Sunday 27 January 2008

Christchurch Karate Club - New Zealand

Karate is a martial art characterized by the aim to achieve the ‘single finishing blow’, anything less cannot be considered as true karate. Sadly, over 90% of what is now referred to as karate, does not have ikken-hissatsu (the single finishing blow), as the nucleus of all technical training. Such styles, clubs, and individuals, whether claiming links to ‘traditional systems’ (by name and/or affiliation) literally have nothing, except the money to buy brand labels and certificates...
My home country, New Zealand, is particularly bad in this regard. Most people merely ‘play karate’ and 'buy their way into Japanese organisations'. Can this 'way' be taken seriously? Of course not, because it is literally not karate technically and in spirit. Some people are serious about the 'sport' of karate, however this way is inferior as well, as real karate is not a sport. Competition, if made the top priority is a dead end.

I just received news of Lyall Stone Sensei’s dojo beginning weeknight classes, (open to anyone) in my home city, Christchurch. This is wonderful news for people there, as there is no one else teaching Shotokan karate correctly in the Canterbury region (teaching/training for 'ikken-hissatsu). Lyall Sensei (4th Dan) is the chief instructor of Shotokan Karate New Zealand. He was also the original Technical Director of JKS (Japan Karate Shotorenmei) in New Zealand. So the club is actually the original JKS New Zealand headquarters. Prior to the establishment of the JKS by Asai Sensei he was a member of the Asai faction of the JKA (under Asai Sensei and Yahara Sensei). Therefore, away from his current position, he is also the most qualified person in New Zealand to teach Asai style karate. The people who are now controlling JKS were unheard of until the end of 2003 and 2004 respectively. Lyall Sensei was with Asai Sensei's JKA and the JKS from the very beginning. What's more, unlike these karate politicians, Lyall Sensei is a hard training karate man.
I'm really excited that people in Christchurch and the South Island of New Zealand can once again access true karate. The feeling in the dojo will no doubt be intense, like training here in Japan, giving karate its true power and beauty. This 'do or die feeling' coupled with the correct use of the body (the perfect co-ordination of koshi no kaiten and tai no shinshuku) is very special, as most people now seek a watered down version of the art. It comes back to the old saying "doing the moves, some applications, and twisting the hips is not enough". These things must be coupled with constant seriousnous (do or die mentality), and 'extreme' body torque harnessing strength, to release ones maximum power.

Congratulations Lyall Sensei and to all the members in Christchurch who are doing their part to keep authentic karate alive. The club is no doubt a great asset for the city and New Zealand (not another Shotokan 'baby sitting club' coupled by a few adults, in their white pyjamas, thinking they are 'karateka'). With permission from Lyall Sensei, when I visit New Zealand, I promise to give a seminar for the members of the club

OSU! Andre Bertel

© André Bertel, Japan 2008

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