Saturday, 31 March 2018

Bob McCallum Shihan

A very good friend of mine, Bob McCallum Shihan (7th Dan) -- chief instructor of Kyokushin Karate in New Zealand -- passed away earlier this month.

He reached the age of 89. His lovely wife, Michiko passed away in 2011. 

Bob`s legendary car number plate simply read `SHIHAN`. He was a really generous and dry humoured guy. Always fun to be with. Actually hilarious.

Just a few memories... I have so much appreciation for Bob.

At the 2005 `KANZ `(Karate Association of New Zealand) National Championships, he came to support me. This was my last time competiting individually for New Zealand National titles. He was in his mid 70s then, so to travel so far was great honor for me; furthermore, he advised between my fights. This helped me immensely, and I will never forget it.

Kata... As a Shotokan practitioner, he invited me to the New Zealand Headquarters of Kyokushinkai in Wellington to give a demonstration of kata for his students. I demonstrated Bassai Sho and Unsu. I think this a great example of karate without politics.

After he suffered a stroke (after he told his doctors to " GET STUFFED") I flew Bob Shihan down to my dojo in Christchurch to give a seminar on full-contact karate. He stayed at my home and we had a fantastic party and time hanging out (including lots of  beer, whiskey and cocktails... against the doctors orders). It was such a fun time and our last time together. I will never forget his kindness, which never changed since I first met him in 1991.

Bob McCallum "SHIHAN" was such a great guy, in and out of the dojo. I will miss him as karate senior back in New Zealand, as a friend, and as a beautiful human being. Our deepest condolences to the McCallum family.

© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2018).

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