Kazoku Kai hosts visit of Master Isamu Arakaki 10th Dan from Okinawa
From the 9th-22nd June 2010 Kazoku Kai were proud to have a visit from one of the most senior karate-ka in the world today master Isamu Arakaki. He and his son Ryuta Arakaki came all the way from Okinawa Japan to do 2 weeks of training for the students of Kazoku Kai. He was met at Heathrow airport by chief instructor Derek Ridgway 7th Dan and Dave Wilkins 6th Dan. The traffic around London was terrible but before too long we had him and his son comfortably in their hotel in Leicester.
The next day which was a Thursday was spent with Dave Wilkins showing them both around Leicester so they could familiarise themselves with what was where. That evening at Dave’s Leicester dojo Master Arakaki taught his 1st lesson which was to cover the kata Naihanchin Sandan. The next day was a rest day to allow time to prepare for the weekend which was to be at the Leicester dojo and was to involve Sensei Arakaki teaching both Saturday and Sunday. It was a good turn out for the weekend and Sensei Arakaki covered all aspects of his style from Kihon to Kata.
On Monday he and his son were picked up from their hotel by Derek Ridgway and taken on a sight seeing trip into Wales to see some mountains and the scenery which Wales is famous for. They were also taken to the beautiful town of Shrewsbury and shown around including seeing a statue of Shrewsbury’s most famous person Charles Darwin. That night Sensei taught his first session at the Kazoku Kai Hombu dojo at Westcroft near Wolverhampton. This class was devoted especially to Kihon training with the emphasis on punching correctly. It was a hard session but all really enjoyed it. Dave Wilkins came over from Leicester to take sensei and Ryuta back to their hotel for a well earned rest.
Tuesday sensei was again at the Leicester dojo that evening and he started to teach us the Pinan Kata we covered both Pinan Shodan and Pinan Nidan. Wednesday was to see him again coming over to sensei Ridgway’s Hombu dojo in Westcroft. This class was spent covering kata Pinan Sandan. On Thursday night back in Leicester we covered Pinan Yondan kata. Things were progressing at a fast pace with sensei wanting to get as much information about his style as possible over to us in the time given before he went home.
Friday was to be a sightseeing day and both Derek and Dave took sensei Arakaki and Ryuta on a trip down to the capital city of London. It was to be a full day which would see us taking in most of the famous sights around London. The highlight of the day was the trip on the open top bus which gave both sensei and his son the opportunity to snap all the sights on their cameras. For sensei Arakaki his highlight was to visit Buckingham Palace and have his photo taken outside. After a nice meal in a Spanish restaurant in Piccadilly Circus we headed back to Leicester. Sensei had enjoyed his day but was now ready for his hotel and rest.
Saturday and Sunday was to see sensei Arakaki teaching at Featherstone near Wolverhampton. Again a good turn out was there to train and learn from this Okinawan Master. The content was again with the emphasis on good Kihon. We did a few thousand punches over the weekend which saw sensei giving time to all who attended. He personally corrected every student when they needed it and made sure no one left the training without understanding the principles of his karate.
Saturday evening was a special BBQ and party at Sensei Ridgway’s house. We were obviously celebrating the visit of Master Arakaki and his son from Okinawa. But also we had 2 birthdays to celebrate. Ashley San the famous Welshman was 30 and Dave’s long time partner Lauren was also celebrating her birthday. Everyone had a great evening with Sensei Aragaki and his son really enjoying themselves and getting well into the spirit of things.
Monday was to be Sensei Arakaki’s last session before his return to Okinawa. It was fitting that it was in the Kazoku Kai Hombu dojo. We covered Pinan Godan kata and recapped all the previous kata. Sensei Wilkins was taught Kushanku Dai kata and sensei Ridgway Seisan kata. At the end of training sensei Ridgway presented sensei Arakaki with a special award to commemorate his visit to England and to thank him for his excellent instruction. After training we all retired to the local where sensei amused us with stories from the old days in Okinawa and the exploits of the famous old masters who lived in those times.
What a special 2 weeks we had and it was with a great sadness in our hearts that we waved goodbye to Master Arakaki and his son Ryuta. The next day Tuesday was to see sensei Wilkins drive them both back to Heathrow airport for their long trip home. Before he left Sensei told us he would be back in the not too distant future. We can’t wait!
Special note from Sensei Derek Ridgway
Through this website I would like to say a few thank you’s to people who helped make the visit of Arakaki sensei such a success.
I would like to thank all the students who attended the training both at weekends and during the week. Thanks for your support I am sure like me you enjoyed every minute of the training and learned loads.
I would like to thank John Walsh aka the bunny, and Ashley Griffiths aka Ashley san for helping me look after sensei on various sight seeing trips.
Special thanks goes to my wife Lori who stood and cooked at the BBQ all Saturday night and missed training on Saturday to organise the party.
A very big thank you goes to Dave Wilkins who virtually single handed organised the trip from start to finish. Without his help we just would not have pulled off such a major event as this. So thanks Dave from all at Kazoku Kai.
Another big thanks goes to Sensei Ryuta Arakaki who came all the way from Okinawa to assist his father in the training. He helped people, putting them right when they were struggling and helped out when the class was split between seniors and lower belts. He has made many friends here and we look forward to seeing him again in the future.
Lastly our biggest thanks goes to Master Isamu Arakaki who travelled all the way from Okinawa to teach the students from Kazoku kai. His knowledge of karate is a joy to behold he is without doubt the finest instructor I have ever trained with in the 40 years that I have been doing karate. On behalf of myself and all the students of Kazoku Kai we thank him from the bottom of our hearts. He has inspired us and lit a spark in our bellies, to work hard at our training and follow his example. We look forward to seeing him again soon.