NOVEMBER 21 - 23th 2003
Shihan Kenneth Funakoshi, 9th Dan, (FSKA)
Chief Instructor, Funakoshi Shotokan Karate Association
They came from all over the world
Once again the Funakoshi Shotokan Karate Association (FSKA) held it's Annual World Championship Tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada, this time in the 40,000 square foot Pavilion at the Stardust Hotel which is located right on the Las Vegas strip. Previous locations for this prestige's tournament have included: Crawley, England, Lisbon, Portugal, and Latvia in the former Soviet Union.
Instructors, students, family, and friends, as usual came from a great number of countries including, U.S.A., Canada, France, Germany, England, Ukraine, Georgia, Ireland, Mexico, Czech Republic, just to name a few. As always this event is a great opportunity for many of us to renew old friendships, and to make new ones.
On the morning of November 21st - the day before the tournament was to begin - the senior students from Westshore Karate Inc.
attended another Balintawak Escrima seminar with Datu Lowell Manabe who had visited our dojo this past September. Later that same day many of the students also took the opportunity to join Shihan Funakoshi for the seminars that he holds each year for those students looking for pointers on how to improve their kata as well as their basics. The junior seminar was held first, followed by the advance seminar later that afternoon, each one was well attended as you would expect as students from all over the world sought this rare opportunity to increase their understanding of the various Shotokan katas under the watchful eyes of such an outstanding Master.
As for the tournament it's self day one was devoted entirely to kata. From first thing in the morning to well into the early evening referees, judges, time keepers, and score keepers alike were kept busy with a seemingly endless steam of competitors of all ranks and ages. The katas were good, and the scores were close, in many cases the margin of victory between those who received a medal and those who did not could be measured in a matter of tenths.
In all cases good sportsmanship was the order of the day and all of the competitors, regardless of their country of origin, were shown the appreciation of a very knowledgeable audience. The sheer number of competitors in some divisions made ties a distinct possibility and as a result in some cases two or three different katas were needed to be performed before a winner could be determined. Mistakes counted heavily, but in the end the amount of dedication and hard work that went into preparing for this event by the top three medal winners in each category was evident for all to see.
Day two was given over entirely to kumite. Once again from first thing in the morning spectators at every ring, regardless of the age or rank of those students competing in it, saw very spirited and entertaining matches which kept all of the center judges and corner judges very busy. As always when FSKA Affiliated dojo's around the world get together there is more than enough energy and entertainment to go around. I can hardly wait for next year.
The day before - in the morning
Balintawak Escrima seminar
Datu Lowell Manabe having just returned to Hawaii from three weeks of long blade training in Manila, was kind enough to fly out to Las Vegas and once again conduct a seminar for our senior students. The seminar took place the day before the tournament began and we were also joined by Sensei Sergei Shapran who had brought over a large number of his students from the Ukraine. seen here starting from left to right in the back row are, Sempai Marilyn Norman, Sensei Peter Lindsay, Sensei Eric Marn, Sensei Sergei Shapran, Sempai Barry Norman, Sempai Amy Barnes, Sempai Diane Holland, Datu Lowell Manabe, and Sempai Katharine Kaye.
A different mind set
After three continuous hours of kali and escrima training Datu Manabe moved on to self defence against a knife. Here Sempai Marilyn Norman sets up for her turn, each student prior to the end of the seminar had to successfully perform two disarming techniques against Datu Manabe. Being attacked with a wooden tanto is one thing, a bladed weapon is something else, and it sure brings paying attention to a whole new level.
Block first then disarm
A nice block, followed by a well execute trapping movement, and then a clean disarming move earned Sempai Marilyn full marks for her efforts from Datu Manabe.
Ready for the thrust
Here Datu Manabe sets up for his attack against Sensei Sergei Shapran as Sempai Diane Holland looks on in the background. Sensei Shapran was so impressed with Datu Manabe's skill that he has invited him to come to the Ukraine and teach a two week long seminar on kali escrima to his students.
The day before - in the afternoon
Practice, practice, practice
In the afternoon the senior kata seminar saw Sempai Amy Barnes (centre of the picture to the left of Shihan Funakoshi) and many others black belts working hard as Shihan Funakoshi went over each move of the kata he was teaching, slowly and step by step. In the background several other competitors took advantage of the tremendous amount of space the Stardust's Pavilion Convention Centre had to offer in order to practice their team katas.
Shihan Funakoshi's seminar finished up with instruction on the proper form required for several of the higher Shotokan katas including the kata Unsu. The highest of the Shotokan katas, Unsu is a tournament favourite with many of the competitors due to it's many unique and difficult movements. In the dojo, however, this kata should only be practiced once the student has reached a very high Dan rank and obtained a high level of skill in all of the other Shotokan katas.
Day one as always is devoted to kata.
Comparing notes
With hundreds of competitors from all over the world each ring was kept busy throughout the day. In the Purple and Blue belt division several students took the opportunity to introduce themselves to each other prior to the start of their event. It was interesting to notice the large, as well as the small, subtle differences in each of the students katas depending on which country, and dojo they came from, such variations in the katas made judging interesting to say the least.
A bronze medal for Canada
Taking part in his first international tournament Uwe Bartley won a bronze medal for his performance of the kata, Heian Godan. A regular at advance class for the past two years Uwe has made great progress, and he was duly rewarded for his efforts.
Silver and Bronze for Canada
Competing for the second year in a row at the FSKA World Championships Sempai Katharine Kaye, seen here on the left, took home a bronze medal in her division, while in the same division Sempai Marilyn Norman, seen here on the right took home the silver medal, while the gold medal was won by a student from the USA. Sempai Katharine, and Sempai Marilyn, both hold the rank of Nidan and they are strong leaders within our dojo always setting a fine example for others to follow.
The winners and the judges
Here the winners had a chance to pose for photographs with their Ring Judges who were, from left to right: Sempai Jesse Arimas (Nidan), Sensei Leo Arimas (Yondan), Sensei Les Haraguchi (Godan), Sensei Rigo Carrillo, (Sandan), and Sensei Andre Dulce (Rokudan).
Family support
Side lined by an injury that has kept him from training, Bruce Kaye, Sempai Katharine's husband, has never the less always been a great supporter of hers.
Gold for Sensei John Bolosan, Go Dan
My congratulations to Sensei Bolosan for once again winning our division with another fine performance of the kata, Unsu. Sharp movements, excellent timing, and years of practice are evident when ever he performs this kata.
Sensei John Bolosan has been involved in Shotokan Karate since 1969, and he enjoys an excellent international reputation having competed, coached, and instructed classes in Germany, Holland, and the USA. Sensei Bolosan holds numerous titles in kata and kumite in both Europe, and in the USA. In fact he was the first American to have won a kumite title in 1986 under the JKA Germany, and he was the first President, and co-founder, of the FSKA Germany Association in 1995.
As seen above Sensei Bolosan is a tough act to follow, and an even tougher one to beat. For the second year in a row I once again won the silver to his gold, again performing one of my favourite katas, Gojushiho-Dai. This year after performing our respective kata we were tied on points, and when adjusted for the high and the low the judges declared that Sensei Bolosan had won by one-tenth of a point. I consider myself privileged to have the opportunity to compete against such a fine Shotokan karate-ka as Sensei Bolosan.
FSKA World Champion in his age group
Bryce McMath is one of our many talented young students in our dojo and he is an excellent example of what the next generation of Shotokan stylist will bring to this art form, both as competitors, as well as future instructors. A regular at adult class Bryce has made excellent progress over the past two years and in his second FSKA World Championship Bryce takes home the gold medal for kata in his age group with his fine performance of the kata, Kanku-Dai. On the following day Bryce added to his list of accomplishments by wining a silver medal in sparring.
Team Canada
Our dojo is once again proud to be affiliated with the Funakoshi Shotokan Karate Association, and to be a supporter of the Funakoshi Shotokan Karate Association's World Championship Tournament, we are already eagerly looking forward to next year. On behalf of all of the students from Westshore Karate Inc. who took part in this years FSKA World Championship, I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to Shihan Kenneth Funakoshi, his son's, Sensei Kevin Funakoshi, and Sensei Kyle Funakoshi, as well as all of the other FSKA instructors, judges, time keepers, score keepers, volunteers, and supporters, who helped to make this years tournament another truly excellent event. We look forward to seeing all of you again in Las Vegas in November 2004.
Part the clouds - see the way.
"The objective of karate-do is to contribute to the evolution
of the human spirit through physical and mental training."
Sensei Peter Lindsay