Nelson dojo will be starting a new children’s class starting - Wednesday 6 March from 5 to 6pm. New members are most welcome along with parents/caregivers and supporters.
As I return to the the Jundokan Honbu Dojo in Okinawa for the fourth time now, I am once again reminded of the humbleness and kindness of those masters from whom we seek to learn the art of Goju Ryu. That said, however, this trip has been the first time I’ve realised that, perhaps it hasn't always been this way, and that the karate training of the past was indeed very different to that which are accustomed to now.
After inviting me out for lunch one afternoon, Gima-sensei, 9th dan and chief director at the Jundokan, told me a story of his early days training under Ei’ichi Miyazato Sensei. He said that very few of his senpai, or senior students, really understood the ‘soft’ side of Goju. Training was extremely tough, and out of the 100 students who joined around the same time as him, only two were left training in the end. Gima-sensei recited tales of the brutality his senpais would inflict upon him, both inside the dojo and out. He reminisced about receiving split lips from punches to the face and then being forced to drink carbonated drinks as his eyes welled up in pain. He recalled an incident in which both his forearms had been split open with blood pouring out after a particularly strenuous conditioning session, to which his senpai said “never mind your arms, what are you going to do about the blood on the floor?!”. He laughed about it as he told me, but made sure I understood that the reality of training in those days was a harsh and unsparing affair.
This made me realise all the more how special the current generation of Jundokan masters really are. Undoubtedly, such brutal means of training continue to exist in other Goju Ryu dojos, and indeed in other styles of karate and martial arts spread throughout the world; but the Jundokan has become perhaps one of the most respectable and virtuous places to train, very unlike the scenes which Gima-sensei so openly discussed. To take one, very simple example from my most recent trip: after training in kakie one night with Shimamura-sensei, when my arms could barely move he decided it was time for some arm conditioning. He said that I was to say stop when I needed to, and although I did my best to keep it up for as long as possible, I was, of course, eventually forced to concede and say stop. But when I did, instead of continuing further, or trying to push me to breaking point (as was the case in the olden days), Shimamura-sensei rubbed my arms to make sure they were okay, and said “right, now you know your limits — your goal is to exceed that next time”. This simple lesson was enough for me to understand his message and know what I need to do, and I realised that this is the way of modern-day Jundokan.
All of the masters who train within the Jundokan’s walls are true inspirations to us as budding practitioners of Goju Ryu karate, not only in their style and practice of the art, but in their demeanour and personal conduct too. If I myself am able to become even half as admirable as they are, I would consider my pursuit of Goju Ryu (despite having only scratched the surface) all the more worth while. Every trip back to the Jundokan re-sparks a fire within me not only to better my own karate, but to better myself and my way of thinking as well. This is the inspiration of the Jundokan, and this is what I believe we must strive to achieve.
Note: Blake recently returned from training in Okinawa where he was invited to assist with translation at the memorial seminar in November. He is currently completing PhD studies in Kyoto.
Wakefield dojo is hosting a dan grading on Saturday 21 April. Training commences at 10:00am for all interested in participating. The dojo is located at Wakefield School hall, Edward Street, Wakefield. Look forward to seeing you there!
Christmas greetings to all Jundokan New Zealand dojo instructors, students and their families for 2017 and looking forward to meeting you all again in 2018.
Final training day for 2017 at Richmond Dojo is Saturday 16 December. Training recommences on Monday 22 January 2018.
Congratulations to all.
David Low-sensei......information about David’s history to follow soon.
Westport dojo will host JNZ's South Island dan grading on 14 October 2017. A number of students will test for junior sho-dan, sho-dan, ni-dan and san-dan from Richmond, Wakefield and Timaru dojos.
Students from the Richmond dojo will be testing for their kyu grading on 23 September 2017. Those not able to make it on the Saturday morning can test on the following Monday evening.
Several students from Taupaki dojo will be testing for their sho-dan grading on 16 September. David Low-sensei (Westport) and Paul Allott-sensei (Richmond) will be in attendance to share in this event.
Congratulations to Jack Dalton and Gregory Kan who successfully passed their sho-dan grading in Mosgiel on 19 August 2017. Hopefully we can include photos of the two new black belts soon.
Once again New Zealand will host Gima-sensei and Kinjo-sensei, 9th-dan Okinawa masters in November 2017. We are all looking forward to another exciting and informative seminar from our Okinawa seniors.
David Low-sensei's Westport dojo hosted a kata and bunkai training weekend for senior Jundokan instructors and members. Those attending were taken through traditional kata and advanced bunkai (oyo) with Paul Allott-sensei from Richmond dojo.
Thank you David for hosting a great weekend training and for your genorous hospitality!
Bryan Williams-sensei was canvassed at the door by a Go Kan Ryu (GKR) sales person. Always wishing to be another 'Bruce Lee' Bryan took up training with his daughter in GKR style. He continued training with GKR for approximately 8 years, whereas his daughter lasted on 2 training sessions. Bryan's first sho-dan was achieved in GKR and did learn a lot about karate basics, not so much about karate which came later.
As new awareness crept in that there was far more to karate than competitions, a GKR member did some research and came across Dennis May-sensei. As many as seven people moved across to his dojo, Dennis was then an 8th dan and affiliated to the Okinawa Karate Organisation associated with the Jundokan.
The Organisation and the Jundokan went separate ways and Dennis, with his students followed the Organisation. There became a splinter group from Dennis back to the Jundokan and I have followed that group. The core people have been the foundation of Jundokan New Zealand (our organisation).
Karate exists in a theme of comradely, support and connection. The reason I like being involved in Jundokan New Zealand is that resembles the respect that exists in and amongst the people that comprise the Jundokan in Okinawa.
Involvement in karate is not so much the skills and ability that manifest from training but the internal strength and resilience that grows within. My experience to share is that I think i'm a better person because of my karate involvement.
This is the second in the series of the ‘JNZ Instructor Profiles’ and highlights Andrew Paxton-sensei, originally from Scotland.
Andrew commenced his karate training in 1983 with the (Scottish) Borders Shotokan karate clubs, an affiliate of the Karate Union of Great Britain (KUGB) under George Milburn-sensei and his cousin Jim Paxton-sensei.
He trained with George until 1986 when he moved south, over the border and continued for a further 5 years in a Shotokan/Goju-ryu blend of karate. After moving again , Andrew rejoined with KUGB and was graded to sho-dan under Andy Sherry-sensei in 1999. He then moved to New Zealand in 2001 and dabbled with a couple of local dojos which he felt didn’t quite fit and therefore continued to train himself in his garage. In 2008 he started an independent dojo in Wakefield concentrating on the Goju-ryu aspects that he had learned previously in the UK.
Andrew enjoys the family feel of JNZ where there are no pretensions, delusions of grandeur or over inflated egos. “We genuinely do train as brothers and sisters in karate”.
Over the past 34 years Andrew remembers many experiences noting having trained with KUGB legends. His first grading under Bob Poyntin-sensei, "his attention to detail and mastery of his own body are second to none and have been my yardstick ever since. Billy Higgins-sensei was a scrapper, his self-defence combinations always seemed to include a head butt in there somewhere. Bob Rhodes-sensei is the epitome of what can be gained from hard training. Frank Brennan-sensei was amazing, I remember him demonstrating a front leg mawashi geri on me. I felt his foot land softly on the side of my head but he was so fast that I didn’t see him move. Andy Sherry-sensei, fast, sharp, tough and uncompromising. I’ve also had the pleasure of training with Enoeda-sensei and Kase-ensei, both great men".
"My own teaching style is very relaxed but demanding, it’s not the first time I have overheard someone saying, 'I like training with Andrew, he makes me do it right'. However, my aim is to get you to make yourself do it right”.
Jundokan New Zealand will be running a series of ‘JNZ instructor profiles' who make up our organisation over the coming months. To start the profile series off, we would like to introduce Richmond dojo senior instructor Paul Henley-sensei.
Paul started his karate training 33 years ago at the age of 19 with SEKU (South of England Karate Union), a Shotokan ryu, under instructors Dave Hazard-sensei and Mick Dewey-sensei. At that time Paul was training at least 5 days each week, as he stated “because I didn’t have a life”. Five years later he moved out to Auckland, New Zealand and continued his training with Percy Shepherd-sensei until the Shotokan dojo closed. He joined up with Japan Karate Association (JKA) under instructor Cooper Drent-sensei and was promoted to ni-dan in 1999.
Paul always had an interest in Goju Ryu and particularly enjoyed Goju’s 'hojo-undo' (supplementary training). It was then he commenced his training under instructor Denis May-sensei until his move to Nelson. He continues to train in Goju Ryu with Paul Allott in Richmond and enjoys the friendly and not so regimented training with like-minded JNZ instructors.
Paul has a wicked sense of humour so don’t be surprised by his Pommy wit!
Training will recommence at Richmond at 5:45pm on Monday 16 January.
The second Masters Seminar conducted in our country under the direction of Gima-sensei and Kino-sensei has been successful. Over a period of 3 days the Okinawa masters engaged and educated us while sharing their vast knowledge and experience. All participants had ample opportunity to share time and appreciate the masters expertise.
Jundokan New Zealand would like to acknowledge Taupaki Goju Ryu and in particular, Bryan-sensei, Julia, David and Jackie for their time and effort in bringing the seminar to us. May there be more such successful New Zealand events in the future as well as continued co-operation among us.