13 Nov

Yoshimura Hiroshi Sensei Visit

In two weeks my Kobudo teacher, Yoshimura Hiroshi sensei, will be in Vancouver to teach us. The last time he was in Vancouver was 2012, and although I wanted to have him visit again much sooner, circumstances didn’t make that possible – life has a tendency to get in the way sometimes. So, I’m very much looking forward to his visit. Besides the much needed corrections and clarifications, I simply like hanging out with him. He’s humble, kind, easy-going, and fun to be around; not to mention he always drops new and interesting stories about Minowa sensei that I enjoy listening to. Read More

09 Nov

Gogen Yamaguchi and Goju-ryu

Yamaguchi Gogen, Karate, Goju-ryu, Vancouver, BC

Yamaguchi Gogen

There have been numerous articles about Goju Kai founder Yamaguchi Gogen over the decades, but very little about his relationship with Miyagi Chojun. Like most Karate-do history, what was written about Yamaguchi’s life and his Goju Kai was self-serving, but in recent years more information has come out to draw a better picture of the two men and their relationship.  Read More

22 Oct

How many Sesan do you need to make a style?

Sesan, Vancouver, Karate, Kobudo, Kitsilano, Higaonna Kanyu

Kanzaki sensei performing Kanyu no Sesan kata

From time to time Kanzaki sensei would recollect to me about his time learning Tou’on-ryu from Kyoda Juhatsu in the 1950s and 1960s. He shared some great stories, but often he would tell me how much of an influence Higaonna Kanryo had on him. I don’t doubt this as there are many anecdotes and much circumstantial evidence to support this. One only has to look at the name of Kyoda’s style which uses the first two kanji of Kanryo’s last name [東恩納]. However, I think there is more going on in that name than meets the eye. Read More

08 Oct


Image from: http://www.ryuuka.com/products/detail.php?product_id=1612&PHPSESSID=bqlalczrvqkxs

I love goya, but it wasn’t love at first sight. Its bitterness is something of an acquired taste for most people – myself included. I first encountered this peculiar “bitter melon” on my first trip to Okinawa in 1988 during a hot day in September. I had entered a restaurant with one of my sempai who ordered something to eat for the two us (I didn’t speak Japanese back then) and 15 minutes or so later the waiter came out with two plates of some bumpy green vegetable, tofu, egg and spam! Read More