held in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.
NOVEMBER 20th - 21st, 2004
Shihan Kenneth Funakoshi, 9th Dan, (FSKA)
Chief Instructor, Funakoshi Shotokan Karate Association
(photo courtesy of Sensei Omar Vera, FSKA Puerto Rico)
A gathering of friends from all over the world
Once again the Funakoshi Shotokan Karate Association held it's Annual FSKA World Championship Tournament in Las Vegas, in the 40,000 square foot Pavilion at the Stardust Hotel, located on the famous 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 many countries. This year they included, the U.S.A., Canada, France, England, Ireland, Mexico, Czech Republic, South Africa, Macedonia, and Puerto Rico, just to name a few. As always this event is a great opportunity for all of us to renew old friendships, to make new ones, and to practice the art of karate-do.
The day before
On the afternoon and evening of November 20th, the day before the tournament was to begin, many students took the opportunity to join Shihan Funakoshi and his two son's Sensei Kevin Funakoshi, and Sensei Kyle Funakoshi, for the pre-event seminars that they hold each year. These seminars afford those students looking for pointers on how to improve their kata, as well as their basics, the rare opportunity to get the knowledge first hand from the very best the FSKA has to offer.
Kata Seminar
This year Sensei Kyle Funakoshi once again taught a seminar on advanced kata while Sensei Kevin Funakoshi taught kata to the kyu ranks. Students of all ages always take the opportunity each year at this event to sharpen their skills, and fine tune their katas, under the watchful eye of these two very talented instructors.
(photo courtesy of Sensei Omar Vera, FSKA Puerto Rico)
No one does it better
Saving the best for last here we see Sensei Kyle caught in full flight as he performs the jump in his favorite kata, Unsu. Few karate-ka can match his style or his technique. I can be seen in the middle of the photograph in my black and gold team jacket taking a video of the demonstration.
A long way from home
Before the Friday evening seminar Shihan Funakoshi meet with many senior instructors, to his right, Sensei Eric Govender, Go Dan, Sensei Wiehahn Eksteen, Go Dan, and Sensei Selvan Govendar, Yon Dan, all of whom travelled for almost 34 hours from South Africa to attend this year FSKA World Championship. All three took part in the Dan grading later that evening which started right after the two hour kihon seminar given by Shihan Funakoshi, this in spite of also having to deal with a 10 hour time difference. Now that is dedication.
Prior to the kihon seminar with Shihan Funakoshi those senior students who knew what to expect, arrived early and took the time to warm up and do a little extra stretching before the start of training. Sempai Amy Barnes, Sho Dan, of FSKA Canada, who is attending her second FSKA World Championship is on the left hand side of the photo.
Advanced Kihon
On the Friday evening almost all of the senior instructors attending this years event took the opportunity to go over basic FSKA kihon with Shihan Funakoshi. The two hour event covered a wide range of hand techniques, kicks, as well as combinations, and the tremendous amount of space afforded by the Stardust Hotel's 40,000 square foot Pavilion Convention Centre, gave each individual plenty of room to practice.
Waiting for the next set
Shihan Funakoshi knew what he wanted and explained each set clearly. By the half way mark of this two hour seminar every one appreciated even the smallest opportunity to rest and catch their breath. The seminar was followed immediately by a Dan grading with students from various countries seeking to advance in rank. This year they included students trying for Sho Dan and San Dan, as well as very senior Sensei's looking to advance to both Go Dan, and Roku Dan.
Day one
As for the tournament it's self, day one as in the past, 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 in every one of the rings, 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. Since the amount of dedication and hard work that went into preparing for this event by all of the competitors in each category was evident for all to see.
Men's brown belt kata
Uwe Bartley of Canada stands patiently with students from several different countries as they all await the start of the men's over fourty brown belt division. The scores were close with many of the competitors electing to do the katas Bassai Dai and Jion.
Awaiting the results
Competing in his second FSKA World Championship Uwe awaits the results. Having moved up a division since last year, when he won a Bronze medal as a blue belt, Uwe still posted an excellent 4th place finish in this very competitive group. As was the case last year it was interesting to notice subtle differences in the performance of each of the students kata depending on which country, and dojo they came from, as always this makes judging interesting to say the least.
Senior Men's Division
Competing for the third time at the FSKA World Championships, this year I took first place in the Senior Men's kata division, performing one of my favourite katas, Ji'in. On my left is David Elson of the U.S.A who finished in second place, a real gentlemen and a strong supporter of every FSKA event David holds the rank of San Dan and trains out of the Honbu dojo in Milpitas, California. On my left is Robert Nielsen of Cedaridge Karate who took third place.
The Judges
It is customary to thank each of the judges personally at the end of your event. Here I have the privilege of shaking hands with Sensei Roger St. Pierre, Yon Dan, and thanking him for his time and consideration. Sensei St. Pierre is the Chief Instructor at New England Shotokan Karate-Ko, in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. His son Marc was to later earn a bronze medal in his kata division.
The Senior Men's medal winners with Shihan Funakoshi
After our event the medal winners had a chance to pose for a photograph with Shihan Funakoshi who always makes a point of watching and filming all of the senior events in both kata and kumite.
Day two
Day two as always was devoted entirely to kumite.
Women' sparring
Sensei Miriam Garnica , Yon Dan, of FSKA Hollister, California, was the centre judge in the ring for this very spirited division. Seen here on the right Sempai Amy Barnes is about to move in to close the gap between her and her opponent.
Mawashi geri
A rear leg mawashi geri drew a block from her opponent, then moving forward quickly the moment she put her front foot on the floor Sempai Amy scored a half point by following up immediately with a chudan mae geri.
A Bronze medal for Canada
Also taking part in her second FSKA World Championship Sempai Amy Barnes this year earned a Bronze medal in her age group in women's sparring. Each of the rings over the two day event had a large following of spectators and this division was no exception.
Ring one
A large part of an event like this centers around having enough judges to fill all of the rings at any one time. Fortunately at an FSKA event this is seldom a problem, due to the large number of senior Sensei's in attendance. In ring number one on my right is Sensei Omar Vera, Yon Dan, FSKA San Sebastian, Puerto Rico, on my left Sensei Garry Cross, Shichidan, FSKA Honbu dojo Milpita), California, Sensei Chet Kawashige, Roku Dan, (FSKA), and Sensei Kevin Sheehan, Yon Dan, (FSKA). Here he five of us pose for a photograph with the medal winners in women's under twenty-five back belt sparring division.
Team sparring
The men's team sparring event was once again one of the highlights of the tournament. This year saw the United States up against France in the final. The five man teams were very evenly matched which made for a very exciting competition indeed. Sensei Kevin Funakoshi of FSKA Hawaii seen in the right hand corner was one of the principal judges for this event.
Team U.S.A
Pictured here is the men's team from the U.S.A. who won the Silver medal at this year's "B" event. Once again this year the matches were close.
Gold medal in team sparring
This year saw the team from France win the Gold medal in the Men's Team Sparring event, which was the last event to be held at this year's tournament. Seen here with team France is the Chief Referee for this years final, Sensei Kyle Funakoshi. Congratulations to all of the participants, the sparring and the sportsmanship were both excellent.
Meeting old friends again and making new ones
Marc St. Pierre's Silver
On the far right is Sensei Roger St. Pierre, Yon Dan, and Chief Instructor at New England Shotokan Karate-Ko in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, and next to me is his son Marc (FSKA, Ni Dan) who won a bronze medal in his kata division. A strong supporter of FSKA events Sensei St. Pierre and his family are a fine example of what makes the FSKA such a great organization to be associated with.
Sensei Leonard Lafferty
One of the highest ranking members of the FSKA, Sensei Lafferty holds the rank of Shichi Dan, and has been with Shihan Funakoshi for 35 years. I have been going to the United States for the past 5 years to compete and judge at either the FSKA Fall Invitational Tournament, or the FSKA World Championship, and I have always enjoyed Sensei Lafferty's company and I greatly appreciated his advice and support. Sensei Lafferty has his dojo in Vacaville, California, where he trains with his wife Jan Homer, a retired U.S. Air Force Captain, who is currently ranked Yon Dan in the FSKA.
Sensei Omar Vera
This year I had the pleasure of finally meeting Sensei Omar Vera, Chief Instructor for FSKA Puerto Rico. During Sensei Kyle Funakoshi's visit this past summer to his dojo in San Sebastian, Sensei Vera graded, and was promoted to the rank of Yon Dan. A strong competitor Sensei Vera also attended, the Shotokan Cup 2004 tournament, as well as the Kinseki Shotokan Karate Do 2004 tournament, both of which were held in Cidra, Puerto Rico.
Ireland and Canada again
Seen here on my right is Sensei Niall Wright, Ni Dan, (FSKA) from Castletown, Ireland. Sensei Wright will be hosting the Five Continents World Championship in Ireland in October 12th - 16th, 2005 which will be held at Ireland's National Events Centre Gleneagle, Killarney, in County Kerry. This is the largest multi-purpose events centre in Ireland, with seating for up to three thousand spectators. At this time over 175 dojos have already committed to send students to this event, and it has the full support of Shihan Funakoshi and the Funakoshi Shotokan Karate Association. Sempai Jan Homer, Yon Dan, of FSKA Vacaville, California, can be seen behind me talking with one of the competitors.
South Africa and Canada
On my right are Sensei Eric Govender, Go Dan, and Sensei Wiehahn Eksteen, Go Dan, both from FSKA South Africa. It was a pleasure spending time with them during this years event and I hope I have the chance to meet them again in the future, perhaps in Ireland in 2005.
Two Sensei's
On the left Sensei Andre Dulce, Roku Dan, of FSKA Washington State, U.S.A. and on the right, Sensei Ron Silverthorn, of FSKA Crawley, England, where the very first FSKA World Championship was held six years ago. Both are familiar sights at any major FSKA event.
Sensei Kevin Funakoshi
A former FSKA and International kata and kumite Champion, Sensei Kevin Funakoshi seen here on my right heads up the FSKA organization in Hawaii. At the end of this years event each of the visiting instructors once again received a hand drawn calligraphy done by his wife. Sensei Ron Silverthorn on my left, still takes part each year in Shihan Funakoshi's kihon seminar given prior to the start of the FSKA World Championship even though he is 70 years of age. True dedication indeed.
Grading results
At the end of this year's tournament one of the last orders of business was for Shihan Funakoshi to give out the results of the Dan grading that took place Friday evening. Here Shihan Funakoshi is seen here speaking with Sensei Eric Govender, and Sensei Selvan both from South Africa. Also due to meet with Shihan Funakoshi is Sensei Wiehahn who also graded. The results of the grading will be made public in the near future.
Sensei Kyle Funakoshi
Uwe and I are seen here with Sensei Kyle Funakoshi, Roku Dan, former FSKA World and Invitational Kumite, and Kata Champion. We have been privileged to have Sensei Kyle visit our dojo on several occasions, most recently this past June for our Annual Summer Camp and Dan grading.
Shihan Funakoshi
Shihan Funakoshi is a Master of the art of Shotokan Karate, and whether it is training with him at the Honbu dojo, having him visit our dojo in Victoria, or attending one his seminars at the FSKA World Championships, I always come away with a greater appreciation of all that Shotokan Karate-do has to offer. Thank you Shihan.
Westshore Karate, Victoria, B.C.
Sempai Amy, Uwe, and I once again had a wonderful time in Las Vegas, and all three of us are already looking forward to next years event.
Our dojo is proud to be affiliated with the Funakoshi Shotokan Karate Association, and to support the Funakoshi Shotokan Karate Association's World Championship Tournament. 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 2005.
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