FSKA DAN GRADING
AND SUMMER CAMP
JUNE 25th - 27th, 2004
SPECIAL GUEST INSTRUCTOR
 
Sensei Kyle Funakoshi, Roku Dan, (6th Dan)
Funakoshi Shotokan Karate Association
The camp
At this years summer camp and Dan grading we are once again very fortunate to have as our honoured guest instructor, Sensei Kyle Funakoshi, Roku Dan, (6th Dan) of the Funakoshi Shotokan Karate Association. Sensei Kyle's knowledge, expertise, and his technical skills, place him in very high demand at Shotokan dojos throughout the world.
 
These few photos below show but a small part of our summer camp and the grading that followed. The simple fact of the matter is, that at this event where all of the participants are dedicated, focused, and fully involved in expanding their knowledge and their skills, no one had time to take pictures.
 
Basics and more basics
The camp, as in the past, got under way with a review of all of the basic techniques that are fundamental to the Shotokan Karate system. Seen here are just a few of the senior students who took part during the three day event. In the front row from left to right are, Sempai Katharine Kaye, Ni Dan, and Sempai Cathy Quinn, Ni Dan, in the second row are, Sempai Tim Trytten, Sho Dan, Sempai Amy Barnes, Sho Dan, and Sempai Sarah Bailey, Sho Dan.
Always leading
Up and down the dojo we went as usual. As always the sweat ran freely, and our legs felt like lead by the end of the day. Always in front, and always encouraging the students to do their best, was Sensei Kyle Funakoshi. Setting a truly excellent example for others to follow Sensei Kyle never gives less than one hundred percent.
 
Up close
Sensei Kyle always made a point of clearly demonstrating to the students the proper way a technique should be performed, as well as also pointing out to them how it should not be performed. Here Sempai Barry Norman, Ni D an, is about to be on the receiving end of a very short, very fast, and very powerful, close quarters technique.
 
First the punch now the kick
Caught as he is releasing his ushiro geri, Sensei Kyle's image is blurred by the speed of his rotation. A split second later Sempai Barry was once again on the receiving end of another very controlled, and very impressive technique.
The look says it all
Determination and hard work have always been hallmarks of Sempai Cathy Quinn's karate. Having attained the rank of Ni Dan at last years summer camp Sempai Cathy continues to be a leader in the dojo, and as a member of the Instructors Program she always sets a fine example for all of the other students to follow.
 
 
The Shodan Grading
In addition to the training sessions held over the three day camp, a Dan grading was also held right after the last day's training session for those students attempting to advance in rank. This year two of our junior students, Bryce McMath, age eleven, and Keir Bertram, age thirteen, both took their junior Sho Dan exam.
 
These two students have both worked very hard during the past few years in preparation for this once in a lifetime event, and so in front of their peers, family, friends. The grading panel was headed up by Sensei Kyle Funakoshi and included all of the senior black belt instructors from our dojo, who watched as Bryce and Keir took to the floor for what proved to be a very memorable event indeed.
The grading panel
From left to right, Sempai Marilyn Norman, hidden on her immediate left is Sempai Katharine Kaye, Sempai Donna Gray, Sensei Kyle Funakoshi, Sensei Peter Lindsay, Sempai Barry Norman, and Sempai Cathy Quinn. Not seen in this photograph as he was out on the floor calling the grading is Sensei Kieran Baldwin.
 
Basics up and down the floor
Both Keir and Bryce spent a lot of time is their stances. Here Sensei Baldwin makes sure that each requirement is met before he moves them on to the next set of basic techniques.
Kata next
In addition to completing all of the required kihon, Bryce and Keir were required to perform a variety of katas. Here the camera has caught them in motion near the end of the kata Bassai Dai. While they did their kata side by side, synchronicity was not something that they were expected to achieve, as shown in this photo the timing for the movements in the kata was their own. Later at the end of their individual performances they were each also required to demonstrate, with the assistance of several of their fellow students, the associated bunkai for each movement that is contained in all of their required katas.
 
Then came sparring
Both of these students spar together on a fairly regular basis, as such they are very familiar with each others favourite moves. Here caution is the order of the day as each one sizes up the other while Sensei Kyle looks on in his capacity as head judge. I forget who scored the most points, but in fact it really does not matter. What does matter is that they both gave their best, and sportsmanship was always at the forefront of everything they did.
 
Then it was my turn
This years camp was special for me in a very personal way.
 
In addition to enjoying all of the other wonderful events that took place at this years summer camp, I also reached another milestone in my own journey down the karate road.
 
This year I too stepped on to the dojo floor and tested for the rank of Go Dan.
 
A little help from my friends
I would like to take this opportunity to extend my thanks to all of my bunkai partners who graciously consented to be on the receiving end of my techniques during the final portion of my grading. From left to right, Sempai Katharine Kaye, Ni Dan, Sempai Barry Norman, Ni Dan, Sempai Cathy Quinn, Ni Dan, and Sempai Marilyn Norman, Nidan. Your participation made the day all that more enjoyable.
 
First the kick, then ......
Knowing the kata is step one. Knowing a bunkai for a particular kata is step two. The hardest part has to be step three, and that is knowing the opposite side of any kata. Being in the proper position as an attacker is one of the things that makes for good bunkai, another is having great training partners as I am fortunate to have. Here Sempai Cathy Quinn, Ni Dan, is again on the receiving end of one of my techniques during my bunkai of the advance kata, Gojushiho Dai.
 
Jodan empi uchi
A pivotal movement in the kata, Gojushiho Sho, the upper level elbow strike seen here is powerful close quarters technique. Poised to try and take advantage of the situation is Sempai Barry Norman, Ni Dan, who is about to attack with a chudan oi zuki.
 
Still walking the road after all these years
At the end of a long day, and in a very wet gi, I stood with Sensei Kyle Funakoshi for a commemorative photo. Sensei Kyle has been, and remains, a great source of inspiration to me. I would like to express my deep appreciation to him for his time, his knowledge, and his friendship, all of which I am truly grateful for.
 
I would be remiss if I did not also take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to Shihan Kenneth Funakoshi, 9th Dan, Chief Instructor, of the Funakoshi Shotokan Karate Association. Thank you Shihan for your instruction, your constant encouragement, and your guidance over the years, and also for giving me permission to grade. After more than 26 years as a student in what I consider a life long pursuit, the art of Shotokan Karate-Do, I am truly honoured to be awarded the rank of Go Dan within the Funakoshi Shotokan Karate Association.
 
Congratulations
Sensei Kyle and I pose with the dojo's two new Sho Dan's, Sempai Bryce McMath, and Sempai Keir Bertram. Later that evening at our annual awards banquet they both received their black belts in what turned out to be a very emotional ceremony for both them and the members of their family. Years of hard work and dedication, had culminated on this particular day, and yet both students are aware that despite their success this is just the beginning of a very long road.
 
Time to reflect
With the camp and the grading officially over for another year, many of the students and spectators alike took the opportunity to chat about the events of the past three days, sharing personal stories, and comparing notes on what they had seen, and more importantly on what they had learnt. Everyone agreed that next years camp can't come soon enough.
 
Renewing old friendships
Seen here with Sensei Kyle are two familiar faces, on the left Sempai Curtis Lindsay, Ni Dan, and on the right Sempai Derek Low, Sho Dan. Both students have previously trained on several occasions with Sensei Kyle at the Honbu dojo in Milpitas, California, and both are former competitors and medal winners at the FSKA International Fall Tournament in California. In addition, Sempai Curtis has also competed in Europe winning medals in several events, and at the Annual FSKA World Championship in Las Vegas, Nevada. Sempai Curtis and Sempai Derek are just two of the students who plan to be in Las Vegas this November for the 6th Annual FSKA World Championship.
 
THE AWARDS BANQUET
 
The Head Table
Sempai Donna Gray, Sensei Peter Lindsay, Sensei Kyle Funakoshi, and Sensei Kieran Baldwin look on from the head table as this years graduating class put on a demonstration of kihon and kata for all those in attendance at this years banquet.
Awarding of their black Belts
For each of us, there are moments in our life that we will remember forever, there is no question that for Sempai Bryce and Sempai Keir, this is sure to be one of them. Sensei Baldwin ties on Sempai Bryce's black belt while I tie on Sempai Keir's. Congratulations to both of you, the rank is well deserved.
 
Well Earned
Our heart felt congratulations to the two youngest Shodan's in our dojo. Both are very dedicated students, they regularly attend adult class, and I know that they each have a fine future ahead of them and we wish them well in their journey.
Thank you Sensei Kyle
Our special guest, Sensei Kyle Funakoshi, poses with the instructors and some of the senior belts at the end of another great summer camp. Even the junior camp which was held separately had an excellent turn out. While all of the students can't wait for next year, many of us are looking forward to seeing Sensei Kyle once again at the Annual Funakoshi Shotokan Karate Association's 6th World Championship which will once again held in Las Vegas, Nevada, from November 19th - 21st, 2004.
 
All of the instructors and students congratulate the graduating class of 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