KIMAA Japan Group Tour – January 7-24, 2017

The KIMAA Japan Group Tour 2017 took place in January. The primary purpose of the trip was to train with Sensei Hokama and Shihan Ken in Okinawa, as well as attend the World Kyokushin Tournament. The karateka that formed the tour group included:

One of the Sumo fighters at the Tokyo Budokan.
One of the Sumo fighters at the Tokyo Budokan.

The tour began on January 7th where the bulk of the group, led by Shihan Rick, departed Sydney for Tokyo. The first component of the tour was a sightseeing trip on the mainland, for which Sensei Mark Shelmerdine, Sensei James and Sensei Jon brought their families along. Sensei Paul and Sempai Trish met up with the rest of the group in Tokyo, as they had been travelling in Japan already.

The group threw themselves into the wonders of Japan quickly, spending their time in Tokyo at the Japanese Sword Museum, temple of the 47 Ronin, the fish markets, the Yushukan, the Imperial Palace Gardens, Disneyland and Sumo at the Budokan.

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Two important Kyokushin sites were also visited during the group’s time in Tokyo: the memorial Shrine for Sosai Mas Oyama at Mt Mitsumine, and Sosai’s grave in Gokokuji.

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The group continued their travels around the country, staying in Yudanaka, Nagano and Kyoto. Everyone enjoyed staying in the Ryokan hotel in Yudanaka and seeing the snow monkeys. Sensei Paul, Sensei James and Sensei Jon also went skiing, where Sensei James really shined!

The group met with Shihan Howard and his wife Masumi in Kyoto on January 16th – bringing the whole group to a total of 19 people.

Shihan Rick receives his thank-you gift for leading the sightseeing part of the tour.
Shihan Rick receives his thank-you gift for leading the sightseeing part of the tour.

On January 19th, the karate members of the tour group set off for Okinawa. The families returned to Australia while Masumi remained in Kyoto to spend time with her mother.

The tour group had dinner that night with Sensei Tetsuhiro Hokama (10th Dan) and Shihan Ken Ogura (8th Dan). Shihan Howard met Sensei Hokama in January 2008 and KIMAA has enjoyed a long friendship with Sensei since then. Members of KIMAA, particularly Shihan Howard and Shihan Rick, have travelled yearly to Okinawa for training since 2008 – and often multiple times a year. KIMAA last trained with Sensei Hokama in the 2015 Japan Group Tour. During this trip, KIMAA first met Shihan Ken and enjoyed hosting him in October 2016 for a week-long seminar.

The next two days comprised training at Sensei’s dojo with Sensei Hokama and Shihan Ken. The focus was on pressure points, breaks, takedowns, self-defence, kata bunkai and Kobudo. There was lots of partner work involved, and Sensei Jon Ellis performed a board break (tameshiwari) as a part of training.

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The Kobudo team performed a Jo kata to Sensei Hokama. Sempai Alex demonstrated bunkai for the kata. The standard of the group’s kata and bunkai greatly impressed Sensei Hokama. Sensei and Shihan Ken then ran the team through other possible defence manoeuvres with a Jo.

On Friday the 20th, Sensei Jon Ellis was graded to 3rd Dan in Kobudo and Sempai Alex Lloyd was graded to 2nd Dan in Kobudo. Congratulations Sensei Jon and Sempai Alex!

Tony Kuo, a student from Turramurra Dojo, joined the tour briefly at the invitation of Shihan Howard. He participated in all the training at Sensei Hokama’s dojo.

KIMAA with Sensei Hokama and Shihan Ken after training.
KIMAA with Sensei Hokama and Shihan Ken after training: Sensei Mark Shelmerdine, Sensei James Sidwell, Sensei Jon Ellis, Sensei Mark McFadden, Shihan Howard Lipman, Sensei Tetsuhiro Hokama, Shihan Ken Ogura, Shihan Rick Cunningham, Sensei Paul Finnerty, Tony Kuo, Sempai Alex Lloyd & Sempai Patricia Tan.

The final event attended by the tour group was the Kyokushin Union’s 4th World Tournament. Fighters from all around the globe were competing, including from Australia. KIMAA caught up with Shihan Trevor Field (7th Dan) from Brisbane, who was the tournament’s Chief Arbiter. The tournament was hosted by Shihan Yasuhiro Shichinohe (7th Dan). KIMAA members trained with Shihan Shichinohe in the 2013 tour, and Sensei Don Cheong and Sempai James Campbell fought in his 2015 Okinawa tournament.

KIMAA at the Kyokushin World Tournament.
KIMAA at the Kyokushin World Tournament.

Shihan Howard and Sensei Hokama were invited by Shihan Shichinohe to sit at the official table. The rest of the group, along with Shihan Ken, enjoyed front row seats.

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The tournament was two full days, primarily focused on full contact knockdown fights. There were three divisions: Men’s Open, Women’s Open and Women’s Lightweight. Some demonstrations were also made, including Shihan Shichinohe performing an ice break.

KIMAA with Shihan Ken at dinner on their last night of the tour.
KIMAA with Shihan Ken at dinner on their last night of the tour.

The tour group flew back to Australia after the weekend, arriving home on the morning of Tuesday January 24th.

The KIMAA Japan Group Tour was a fantastic success. The sightseeing was enjoyed by all, the World Tournament was a fantastic spectacle, and the opportunity to once again train with such knowledgeable and skilled martial artists as Sensei Hokama and Shihan Ken was special as always. Thanks go to Shihan Howard and Shihan Rick for organising and leading the tour.

Kobudo Grades Awarded – May, 2015

Sensei Hokama (10th Dan) awarded new Dan (black belt) grades in Kobudo during the recent Okinawa tour. Sensei Hokama awarded these grades based on what he saw during training, as well as on the recommendation of Australian Kobudo Branch Chief, Shihan Howard Lipman (8th Dan Kyokushin, 7th Dan Kobudo).

KIMAA tour group with Sensei Hokama and Shihan Ogura
The 2015 KIMAA Japan Tour Group after being graded by Sensei Hokama.

These grades included:

7th Dan: Shihan Howard Lipman

6th Dan: Shihan Rick Cunningham

4th Dan: Sensei Mark Shelmerdine

3rd Dan: Sensei Paul Finnerty, Sensei Mark McFadden

2nd Dan: Sensei Jon Ellis, Sempai James Campbell

1st Dan: Sensei Ian Holdaway, Sempai Jessica Den, Sempai Todd Murphy, Sempai Alex Lloyd

KIMAA students in the tour group were presented with their certificates by Sensei Hokama and Shihan Lipman.

The remainder of the grades – certificates and belts – were presented in Sydney by Shihan Rick Cunningham (6th Dan Kyokushin, 6th Dan Kobudo).

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Congratulations again to all who graded.

Japan Tour Pt 3: Kobudo Grading and Sightseeing – March 16-26, 2015

The following article continues the story of the 2015 KIMAA Group Tour to Japan. Click here to read Part 1 and click here to read Part 2.

We had no training on Monday, so we used the free time to enjoy doing a couple of Kyokushin photo shoots, following the paths of many martial artists before us. First, we did a shoot at Shurijo.

Sempai Alex Lloyd, Sensei Mark McFadden, Sensei Jon Ellis, Shihan Rick Cunningham, Sempai Don Cheong, Sempai James Campbell and Trish Tan at Shurijo, Okinawa.
Sempai Alex Lloyd, Sensei Mark McFadden, Sensei Jon Ellis, Shihan Rick Cunningham, Sempai Don Cheong, Sempai James Campbell and Trish Tan at Shurijo, Okinawa

We then went to the old ruins of Nakagusuku and continued the shoot.

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On Tuesday morning, Sensei Hokama presented new Kobudo black belt grades, based on the Friday and Saturday sessions and on the recommendation of Shihan Lipman and Shihan Cunningham. The new Kobudo grades included:

7th Dan

Shihan Howard Lipman

6th Dan

Shihan Rick Cunningham

4th Dan

Sensei Mark Shelmerdine

3rd Dan

Sensei Paul Finnerty

Sensei Mark McFadden

2nd Dan

Sensei Jon Ellis

Sempai James Campbell

1st Dan

Sensei Ian Holdaway

Sempai Jessica Den

Sempai Todd Murphy

Sempai Alex Lloyd

Congratulations to all the new Kobudo grades!

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KIMAA tour group with Sensei Hokama and Shihan Ogura
KIMAA tour group with Sensei Hokama and Shihan Ogura

Sensei was still feeling unwell so his visiting Branch Chief from Nagoya, Shihan Ken Ogura, took the class. Shihan Ogura was very impressed with the standard displayed by KIMAA and proclaimed the “Australian team” the best he had ever taught!

Shihan Ken Ogura with nunchaku.
Shihan Ken Ogura with nunchaku

We had the afternoon off. Some of the group took Trish to the Chinese Gardens, where we enjoyed the tranquility of the grounds.

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That night it was back to Sensei’s dojo for our final training session. Sensei watched as Shihan Arakawa took the class. We did some fitness and conditioning, then some more traditional Okinawan training, including moving through Sanchin with jars and dumbbells. We then moved onto kata and bunkai.

Tuesday night class.
Tuesday night class

The following day, Wednesday March 18, we were off to Hiroshima for the next stage of our trip.

We left Hiroshima on Friday but did a lot in our brief time there. This included taking a ferry to Miyajima to explore the island and climb to the peak of Mt Misen; visiting the Hiroshima Peace Park and Museum; and seeing Hiroshima Castle. Sensei Mark had been to Hiroshima before and took up the mantle of KIMAA Tour Guide.

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After Hiroshima we made our way to Kyoto. We explored the markets on Friday afternoon and went to a green tea shop.

We started off Saturday with a traditional green tea ceremony, which was delicious and enjoyable.

We spent the rest of Saturday and Sunday exploring a range of beautiful shrines and temples. These included the streets surrounding Kiyomizu-dera (Sannenzaka and Ninenzaka) and the nearby Yasaka no To Pagoda; Kodai-ji; Kennin-ji; Heian Shrine; Nanzen-ji, Eikan-do Zenrin-ji; Ginkaku-ji and Kinkaku-ji. We also perambulated the Philosopher’s Walk, all the while admiring the local scenery.

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The cherry blossoms were just starting to come into bloom during our time in Kyoto.

On Monday the group went to Kurama and hiked through the mountains to Kibune, where it snowed as we finished the trek. We then made our way back to Kurama to relax in the outdoor Onsen while the snow fell.

Shihan Rick Cunningham in the sleet of Kibune.
Shihan Rick Cunningham in the sleet of Kibune

Tuesday was the group’s final day in Kyoto. They started with Sanjusangen-do Temple, featuring the Hall of 1001 Kannon Statues. The group split up for the rest of the day, until a final dinner that night: Shihan Lipman and Masumi shopped; Shihan Cunningham, Sensei Mark, Sensei Jon and Trish went back to Kiyomizu-dera and the surrounding streets, followed by watching an impressive archery demonstration at the Budo Centre; and Sempai Don, Sempai James and Sempai Alex shopped and enjoyed the food markets, and Sempai Alex also went to Nijo Castle.

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The group arrived safe and sound back in Sydney on the morning of Thursday March 26. The trip was a great success and very enjoyable, from Sempai Don and Sempai James competing at a high standard in the tournament; quality training with Sensei Hokama and Shihan Ogura; a number of new Kobudo black belt grades; and the sightseeing in Hiroshima and Kyoto.

Shihan Lipman and Shihan Cunningham are now looking ahead to consolidate the knowledge gained on the trip and to pass it onto the wider KIMAA student body. Of particular note is the upcoming seminar in May.

The rest of the group thank Shihan Lipman, Masumi and Shihan Cunningham for a wonderful trip!

Japan Tour Pt 1: Sensei Hokama – March 11-14, 2015

On the night of March 11, the KIMAA Japan Group Tour for 2015 departed Sydney for the island of Okinawa. The group included:

All of us had been to Japan before – an understatement for some! – but it was Trish’s first time in Okinawa and first KIMAA tour.

The trip had three main focuses:

  • The Okinawa Karate Tournament
  • Training with Sensei Hokama, including a Kobudo black belt grading
  • Sightseeing in Hiroshima and Kyoto

We reached our hotel early in the afternoon on Thursday. After checking in our first destination was Shureido, the martial arts shop. We stocked up on supplies and caught up with Yoshi, our account manager at Shureido for many years. After this we wandered through the shops on Kokusai Dori before heading to our favourite gyazo bar for dinner.

Friday morning was training with Sensei Tetsuhiro Hokama (10th Dan Goju-ryu and Kobudo) at his dojo. We did Kobudo training followed by some empty hand self-defence applications.

KIMAA and Russian teams with Sensei Hokama and Shihan Ogura

After training we enjoyed some sushi and explored the markets of Kokusai Dori and Tsuboya, the pottery village.

We were back at Sensei’s dojo again on Saturday, expanding on the previous day’s work of self-defence applications (bunkai) from kata.

We then had an easy afternoon to rest up Sempai Don and Sempai James, as the tournament was the next day. Photos and videos from the tournament are available in Japan Tour Pt 2: The Tournament.

Okinawa Group Tour – November 17-28, 2013

A group of KIMAA black belts recently travelled to Okinawa, Japan for training. Most of the training was with Sensei Tetsuhiro Hokama (10th Dan Goju Ryu & Kobudo), and one training session with Shihan Yasuhiro Shichinohe (7th Dan Kyokushin).

The tour group included:

Sensei Hokama & Shihan Lipman, September 2012
Shihan Howard Lipman (8th Dan Kyokushin, 6th Dan Kobudo): This was Shihan Lipman’s twelfth visit to Okinawa to train with Sensei Hokama, and his 67th visit to Japan overall in his martial arts career. Shihan Lipman’s wife, Masumi, also came on the trip, playing ‘mum’ to the group.

Shihan Rick Cunningham (6th Dan Kyokushin, 5th Dan Kobudo): This was also Shihan Cunningham’s twelfth visit to Okinawa to train with Sensei Hokama.

IMG_4638Sensei Mark Shelmerdine (4th Dan Kyokushin, 3rd Dan Kobudo): This was Sensei Mark’s fourth visit to Okinawa to train with Sensei Hokama. Sensei Mark attended previous group trips in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Sensei Mark McFadden
(3rd Dan Kyokushin, 2nd Dan Kobudo): This was Sensei Mark’s second visit to Okinawa to train with Sensei Hokama. Sensei Mark’s first trip was in 2008.

P1100415Sempai Don Cheong (2nd Dan Kyokushin, 8th Kyu Kobudo): This was Sempai Don’s first visit to Okinawa. Sempai Don started training in Kyokushin at the Turramurra Dojo several years ago as a 1st Dan, earning his 2nd Dan in 2011. He began Kobudo recently, applying his technical excellence in Karate to his study of Kobudo.

IMG_2376Sempai Alex Lloyd (1st Dan Kyokushin, 5th Kyu Kobudo): This was also Sempai Alex’s first visit to Okinawa. Sempai Alex began Kyokushin as a Knox student in 2005. He graduated Knox in 2009 and continued his association with the school as an instructor until 2012. He earned his 1st Dan in 2011, when he also started learning Kobudo.

P1100416Sempai James Campbell (1st Dan Kyokushin, 1st Dan Kobudo): This was Sempai James’s second visit to Okinawa. Sempai James’s first trip was in 2010. Sempai James began Kyokushin in 2008, grading to 1st Dan in 2012. He started Kobudo at Sensei Hokama’s 2009 visit to Australia, and was graded to 1st Dan in Sensei’s 2012 visit to Australia.

The group flew out on the morning of Sunday November 17 and checked in at the Nahana Hotel & Spa late that night. They celebrated with a late dinner at a nearby yakitori bar.

The next morning the group went to Sensei’s dojo to meet him for tea and introductions to the students new to Okinawa, namely Sempai Don and Sempai Alex. The group were presented with gifts from Sensei and had a look around his Karate museum, upstairs from the dojo. After this was a quick visit to Shureido Martial Arts shop. The group separated for the afternoon, with some exploring Kokusai Dori for shopping, and others to Shuri-Jo Castle and the King’s Tomb.

Sensei was busy during the day on Tuesday so the group made use of the time to do a lot of sightseeing. The group went to the bunker used by the Japanese Naval Command in the Battle of Okinawa, followed by the Emperor’s Gardens and the Chinese Gardens.

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Howard, Seki and Rick at dinner after training
Howard, Seki and Rick at dinner after training
Bo training
Bo training

The first training session of the trip was on Tuesday night with Sensei Hokama’s students. Training focused on Sanchin, including moving through the stance while holding weighted jars, and the Gekusai Dai kata. Some work was done on Nunchaku and the Bo. The group demonstrated the first Bo exercise and Kihon kata. Sensei’s students were very impressed with the Australian team. After training Shihan Arakawa, Sensei Seki and Sensei Taira went out with the group for dinner. Sensei Hokama had to greet a student coming to train with him from overseas, so he was unable to attend.

Training continued the next morning with more work on Sanchin and self-defence techniques. Sensei ran the group through the Bo, working on the first exercise, Kihon and Ufugusuku. Following this was the Tonfa kata and Tonfa against a Bo, which was very interesting.

That night the group had a Kyokushin training session with Shihan Shichinohe. Shihan Shichinohe was appointed the Okinawan Kyokushin Branch Chief by Sosai Mas Oyama, as Shihan Lipman was for Australia. Shihan Lipman and Shihan Shichinohe have been friends for a long time. Shihan Lipman’s students found training in Shihan Shichinohe’s dojo a fantastic experience; although the class was completely in Japanese, the Australian students were able to fit right in and train. As Shihan Lipman said in his address at the end of the class, ‘Kyokushin is the same everywhere’. The group had dinner with Shihan Shichinohe, his wife Vera, and his students after class.

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Self-defence training
Self-defence training

Training with Sensei Hokama continued on Thursday morning. A lot of work was done with the Bo, including the basic exercises, all parts of the Kihon kata, Ufugusuku and Sushi no kon Sho. Sensei Seki attended the morning session and worked with the group on the Bo, as well as the Eeku kata. Some more work on Sanchin and general self-defence techniques derived from Sanchin were then studied.

After a quick lunch break, the group practiced Sakugawa no Kon before moving onto the Sai katas Chibana and Hame Higa. Following the Sai, Sensei got students to train with the Nunchaku, then to use two at once! Sensei Mark Shelmerdine came up with a few combinations, leading Sensei Hokama to warn us that Sensei Mark was a ‘dangerous man’. More pressure points, joint locks and self-defence work followed.

KIMAA tour group photo with Sensei Hokama
KIMAA tour group photo with Sensei Hokama

Following training with Sensei was another quick visit to Shureido and a trip to the ruins of Sohgenji Temple.

On Friday morning the group demonstrated all the katas, partner work and application for the Bo, Eeku and Tonfa for Sensei. Shihan Cunningham and Sensei Mark Shelmerdine also ran through the Kama.

The group spent the afternoon exploring Kokusai Dori, the seven-storey bookstore Junkudo and the old pottery village Tsuboya. Yoshi, KIMAA’s account manager at Shureido, met up with the group for dinner.

Saturday morning was the final training session with Sensei Hokama. Techniques for disarming someone armed with a Bo were looked at, as well as bunkai from Seipai kata.

Sensei Mark McFadden was promoted to 2nd Dan in Kobudo by Shihan Lipman in March. He was formally awarded his certificate by Sensei Hokama on this trip.

Sensei Hokama also gave participation certificates to Sempai Don and Sempai Alex for coming to train with him in Japan.

Sensei Hokama's dojo, exterior
Sensei Hokama’s dojo, exterior

KIMAA senior instructors Shihan Lipman, Shihan Cunningham and Sensei Mark Shelmerdine have had the privilege of training with Sensei Hokama numerous times, and every trip adds to their knowledge of the martial arts.

For students such as Sensei Mark McFadden and Sempai James, who have already been to Okinawa, the opportunity to go back and expand their understanding of Karate and Kobudo is one they used well and most enjoyed.

For Sempai Don and Sempai Alex, training with seniors in Japan who have such a profound knowledge of the martial arts and ability to perform them was an unbeatable experience.

All were most grateful to Sensei Hokama for his time, Masumi for providing translation when necessary, and to Shihan Lipman and Shihan Cunningham for organising the trip.

On the morning of Sunday November 24, the group flew out to Kyoto for some sightseeing, with the exception of Sensei Mark Shelmerdine, who returned home for a short holiday with his family.

The group checked into the Kyoto Royal Hotel & Spa on Sunday afternoon and made the most of their time in the city. On Sunday afternoon the group went to Tozando (a sword shop) and Chion-in Temple. The Autumn colours of the maple trees were in full bloom and a spectacular sight. At night, the group went to Kiyomizudera, which was packed with people but worth wading through the crowd for the wonderful views of the maple trees lit up at night.

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On Monday, the group went to Arashiyama to explore a range of temples, Togetsukyo Bridge and a bamboo forest. On Tuesday, the group split up to visit different areas. Shihan Lipman, Shihan Cunningham, Sensei Mark and Sempai James went to Nijo Castle followed by some shopping. Masumi visited her mother. Sempai Don and Sempai Alex went to the Fushimi Inari shrine. Everyone enjoyed their time and met up for an end of tour group dinner.

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Everyone checked out of the hotel on Wednesday morning and took a bus to Itami airport. From there they flew from Itami to Tokyo, then Tokyo to Sydney, arriving just before 8 am on Thursday morning, November 28. The group warmly thanked Masumi for looking after them all so well with a very nice Japanese silk scarf, and once again extend their sincere gratitude to Shihan Lipman and Shihan Cunningham for a wonderful trip.

Okinawa Visit – November 18-25, 2012

Written by Shihan Lipman in 2012

Sensei Hokama & Shihan Lipman in November 2012
Sensei Hokama & Shihan Lipman in November 2012

My wife Masumi, Shihan Rick Cunningham and I departed Sydney on Sunday November 18 and arrived in Okinawa Monday November 19. On arrival, we contacted Sensei Hokama and drove to his Dojo to meet him at 5:30pm. As always, our meeting with Sensei was most pleasant and he took us to dinner in the evening.

Sensei was busy on Tuesday, so Rick and I decided to show Masumi some of Naha (capital of Okinawa). In the morning, we visited Shuri-Jo Castle and in the afternoon went to Tsuboya, the old pottery village. Then onto Kokusai Dori for a little shopping! The evening was spent having dinner with Shihan Shichinohe, the Kyokushin Branch Chief and his wife Vera – both long term friends of mine.

On Wednesday morning we had our first training session with Sensei, and at this time were instructed in the use of the Kama (sickle) and our first kata with this weapon. Rick and I both enjoyed this session and found the Kama an interesting weapon. In the afternoon, Sensei took us to the Thalasso Spa in Ginoza, with his friend Chikako Chibana and he presented Masumi and I with a beautiful wedding gift – a wall hanging of a dragon, done by Chikako. We went then onto Ginowan for a Soba dinner.

The Kama
The Kama

Thursday morning we had training with Sensei again, this time a new Bo kata – Sushi No Kon Dai. Rick and I were pleased to have yet again extended our knowledge. Friday morning saw more training and revision on the Kama kata and Sushi No Kon Dai.

We went to the restaurant of a close friend of Sensei Hokama on Friday evening. The friend was Sensei Miyazato. We enjoyed dinner and a show, which presented various demonstrations of Okinawan weapons, music and song. We were encouraged as guests to participate, which Rick and Masumi did. Following this, we were all dressed as old Okinawan Kings and Queen. We all had a turn in these outfits and Rick was quite impressed, and for a short time could actually envisage himself as Okinawan royalty, as did Masumi! I of course, accepted this with the modesty and dignity of a senior Shihan.

Masumi & Howard in the Chinese Gardens
Masumi & Howard in the Chinese Gardens

Saturday saw us with another free day so we went to Shureido Martial Arts shop, had lunch in the city, went to the Chinese Gardens, wandered around book shops and a little more shopping on Kokusai Dori.

In the evening we drove to the Dojo again to see the senior black belts, Shihan Arakawa and Sensei Seki, and to say our goodbyes to Sensei Hokama. Sunday morning saw us depart from Okinawa and arrive in Sydney on the 26th.

We all enjoyed our time in Okinawa. For Rick and myself it was time well spent as always with Sensei and we came away with yet more Kobudo knowledge from him. It was Masumi’s first trip to Okinawa, and it was a joy for Rick and I to be able to share these experiences with her.

Sensei Hokama’s Australian Seminar – September 14-16, 2012

Sensei Hokama came to Sydney at the invitation of Shihan Lipman and Shihan Cunningham. This invitation came after the success of 2009, and the considerable amount of time they have spent with Sensei over their numerous trips to Okinawa. This was Sensei’s second trip to Australia to teach at a seminar organised by KIMAA.

The seminar included Kobudo techniques and Kata, with Sai and Bo, as well as Kata and Kata Bunkai, Gyaku Waza, and some pressure point techniques. Sensei seems particularly fond of these! Those who have been subjected to such techniques before tend to move to the rear and push the more junior students forward, or Seniors who have not “enjoyed this experience previously”. The more senior group also learnt techniques and the first Kata with the Eeku, a new experience for many. KIMAA students from Sydney and the North Coast Dojos participated, as well as many guest Shihans and Senseis.

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The seminar went over Friday night at Turramurra, and all day Saturday and Sunday at Annangrove. This included a group dinner at Noodle City in Gordon on Friday, and a BBQ dinner at Shihan Cunningham’s on Saturday. The seminar was enjoyed by all with many new friendships formed.

Students were split into groups depending on their knowledge. Besides the adult classes, there were classes for children and adolescents, many of whom had their first experience with the Bo and acquitted themselves well. Sensei moved around these groups with Shihan Lipman so they all benefited from Sensei’s teaching.

In addition to the seminar, Shihan Lipman and Cunningham took Sensei to have some Boomerang throwing lessons with Albert, a full-blood Aboriginal, and he became quite proficient in a short period of time. After the weekend the Shihans also took him to Jenolan caves, which he thought was a great experience as he has a deep understanding of all things archaeological.

Sensei was most impressed by the standard of the students and the teaching ability of those involved, as well as the enjoyment and friendliness of the students.

The highlight of the seminar was Shihan Lipman being promoted to Renshi in Hokama Okinawan Kobudo and awarded the rank of Rokudan (6th Dan). In addition, Shihan Cunningham was promoted to be a full-fledged Shihan in Hokama Okinawan Kobudo and was promoted to the rank of Godan (5th Dan). Sensei Mark Shelmerdine received his 3rd Dan, Sensei Paul Finnerty the rank of 2nd Dan, and Sempai James Campbell the rank of 1st Dan, as well as some new Kyu grades.

Shihan Lipman and Cunningham will travel again to Okinawa on November 18th for one week for further training with Sensei.

Special thanks go to all those who helped with instruction and those who helped organise the BBQ. Very special thanks go to Kirsti, Shihan Cunningham’s wife, for organising food for a small army and making accomodation available for so many. Very special thanks also goes to Shihan Lipman’s wife, Masumi, for all her help with Sensei, taking care of him in their home and assisting with translation during training.

A small selection of photos are featured in the sideshow above. More photos, including individual shots with Sensei Hokama, are available on discs that can be loaned to KIMAA students from Turramurra and Annangrove Dojos.