Kancho Matsui again reinforced what our Shihans have been teaching us all along that kihon and katas must all relate to fighting; that one must practice more difficult techniques to keep our kumite fluid and balanced; that to be a more successful fighter one must perfect what other fighters do not practice: and that one must take the fight to where your opponents weaknesses are. We then practiced some ippon kumite with partners. The Sayonara dinner featured great food, camaraderie, presentations and thanks. 

          The third and final day opened with Shihan Gilbert quickly setting the pace by leading us through some Ido Geiko.  Then Shihan Gorai led us through the Bo Katas and once again through the Tonfa Kata.   Then we practiced some Tonfa on Tonfa Kasaho techniques and some Tonfa on Bo Kasaho techniques with partners. Kyokushin spirit was front and center during the final training session. Shihan S. Corrigal led us through Happo No Kuzushi-Kawashi first 16 and second 8 in Hidari and Migi as a continuation of circle and point techniques. Then we partnered up while Shihan D. Corrigal led us through some Goshin Jitsu, which reinforced controlling the space between you and your adversary in order for you to control the outcome. Shihan Gorai then reminded us how much it would take for us to attain ‘muso uchiE Kancho Matsui completed our training session by emphasizing the mind is all empowering to overcome one’s inhibitions and limitations, and that continuous self discovery is never ending.  

          We all have various takeaways from such Conferences. Mine was simple and straightforward. Individually and collectively, we should strive to be the change we want to see in the Kyokushin World, by improving and passing on the learnings taught by World Class Kyokushin practitioners.  

 Osu,  

Bruce Laffling

Richmond (South Arm) Dojo

 

      *****************************************************************

           

             This event was a little different than most of the other camps I've attended, but the end result was the same I came away from it with new ideas and am a better student for being there.           

            The training was not as brutal as we usually experience, but there is something to be said for teaching by way of talking too. 

            I found quite a few of the things Kancho talked about really caught my attention and opened my eyes....I learned a few ways to improve my basic technique, I learned a few new Ido Geiko combinations a little more about footwork, and several other things. 

            All things I plan to pass on to my students. 

            I believe a camp of this magnitude with the highest ranking member of our organization, should be about making better instructors, because almost everyone there is an instructor at their respective dojos. 

            We all know how to work our tails off, we do that in our Dojos every class, but having all of the Shihans take a little extra time and really teach us some new things was pretty special too.

 

Osu.

 

Keith Klughart

Nelson Dojo

 

            *********************************************************

  

            I was very nervous about attending this seminar at first. Not only because it was dubbed "Black Belt Conference" while I was currently a green belt, but also because I heard that guest appearances would be made by many Shihans of the world and by Kancho Matsui himself.  

            Most of my nervousness was quelled upon entry to the "dojo" way up in Banff. I saw that I was not the only green belt, but we were a group of about 6. What a relief it was for me. The training was not as intense as my imagination had made it out to be on the road to Banff. Instead, it was quite theory-heavy. Kancho talked about finding the essence of karate and he made many analogies that made understanding concepts a lot easier. For example, how the whole organization was like a watch factory and we were watches. Basics, moving basics, katas, fighting and other parts of our training all represented an integral component of the watch. If even one of those pieces were not in good form, the watch as a whole would perform poorly. Also, we often had to take apart the watch and polish up certain parts to ensure we can take a lickin' and keep on tickin'.

            The whole time I was there, an odd underlying feeling irked me. I saw here, rows and rows of black belts, many of which had their own dojos, their own students and were masters in their own right. To see them all gathered here and follow the instruction of someone ranked even higher was a revelation for me. To see that even our Senseis are still students, learning and practicing to better themselves as students to make even greater teachers; it was awe inspiring.  

            Though there was very little time in between trainings for leisure activities, I had a great time in the hotel. The food was amazing, and coming from me, that's saying something. Interactions with Shihans again proved my far-fetched imagination wrong. They too are human in every sense of the word. They aren't perfect karate gods, they too are as much of a karateka as we are. They practice and practice to achieve perfection and push us hard in training for our own good; but when talking to them, eating with them and being around them outside of the dojo, they are really down-to-earth, great people that have much to share with the world.  

            I am very happy that I ended up going and learning as much as I did. (Did I mention we learned a kata using tonfa?) I thank all my Sempais for the knowledge, training and good time. I look forward to the next event and hope that I can attend it as well.

 OSU.

 John Kleschelsky

Vancouver Dojo

 

            *********************************************************

  

            I always look forward to training camps and one of my favorites is the Black Belt Conference. This year was no exception. 

            The facility is world class and the setting is out of this world. What a place for us to train!  What a showcase for Canada to our friends from around the world.           

            The theme for me this year was a comment made by a Shihan from another country I have met at previous conferences.  It stuck with me all weekend. To quote,  “I love coming to this camp because we always learn something.Enbsp;

            It always amazes me that Kyokushin practitioners with 30, 40 or even 50 years still strive to learn. It is a testament to the dynamic nature of Kyokushin Karate and the dedication to the Budo tradition by its members to strive for knowledge and self-fulfillment. 

            It was really great to have representation from Japan, Singapore, England, Scotland, the United States and a really large group from Quebec. Not to mention all the great people from western Canada. 

            The instruction was also world class, from world-class instructors. Kancho Matsui, Shihan Stuart Corrigal, Shihan Don Corrigal, Shihan Gorai, and Shihan Gilbert.

             Each instructor did an excellent job conveying their technical knowledge and their message. I found that each of them has their own method of instruction and personality and are all differentE and yet they are all enthusiastic, interesting and show a real passion for Kyokushin.

             It was also apparent to me that the return to basics that our organization in western Canada has been promoting was a theme by all instructors. To be good at fighting, kata or goshin jitsu, a command of basics is essential.

             Each and every instructor stressed this. They also said, that everyone needs to go back to basics and practice the things you are not good at so that you can improve.

             Kancho said, that you need to get better at the things you don’t know well because as a fighter you can then read your opponent. If you do not know his techniques you will be beaten.

             I learned a lot from this camp about how I should be directing my own training.  There is no fear of getting bored because there is just so much to learn and so little time. Besides it’s a lot of fun.

             If anyone feels bored or feels that there is not much new to learn just go to a training camp. Our instructors are motivated, interesting, world class andE they just keep coming up with new stuff!!!

             Oh YeahEgetting together with old friends is the best!

 OSU!

  

Bill Stalker

Rocky Mountain Dojo

 

            ********************************************************

   

OSU, The camp was very well structured and the tuition was excellent.

            Kancho covered some very important points that many had 'forgotten' and by covering these point brought new focus back to them.  

            Shihan Gorai took a couple of excellent classes in the weapons of, Bo and Tonfa, which focused on learning by doing, not just feeding information that is sometimes more complicated than actually doing the techniques.  

            The short but sweet session by Shihan Gilbert was again informative by action.

             The march up the mountain took its toll but was really enjoyed by those who made it!  The view takes your breath away (as does the walk up there!!!)

             All in all, a great seminar, with great instruction and great people. The next one should not be missed,

 OSU.

 

Shihan Mac Robertson

England

 

            ***********************************************************

  

OSU...! 

    I looked in the mirror at home, and discovered that I probably survived the Camp... I have to admit that it occasionally was tough, but manageable, and I have to specifically thank Shihan for initiating, organizing and maintaining this event, which is of special position in my memory, always...! 

    THANK U VERY MUCH...! 

    Going to the camp I left at home all big World Karate Politics, as apart from historical interest to me I am not specifically concerned, concentrating instead on my own participation, ich, ni, san way, which is of much greater importance to me than anything else...

             Having been, however, aware of the goings on internationally, and that quite in detail as well, (and having guessed that others have been equally aware of the same...), I have to admit that I was concerned -- and this not so much in a political but rather in a personal sense, of a quite difficult position Shihan could have been in versus all that mess out there... Shihan, your grace and political suave, however, was exemplary by all means, of which recognition from my perspective I want you to become aware herewith...        

            Shihan, at this camp, you have possibly noticed, that even when encouraged by you to ask questions, etc. all camp participants did not take any occasion to do so, for in my opinion any question would've been, I realized, for one, to difficult to answer, and for two obtaining an "answer" would've been of not much material to most of us anyway... I think this thing is too complicated for a casual discussion, and too immaterial at this point, as things will possibly be settled by the course of time.  Having said that, I understand most camp attendees chose to withdraw from any further discussion about the subject and step aside into the world of... OSU...!  

            Once more, and very much personally, to all camp participants and instructors, please accept my very most sincere THANKS...!

     OSU...!

 

    Jan (TEKO)

    Sensei   

     PS - It's not the end of the story... For on the way home my companion, Alexey, quite dangerously suggested that, may be, we should attempt an ascent on the Sulfum Mountain, by trail, eh...? Stupid as I sometimes am, I conceded, and you know what...? It hurt up top...! And I wanted to share this stupidity with you too... 

 Jan Terezecenko

Edmonton Dojo 

Editors note:  Sensei Jan at +70 years of age was the oldest participating student at the camp.  He never missed one training session.  OSU.

 

            ***************************************************************

  

            I had the privilege and honour to attend the  ' 7th International North

American Black Belt Camp held in Banff, Alberta Canada ' October 8,9/10th

2010. 

            Perhaps amongst one of the most poignant periods in our organization’s

History, we are again reminded on Sosai's comment echoed not only in words but in execution from our Shihan's and the head of our organization  ' Kancho Matsui ' the immortal few words  " Just train. " 

            Most noticeable this year was the strength of the relationship across the country in Kyokushin Canada and the bond that has developed over the years with East and West. 

            Whilst earlier there was eager and hopeful anticipation of attendance from all over the world that again Shihan Filio from Brazil would once again be able to accept the invitation to attend in sharing any Brazilian fighter training techniques, we were nevertheless graced with the participation of Kancho Matsui who himself is an ex World Champion and one of few to complete the 100 man Kumite.

             The Bo training once again with Shihan Gorai as well as the introduction of the " tonfa ,"  both kata and practical application was most interesting as well as purposeful for enhancing fighting techniques. 

            More importantly, despite all the midst of the hype and previous anticipation of complex Brazilian fighting techniques possibly being exposed or passed on from one of the greater Kyokushin fighters in current time,.... Kancho quietly shared many detailed ' comments on the importance of attention to detail and technique ' at all times '.

             The most important may be to remind ourselves of the purpose of training so not to forget that each detail is related to fighting and so therefore should be practiced as a fighting application at all times. 

            " Go back, go over it again, train what you can not do or do not do, the importance of posture, breathing, power and strength of technique as well as kime.  Do not aspire to be like a specific Champion by copying style but to become your own fighter by training and perfecting those techniques best suited to yourself.  Use full range of motion " ..............all very sound 'basic' instruction, yet perhaps we should look deeper into the comments and direction made to the importance of basic technique.  This echoed over and over by Shihan Donald in instructing Goshin Jitsu by demonstrating the effectiveness of the result.

             Something's we have heard many times from our Shihan's or experienced Sensei's as well as Shihan Bobby Lowe on many occasions, who is missed, at every camp he does not attend.

             Kancho used many effective analogies to try to communicate the importance and reason for perfect technique including not to slap the feet back on the ground, for the third time while being very courteous suggesting that we ' must remember this ' as well as sharing some of his own insight on fighting with very effective techniques. 

            As a previous fighter of his standing, first hand training experience with

Sosai, and as the chosen head of our organization, just may be there is some importance to 'attention to detail' and the experience shared.

             An excellent camp again and many things learned... maybe.

 OSU. 

Neil Rowley

POCO Dojo