Mr Steve Woolston’s Recent Visit to Okinawa

My name is Steve Woolston, and I am a 5th Dan and dojo owner from England.  I recently visited Okinawa and stayed for a total of eight days.   During my short trip I had the opportunity to train on a number of  occasions with my teacher Arakaki Toshimitsu, Hanshi and also visited many  places around the Island, even taking a day out to visit the island of  Kume-jima. The part of the trip that was most enjoyable to me, aside from the karate  studies of course, was having the chance to further my knowledge and understanding of the warm culture that seems to be found everywhere on  Okinawa. I have been lucky enough to have visited Okinawa now on ten  occasions since first travelling over in 2010, and each time there is  seemingly more and more to learn about its people, history and traditions.   As a dojo, we are already making plans for our trip in October/November  next year, and we are looking forward to it immensely. It is always  difficult to convey the gratitude that we have for the generosity of our  teachers and seniors in Matsubayashi-ryu, but perhaps the best way we can  show it is by continuing to work hard and by spreading the great work that  the WMKA are doing in supporting our efforts in following the  Matsubayashi-ryu tradition. I would also like to take the opportunity to thank Ms. Becka Tedder for her  kindness and hospitality during my recent stay.  

John Hamric returns to Okinawa

John Hamric returns to Okinawa Five years have passed since my last trip to Okinawa. Past trips have been to attend seminars. This trip was to attend one on one sessions with Sensei’s. A special thanks to Mr. Riki Nomura for the arrangements of training times with Arakaki Sensei and Tome Sensei. My week began with training in Arakaki Sensei’s dojo. Although I have attended seminars in the US in the past taught by Sensei, this was my first opportunity to train with him as the only student. The one on one sessions allow for direct observations of all techniques which in turn in my case lead to many suggestions for improvement. For anyone who has not had the opportunity to experience this type of instruction, I would highly recommend that you do so. The second day of training, Sensei introduced me to bo kata Shiromatsu. After a brief instruction of this kata, he allowed me to attend a training session at his original dojo. Words cannot express the gratitude for having experienced this session. To be allowed the opportunity to train with some of Sensei’s students was unbelievable. During this session, I also met a fellow US country man, Jason Christian, from the Cocoa Beach Shorin-Ryu dojo. This was Jason’s last night of training of a three month stay. I envy anyone being able to spend this much time in this beautiful area learning about the art of karate. My third day of training was devoted to continuing the […]

New Year’s Greeting from the President 

News from Okinawa  January 1,2020 New Year’s Greeting from the President    Dear WMKA members around the world, Shiratama nu simi tu ku-bu kajyati  kukuru kara shigata wakaku naimisochi  iisho-guwachi de-biru ! A Happy New Year !  I congratulate you all in welcoming bright and hopeful New Year ! . 2019 was a historical year for Japan ! The name of the Japanese Imperial era was changed from Heisei to Reiwa. Please visit the Japanese imperial transition on the Website for detailed information.  2020 will be an Olympic year for the whole world and especially for Japan. An Okinawan karate athlete is very close to the Gold medal in “Karate Kata” competition in Tokyo 2020. We believe it is not just a dream that he will win the first gold medal for Okinawa. Karate and Okinawa will be more recognized in every corner of the world. The symbol of Okinawan culture and history, the emotional foundation of the heart and identity of Okinawan, Shuri-castle was burned down on October 31, 2019. It is not only a sad and big loss to Okinawa but also to the people around the world who know Okinawa.  Shuri castle and related properties of the Kindom of Ryukyu were registered under UNESCO World Heritage site as one of the 11 registered sites in all of Japan in 2000. We pray for the quick restoration of Shuri castle. Both the Okinawam & Japanese government have started to work together for its realization. On top of that, many enterprises […]

Fred Schlesinger’s Trip to Okinawa and Kume Island November 2019

From November 6th through November 21st 2019, I visited Okinawa and Kume (Kumejima) Island. This was my fourth trip to Okinawa, but my first visit to Kume Island. Upon arriving in Okinawa I had been dealing with a misplaced laptop computer and case at Haneda Airport in Tokyo. However the following day it had been found. Airport customs informed me that I would have to return to Tokyo to retrieve my computer. My international driver’s license and some Japanese Yen were in the case. My first night in Okinawa was spent at the Mercure Hotel not far from the airport due to my late arrival on the 6th.  For the rest of my stay, I stayed in a very nice Airbnb apartment in the Tsuboya district between Asato and Makishi Yui Rail stations. The morning after arrival, I was speaking with someone in the hotel regarding my laptop and I was approached by the vice president of the hotel chain who offered his help. Through negotiation between the hotel manager and the head of customs at Haneda airport, an arrangement to send my laptop and case back to Naha with a hotel employee visiting Tokyo was possible with my signature and copy of my passport. Within a few days I had everything back with nothing missing! This was due to the kindness of the hotel staff. I was amazed and so very grateful. Thanks to Mr. Riki Nomura I was given a great karate practice schedule. Mr. Nomura also brought […]

Toshimitsu Arakaki Sensei’s Visit to Australia- November 2019

On 20 November 2019, Sensei Toshimitsu Arakaki, Vice-President of the World Matsubayashryu Karatedo Association (WMKA) arrived for his fourth visit to Australia, prepared to deliver a series of wonderful seminars for the dojo of the Matsubayashiryu Karate Association of Australia (MKAA). This year was an extra special year as the MKAA celebrated its 20th Anniversary, and the Cummings Karate Dojo its 10th Anniversary. Beginning with his trip in NSW, hosted by Sensei John Carlyle (Chief Instructor Australia), Sensei Arakaki taught at three different dojo across the state, with training each morning and evening, being attended by around 30 students at each lesson. During the NSW seminars, the MKAA was also lucky to have guests from WMKA New Zealand, including Sensei Kevin Plaisted (Chief Instructor NZ), Sensei Tim Herlihy, and Ms Isabelle Plaisted, as well as a team of MKAA ACT members, and instructors from other local dojo. To conclude the NSW end of the trip, four candidates successfully tested for various levels of black belt, including Mike Meagher (2nd Dan, ACT Dojo), Fred Connellan (2nd Dan, ACT Dojo), Arianto Patunru (1st Dan, ACT Dojo), and Hernan Omal (1st Dan, NSW Dojo), which was then followed by an official dinner to close the NSW Seminars. The seminar series then continued, moving to Australia’s National Capital (Canberra), to deliver a series of seminars at the Cummings Karate Dojo, hosted by Sensei Reece Cummings (Head Instructor Canberra). Sensei Arakaki delivered a morning session and evening session most days, with evening sessions including kids classes attended by more […]

Mr. Andreas Aleman (Groningen / Netherlands) and Mr. Heinz Tessner (Grossefehn / Germany)visit to Okinawa November 2019.

This was my 6th trip to Okinawa, from 2nd November 2019 until 9th November 2019. Having in mind and being proud to be a part of the one-of-a-kind family of Matsubayashi Ryu, it was again with a big anticipation and curiosity to be on Okinawa and having the chance to learn from the Sensei here again. Having the opportunity to sweat the Gi in the Dojo of the Sensei is always and will be a gift which is not possible to describe. With the fantastic pre-work of Riki Nomura san it was possible again to get corrections, help, support and the feeling of being part of this wonderful family in the dojo and under the watchful eyes of Taira Yoshitaka Sensei, Arakaki Toshimitsu Sensei, Tome Iwao Sensei, Shinzato Masao Sensei and Miyagi Tugio Sensei several times. Having keiko with the Sensei shows always how far the way still is to go, but how wonderful this journey is and will be. While it always wonderful to meet old friends and make new ones, it is also important to learn and see about the okinawan culture and nature. This year I have had the chance to be at Nakijin Gusuku and visit this impressive world heritage. I was from my first visit in 2010 impressed by the open minded, warm, heartly people of Okinawa. For 2020 there will be on the schedule the next visit and participation for the unveiling of the memorial stone of Nagamine Shoshin Osensei end of October. The plan is to […]

England Karateka on His First Visit to Okinawa

My name is Joel Castasus from Bristol, England and I visited Okinawa for the first time from 19th to 29th Oct 2019.  Although my main purpose was just to meet and train with the masters, I ended up with much, much more. Training with the Masters My first training session was at the Tome Dojo. I was nervous but equally excited. Tome Iwao Hanshi is 78 years old and a 9th Dan. My second training was equally or even more nerve racking! It was at the Taira Dojo. Taira Yoshitaka Hanshi is a 10th dan, President of the WMKA and Chairman of the Okinawan Prefecture Karate Federation. My third training was with Arakaki Toshimitsu Hanshi. I was a lot less nervous meeting Arakaki Sensei, because I had settled a bit and also, I had met Arakaki Sensei before. He couldn’t remember me from a seminar 2 years ago, but I cannot blame him for this, as there were other students at that time and he actively travels and teaches around the world meeting new people constantly.  Arakaki Sensei is and he is 76 years old, a 10th dan and the Vice- President of the WMKA. The fourth teacher I met was Shinzato Masao Kyoshi at the Ozato Dojo. Shinzato Sensei is an 8th dan and 76 years old as well. I felt a bit more relaxed, mainly because a few trainings were done and I knew some dojo etiquette and what to expect.  It was a good session with new inputs and corrections. According […]

Mr. Guido Engels Visit to Okinawa

My trip to Okinawa 20.October until 01.November 2019. For the fourth time I have been here now and still the fascination is unbroken. As always, I meet old and new friends from all over the world. I am grateful to be a part of the Matsubayashi Ryu family. We all share the passion to learn karate and improve it. For me as a dojo owner it is important to get corrections from the masters and pass them on to my students. This year I had the opportunity to train with Taira Sensei, Arakaki Sensei, Tome Sensei and Miyagi Sensei. Friday 25th of October I saw the Karate no Hi demonstrations at the Karate-do Kaikan It was unbelievably fascinating to see Taira Sensei and all the other Sensei`s from different styles performing there Kata. 27 October I was part of the Kata Demonstration on Kokusai Street. Over 2000 participants demonstrated the Kata Fukyugata Ichi and Fukyugata Ni. We as Matsubayashi Ryu group showed 2 more Kata (Wankan and Wanshu). It was a unique experience. Okinawa has so much to offer, friendly and warm-hearted people, a lot of  culture and nature . Everywhere there are new things to find and see. This year it was for example the monument of Chotoku Kyan (Chan mig-wa) in Kadena at the river Hija, the Hiji Waterfalls,Kouri Island (Heart Rocks), the Okinawa Peace Park and also up in the North Kayauchi Banta . I hope to see you all next year 2020 at the unveiling of the memorial stone […]

Karate-ka from Ireland Visit Okinawa

Karate-ka from Ireland Visit Okinawa Martin O’Malley 4th Dan and Michael O’Neill 3rd Dan from Ireland visited Okinawa from the 20th to the 28th of October for their second visit of 2019.  As always they received a warm welcome from the teachers who had prepared a schedule of training of between two and three times per day at various Dojo. During this visit they were hosted by Taira Sensei, Arakaki Sensei, Tome Sensei, Miyagi Sensei and Shinzato Sensei.  The training at these Dojo which saw them practice Basics, Kata and Partner Exercises for both Karate and Kobujutsu was very intense but very beneficial for both men who felt that this level of training was very important for their further development.  Both men were very grateful to each of the teachers for their continued support and guidance. Friday 25th of October saw the Karate no Hi demonstrations at the Karate-do Kaikan which they had the opportunity to attend.  Taira Sensei was among the teachers who demonstrated at this event where he gave an outstanding performance of Chinto.  Just before the demonstrations began they took a tour of the museum at the Karate-do Kaikan where there were many very interesting displays of Karate and Kobujutsu artefacts.  That afternoon they visited Matsuyama Park to check out the 100 Kata Challenge organised by Challenge Okinawa. On Sunday 27th October they joined a group of 2,100 Karate practitioners to demonstrate Fukyugata Ichi and Fukyugata Ni on Kokusai Street and after as part of the Matsubayashi-ryu […]

Belleville Seminar 2019 Westminster Karate

  On September 20th and 21st, 2019, Westminster Matsubayashi-ryu Karate-Do Club of Swansea/ Belleville, IL. the Dojo of Ed French, 6th Dan and Marsha Lauko, 5th Dan, sponsored a WMKA Seminar. We were honored to have Toshimitsu Arakaki Sensei, Hanshi, 10th Dan and Vice President of the WMKA lead the seminar.    The seminar opened with comments from Fred Christian, 8th Dan, Kyoshi and Ed French, 6th Dan who stated the two objectives of the seminar were to learn from Arakaki Sensei and have a good time.   Over 85 WMKA members attended the seminar including 20 Dojo owners from England, Ireland, Australia and throughout the United States. During the seminar Arakaki Sensei reviewed Fukyugata I and II,  Pinan III and bunkai, the seven Yakusoku Kumite with some minor modifications, two Bo Kata and Bo bunkai. Participants were very complimentary of the attention and help they received to ensure they were using proper technique not only from Arakaki Sensei but also from Senior Ranked Dojo owners such as Scott Mastin 7th Dan (Ohio),  John Carlyle 6th Dan (Australia), Gerard Cappiello 6th Dan, (NY), Fred Schlesinger 5th Dan (NM), Steve Woolston 5th Dan (England) and Martin O’Malley 4th Dan (Ireland).  We owe a special thanks to Takeharu Nishida, 1st Dan for his assisting Arakaki Sensei as an interpreter. Four individuals were evaluated and elevated in rank,  Lisa Miller to 1st dan (Sensei Chaskelson), Mary MacIntire and Janice Schuchart to 2nd Dan ( Sensei Lauko and French) and Vanessa Cook (Sensei Norvell) […]