Canada Report October 2011
Report on Kazoku Kai Trip to Vancouver October 2011
On Saturday 1st October sensei Derek Ridgway and his wife Lori left Manchester airport England for Vancouver B.C Canada. It is quite a long 9 hour flight from the UK to the far side of Canada and the lovely city of Vancouver. At the airport in Vancouver the weary travellers were met by sensei Mike Scales, chief instructor for Kazokukai Canada. As normal Mike and his wife Liz would be looking after Lori and Derek while they were over for what would be sensei Ridgway’s 13th trip to Vancouver.
The start of the trip was used to get used to the jet lag and catch up with all the news about what has been going on since the last trip and of course any news of events from the UK. This year’s trip was to be taken up by 4 classes at Mike’s dojo in Coquitlam near Vancouver; a trip to a dojo in Everett near Seattle in the USA; a trip to Vancouver Island for two classes; and a trip to the town of Hope, around a two hour drive into the mountains, to teach a class there so it was going to be a busy couple of weeks.
The study for the four classes at Mike’s dojo was kata Useishi (Gojushiho) and its many bunkai. Sensei Ridgway explained that it was an old koshiki or classical version of the kata hence it was called by its original name Useishi. The first class was taken up teaching the 1st half of the kata and then the 2nd class would be to teach the bunkai or applications of the kata to that point. Useishi is one of the longest kata in karate so half way was more than enough for one session.
Next day it was off to the USA for an afternoon class at sensei John Solheim’s Everett dojo. John represents Kazokukai in that area and he wanted to be taught some Okinawan Shorin Ryu by sensei Ridgway. All the basic kihon were taught along with Fukyu kata ichi, Pinan nidan and Naihanchin shodan. It was an intense course for one afternoon but John took it all in his stride and is now going to start to study the system more deeply, looking to introduce it into his dojo. After training we went for a meal with John and his wife Nancy, then set off over the border back into Canada.
Then next evening it was back to Mike’s dojo and bunkai for the 1st half of Useishi kata. As normal students were soon putting each other through various degrees of pain as they got to grips with the meaning of the movements. After training it was back home for a bite and an early night as we were off to the island for the next two days and it was an early start for the ferry.
Our first class on Vancouver Island was at the Campbell river shito ryu dojo of our good friend Roy Tippenhauer. It is our 3rd trip to his dojo in the lovely town of Campbell River towards the north of Vancouver Island. Roy had asked sensei Ridgway to cover kata Juroku for his junior class which was the first class of the evening. The performance of the kata was covered in detail and sensei made sure everyone present could get through the kata from beginning to end. Next, as normal for sensei Ridgway, some bunkai was shown so that even the most junior present had an insight into what the movements were for. The next class was for seniors and was to cover Seipai kata with a lot of the class to be devoted to its applications. This class proved to be great fun and much enjoyed by all present. It was great to see all the students really enjoying their training, they are a credit to sensei Tippenhauer. It was good to see that the course was supported by other dojo’s in the area with all students there to learn and enjoy their training. Sensei Tippenhauer had a large tournament to run next day so special thanks to Roy for organising a course with sensei Ridgway at such a busy time.
Next day we were again up early for the drive south to the capital of Vancouver Island, Victoria. Today we were to teach for the first time at the Victoria Shotokan dojo in the naval HQ in Victoria. Again we had two classes one for the juniors and one for the seniors. The juniors covered the bunkai to heian nidan kata and the seniors covered bunkai to kata Gojshiho-sho. Both classes were very well received and we made some new friends there for the future. A big thanks goes to sensei Stephanie Needham who organised the training, sensei Ridgway looks forward to going there again in the future. It was now back to the ferry for the crossing back to the mainland.
I am sure Mike had done enough driving the last few days, but we had one more road trip next day to the town of Hope in the mountains, so again we were up early and on the road of to teach at the dojo of Norm Losier a very senior 7th Dan instructor in the Isshin Ryu style of Okinawan karate. This class was a real pleasure for sensei Ridgway to teach because it was in such beautiful surroundings in a superb dojo with mountains all around, and because he was to teach a kata he learnt while in Okinawa called Passai Sho from the Shorin Ryu dojo of Isamu Arakaki. The training was again enjoyed by all present covering both the form and the application from the kata. The class was also joined by sensei Don Shapland 7th dan Kobudo who has spent many years study in Okinawa so it was home from home for him. After training we all went to lunch and of course talked and talked about martial arts.
Next day was thanksgiving and we were ready for a rest and a time to relax. Liz always excels at these events with superb cooking and a veritable feast was produced for us all to enjoy. Joining us for dinner were Kevin Mellor and his wife Lynn. Kevin formally did the Chito ryu style of karate but now is learning the Shito ryu style. As so much karate was talked by the boys, the girls chatted over a nice glass of wine. Special thanks to Liz for such a fine dinner and glasses raised to the Scales’ for a super day.
The next training was back at Mike’s dojo for the 2nd part of Useishi kata. Tonight sensei Don Shapland had come along to train bringing his daughter with him. We repeated the kata over and over as it is long so it needs to be practiced many times just to get the order. Kevin Mellor came over and got stuck in, thoroughly enjoying himself. After training we all met up later in the pub for a bite and much needed pint and to discuss what we had done so far. The last training session was again at Mike’s dojo and this time it was to finish off the bunkai to Useishi kata and repeat the kata to ensure everyone could remember it.
It was a great trip and another success for Kazokukai with all classes being much appreciated and many new friends made.
Messages of thanks from sensei Ridgway
I would personally like to thank the following people for their support during this year’s trip.
Firstly a big thank you goes to all the karate-ka who came to my seminars and trained during my visit. Thanks for your support I hope you all enjoyed the training and I hope to see you all again next year.
I would like to thank Roy Tippenauer for inviting me to his dojo in Campbell River, even though he had a large tournament next day he still found time to have me teach a seminar. Thanks Roy you are a great example as a sensei and karate-ka. Thanks to Chad Edberg for helping me explain the bunkai.
Thanks to Stephanie Needham and the students of Victoria Shotokan for making me so welcome in my first visit to their dojo.
Thanks to Norm Losier of the Yama dojo in Hope for inviting me for the first time and for looking after me so well.
Big thanks to John Solheim who runs Kazoku kai in Everet USA. We had a great day at his dojo and it is very good that he is now starting to learn Shorin Ryu which I am learning in Okinawa. I thank John and his wife Nancy for their hospitality.
Special thank you to Don Shapland 7th Dan Ryukyu kobudo for attending some of my seminars. I am sure we will be seeing more of each other in the future.
Of course a big thanks goes to Mike Scales and his dojo members for always making me feel welcome and at home. Thanks to Chuck Julson for helping me demonstrate bunkai.
Finally a big personal thank you from myself and my wife Lori goes to Mike and Liz who looked after us so well and made us feel just like family (kazoku) Without them all the things above would not have happened. They are a great couple and we always leave feeling refreshed but a little sad as we wave goodbye and head back to the UK.
Next years trip is on the cards for possibly May/June time - keep an eye on the website for details.