A welcome return to the birthplace of Karate
From 29 July to 11 August 2022 a delegation of 15 adults and 1 child from the Kodokan Cummings Karate Dojo, travelled to represent Australia at the 1st Junior and 2nd [Senior] Okinawa Karate World Tournament, along with more than 2,000 participants from around the world.
With Japan remaining strict on COVID-19 regulations, entry into Japan was permitted only with an invitation letter from the 2nd Okinawa Karate World Tournament Executive Committee.
This year’s tournament was the second seniors tournament (with the first in 2018), and the inaugural juniors tournament. It is designed for karate practitioners across Okinawa, Japan and overseas to come together to showcase the results of their daily training and promote Okinawan karate.
Of the delegation, three karate practitioners competed. Reece Cummings placed in the Top 16 in the Male I Shuri/Tomari Division (increasing his world ranking from the Top 32 in 2018). Tom Smithson, age 9, also travelled to Okinawa to compete and placed in the Top 16 of the Boys and Girls II Shuri/Tomari Division. Black belt dojo member, Sean Wallace, also placed in the Top 32 in the Male I Shuri/Tomari Division.
The tournament was not the only purpose of the trip, though; the delegation engaged in various cultural and physical education activities while in Okinawa, including visiting prominent landmarks and participating in daily karate training at Taira Dojo, Arakaki Dojo, and Makishi Dojo.
The training was particularly rewarding and every student walked away with not only improved karate, but a deeper appreciation for Okinawan culture, and a better understanding of the phrase Ichariba chode, or, ‘once we meet, we are family’. We are thankful to our teachers and all those that supported this trip and made it so successful and memorable.
The group visited a variety of cultural sites, such as Matsuyama Park, Shurijo Castle, the new monument of Osensei Nagamine and existing monument to Kosaku Matsumora in Tomari, the Churaumi Aquarium, and of course, Shureido!
Reece Cummings was also invited to represent the Okinawan Prefectural Karatedo Federation as one of eight individual demonstrators at the Opening Ceremony of the World Tournament. “Representing my karate style and the Okinawan Prefectural Karatedo Federation—alongside some of the world’s most senior karate instructors—is an honor and highlight of my 20+ years in the martial arts, and one that I will never forget”, said Reece Cummings.
While on the trip, Reece was also promoted to the rank of 5th Dan, alongside Mr Kugan Sundarmurthy from India, who was promoted to 4th Dan, after being evaluated by Taira-kaicho, Arakaki-fukukaicho, and Tome-sensei.
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