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Paul Herbert 5th Dan
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Jon Keeling Part 2

An Interview with Jon Keeling Part 2

Anyone that explores the wide range of karate written material online will have heard of Jon Keeling. He is the man behind the famous and very popular ‘Hoitsugan Seminars’, which brings together those who have lived and trained at the Hoitsugan, Master Nakayama’s personal dojo, to put on a world class collection of seminars. Jon Keeling himself of course also lived in Japan, studying personally under the Master himself, and Kawawada Sensei at the Hoitsugan. The first part of this interview was conducted in 2007, and many years later Jon and I have been able to complete this interview. In this second part of the interview, Jon discusses his hip operations, a range of technical issues, his personal dojo and a range of other topics. I hope you enjoy this interview with one of America’s leading karate instructors.Shaun Banfield 2014

 

(Shaun Banfield)     We began part 2 of your interview over 5 years ago but were unable finalise it. I understand much has happened with you over the past 5+ years, including 5 hip operations. How has that been?

 

(Jon Keeling)     I had 2 operations in late 2007 and early 2008, to re-shape my hips, after it was discovered that I had a condition known as Femoro-Acetabular Impingement. Later, I had total replacement surgery on both hips. Now, my hips are better than they have been for many years.  I still have limitations with range-of-motion. But through my experience and research relating to it, I have gained a deeper understanding of and appreciation for training safely.

 

For more information, please see my blog on the subject: http://jon.chriskeeling.com

 

(SB)     I understand that you are now devoting all your time to Karate. How did this come about?

 

(JK)     I had a fairly stressful day-job in the investment business up until the end of 2012. I was on the verge of getting another ulcer.  My wife supported my decision to resign and follow my passion. I am now teaching Karate at a total of 5 locations, soon to be 6. I am also planning to enrol in a Kinesiology graduate program within the next few months – another of my long postponed goals. I have recently added personal trainer certification and am the official Karate instructor for a local university. I am also working on updating and expanding on my 100+ articles to create e-books.

 

(SB)     Getting back to follow-ups from your Part 1 interview, am I correct in thinking that you actually graded while in Japan? Can you tell us about this experience?

(JK)     My nidan, sandan and yondan exams all took place in Tokyo.  My last formal grading (yondan) was in May, 1997, just a week before I turned 30, which felt like a long 10 years after making nidan just a week before I turned 20. 

My nidan exam was a blur.  I do not recall any details other than that I was up there doing Kanku-sho in front of a total of about 75 dans worth of instructors and I missed Nakayama Sensei being in the centre chair, as he had been at the previous exams that I had seen.  Nakayama Sensei had given me significant one-on-one help with my Kanku-sho just prior to his passing. Much more important to me than the actual exam was receiving a new belt about a month later that was purchased by my dojo-mates at the Hoitsugan.  Up to that point, all "Hoitsugan" belts had the recipient's name on one end and "Hoitsugan Nakayama" on the other.  After mine, all had "Hoitsugan Kawawada" on them.  My nidan belt is unique in that it has both instructors' names on it.  The only other belt with both those names on it is one that Kawawada Sensei received from Nakayama Sensei.  I am very proud of that belt and only wear it on special occasions now, since it is severely frayed.

My sandan exam was relatively boring; both of them.  On my first try, one of the junior examiners (since then, a multiple winner of All-Japans) told me afterward that I failed because of my kata.  Excuse me?!  I am a "kata guy."  I guess that was their excuse since they couldn’t really say it was the kumite; all the university students going for nidan that went up against me ended up on their backs at least once.  On my second attempt, I did kumite against 3 other non-Japanese all going for sandan as well.  I believe we all passed that day.

My first try at yondan, I was injured and out of practice.  It showed. I did kumite with Okuma Sensei, a relatively large and very skilled kumite competitor.  He was apparently instructed by the senior examiners to minimize his attacks and just try to deflect mine as much as possible.  This was very frustrating.  A few minutes before starting the exam on my second try, I told him that if we were to do kumite together again, I wanted him to attack.  We did do kumite together and he started off looking like he wasn't going to attack.  I am quite sure that his instructions were the same as on the previous exam.  So I quickly smacked him in the side of the head with a mawashigeri!  You know that little desk-top toy that has rows of metal balls suspended by wires?  You hit the row of balls on one end and start a chain reaction... That was us for the next minute or so.  I got him into the "attack mode" that I preferred to his intended docile state. There were fists and feet flying back and forth.  What a nice feeling.   I also did kumite with Naka Sensei for that test.  He dominated me but not nearly as much as he did the man going for his godan.  Kawawada Sensei handed me my yondan certificate just a few days after the exam, which he rushed to make sure I would have before my return to the US. It was nice to have some "closure" to my total of 8 years living in Tokyo, achieving yondan a few days before turning 30.

Jon Keeling


(SB)     So many people have said that Osaka Sensei is a perfect example of pure JKA Karate. Can you please tell us what you think of this and explain what so many perceive as being pure JKA?

(JK)     As for high standards in basic technique, I would agree with those such as Mr David Hooper that Osaka Sensei is the best example that I know of to represent the JKA. Nobody is perfect, including Osaka Sensei. But if you understand his training methods and what is often slightly confusing instruction (due partly to his dialectual speech as well as his tendency to mumble during complex explanation*), many of his imperfections can be forgiven.  I have seen him do some amazing things.  And I have had some personal conversations with him as well.  When it comes down to ideal technique, I actually think that many of the top women kata competitors in Japan have been superior to Osaka Sensei.  But for men, I think he could still place in the finals today, even with his deteriorating body.  And he is amazingly consistent. He could perform a near-perfect technique and then repeat it at the same level many times, each as sharply as the one before.  There are a few others who have outstanding technique.  And although many of them are at the JKA Honbu Dojo in Tokyo, not all of these examples are Japanese.  For anyone who has seen Sensei's Ubl (Steve) or Amos (Richard), for example, we know that one does not need to be Japanese to have outstanding technique.

 

*A little anecdotal side-note concerning Osaka Sensei’s potentially confusing instructions: I recall being in one of his classes at the Honbu where he could see that almost nobody there understood the point he was trying to make.  He could see that I understood. So he asked me to translate for him.  Here is the funny part…He was asking me to translate for the JAPANESE people in the class!

(SB)     So from your time in Japan, what would you say was the most important thing or things you took away from the experiences, and what was the most important technical thing(s) that changed in your understanding and practice of karate?

 

(JK)     I went through many phases during my time in Japan.  I first moved there just after graduating from high school in 1985 as a fresh shodan.  I had never really travelled anywhere by myself before.  I moved from a small town to a big city where they spoke another language. Everything was new and exciting to me, including the karate.  I was loving every minute of it for a long time.  The first 3 months, I trained 18 hours/week. On days that I only trained for 2 hours, I would train 4 the next.  I
didn't mind at all the cuts and bruises.  It was so exciting and rewarding to mix it up with some very talented karateka in classes with so many different instructors teaching so many different ways.

But by the end of my first 3 years in Tokyo, I discovered that I could hold my own against some of the best.  I had never really "worshipped" the instructors there.  I had respect for their commitment from day one and continue to today.  But I realized that they were people too, with bad habits, personality issues, etc.  Some of them were also very nice people, in spite of the tough exterior they presented.  I have at least
as many great memories with my fellow karateka from those days that occurred OUTSIDE the dojo as inside.

After returning to Tokyo for work for another 5 years in the 1990's, I did not have as much time to spend at the dojo.  So I did a lot of self-training. I thought about technical details and developed teaching plans (I had already taught for several years in the US by this point) while training on my own and also while in classes with instructors there.  Because I did not have so many chances to get to the dojo, I
chose my instructors carefully.  I really liked the way Osaka Sensei taught intricate technical details.  Kawawada Sensei has always been very good at that as well.  Naka Sensei was creative in his teaching and it was almost always a good mix of fun and sweat in his classes.  When I attended classes with some of the instructors, however, I found myself quite unimpressed.  Just because someone graduated from the
Instructors' Training course and won 1st place in kumite in the All-Japan's does not make him a talented instructor...Quite the contrary.  During this time, I made many mental notes about what and how to teach and what and how NOT to teach.

I think what really impressed me most of all with those I consider the best instructors in Japan was not their physical skill as much as their ability to formulate classes that were as much a workout of the mind as they were of the body.

 

(SB)     You now run Silicon Valley Karate. How would you describe yourself as an instructor?

 

(JK)     I can be better.  I am constantly trying to improve my ability to do karate and to teach it, just as I try to improve myself as a person.


I am not perfect. I am not a master.  Anyone calling himself a master surely is not.

As far as my teaching style is concerned, how I teach adults is very different from how I teach kids. And teens are a blend of the two.

 

When teaching adults, I try to take what I consider the best of all the instructors I have trained with (well over 100 by now, including most of those I consider to be or have been the best in the world).  I will sometimes teach on a theme for a few classes in a row and sometimes for a few weeks in a row.  But generally I try to maximize variety of themes.  I generally have just one or two major themes in a class and/or a certain technique or set of techniques. I lean toward the technical but make sure that most classes involve some sweating.  I sometimes teach "off the cuff" but usually have a fairly concrete plan for what I will teach each session.  More than anything else, I teach what I refer to as "basics with a twist."  By this I mean that I will have the class perform some very basic technique(s) but to a different angle or exploring a different timing or distance than usual, incorporating that concept in kihon, kata and kumite.

The other main instructor at Silicon Valley Karate (Mr Fred Borda, who also lived in Japan for several years and who has also taught at all of the Hoitsugan Seminars), also teaches in a fairly similar manner. We have a dozen more instructors in our main dojo.

One thing worth noting is the kata portion of Saturday morning classes. We do a single kata for 4 consecutive weeks. The first week is an introduction to the kata.  The second week we go into detail on the techniques, timing, etc.  We study application on the third week. And on the fourth and final class we explore variations (how other styles/organizations perform the kata plus mirror-image, etc, when it is one of the more basic kata).  I have found with this process that I can usually get a green belt (that is the minimum required rank to participate in these kata classes, even when we are doing kata such as Gojushiho-dai) to perform any kata as well as an average shodan by the end of the four weeks and more importantly to UNDERSTAND how they can use the points they studied to help their other kata.

 

As for kids, I make it fun but do not spend time playing games that do not involve Karate techniques. We spend the majority of class time drilling basic techniques. I talk with them about self-defence in terms that they understand. We discuss the meaning of the Dojo Kun. It is so rewarding to hear parents tell me how much their children love the class and I can see that I am helping these kids not only with developing physical skills but also with becoming ready to face the challenges of growing up in this world. I run my teen classes as a mix between the two.


(SB)     Through your own research, technically speaking, do you still stick to the JKA approach, or have you adapted and brought into play a slightly different approach because of your own research?

 

(JK)     The techniques are almost all pure JKA. But the way it is taught is not usually what is considered "standard JKA," according to most people.  We do march up and down the dojo sometimes doing basic repetitions. But we rarely focus on the "test basics;" only about 2 or 3 times/year... "Basics with a twist!"  I also spend quite a bit of time discussing self-defense and how application may be different than training and how the value of the (artificially) basic training is enhanced by understanding the end goal.

 

(SB)     You mentioned that while in Japan you made mental notes about how to structure a class, and how not to structure a class. Can you please elaborate on this point for us, and give the readers who are ‘beginner instructors’ your insights into a good class structure etc?

 

(JK)     As mentioned earlier, I have seen many instructors - not just the newer ones - try to teach exactly how their instructor taught them.  While this may be OK for some, it is not the best way for everyone.

There are different teaching styles and many learning styles.  If you have a student who cannot seem to remember the moves to a combination by watching you demonstrate, maybe he needs it explained to him. Or maybe he would learn better if you physically moved his feet and arms the first few repetitions.

For reference regarding learning styles:
http://www.learning-styles-online.com/

So the teacher who can adapt to the various styles of learning has an advantage. Having a single teaching style can also work.  But I would recommend exploring what style of teaching you employ and how this may fit in with the different learning styles.

For reference on teaching styles:
http://members.shaw.ca/mdde615/tchstyles.htm

We instructors can all benefit from a study of learning and teaching styles. We should not simply teach the way our instructor taught us, particularly if our instructor taught in a very "Japanese" way and our students are all non-Japanese.  The Japanese system of repetition training is not necessarily a "bad" thing.  But it may not be the most productive way to teach the majority of people in a western culture full of "questioning, thinking" types...

 

Some specific ideas, particularly for newer instructors:

*Plan out some classes, step-by-step.  You may have to deviate from your original plan.  But having a class completely laid out ahead of time can give a newer instructor confidence and keep him focused and not deviating in reaction to students' questions, etc.

*Be creative.  No need to stray from the basics.  But make the basics something "new & exciting" by changing details such as angles, timing, etc.

*Ask students often if they have questions.  Then answer them as best you can. If you do not know the answer, tell them that you will look into it and get back to them. Don't just make up the answer. And don’t tell them to just shut up and do as you say.

*Know when to train with your students to help motivate them and when to devote the class to THEM and not make them think that you are only there to get your own training in.

*Show your students that you respect them.  Explain to them that you were in their position years ago and encourage them to do their best, praising them for their efforts.

 

(SB)     What is your favourite kata and why?

 

(JK)     I used to really love Unsu, being that it is so physically demanding. After a while, however, I became a little bored with it... I won quite a few tournaments with it.  So in my last couple competitions (over 15 years ago), I chose other kata for the additional challenge.  These days, I do not really have a favourite.  My focus in kata training has shifted toward variations.  This includes the typical variants such as "mirror image," "add a technique," "change a stance," "change speed/timing/distance," etc.  But also application possibilities.  As such, the more basic kata actually offer more possibilities.  So I now find a kata such as Heian Godan almost as challenging and interesting as Unsu.

I have also practiced kata from many other Karate styles and the “Asai kata.” But I am by no means an expert at anything outside of the JKA kata curriculum.

 

(SB)     You have written a mass of articles that have no doubt made excellent reading for so many karateka around the world. Can I just ask you some more technical questions now? What would you say tend to be the most misunderstood parts of karate?

 

(JK)     I think a very, very important thing to emphasize in training is how to minimize risks of bodily harm.  Not just showing control during kumite.   I am thinking specifically here about minimizing injuries to OURSELVES during training... Many people perform techniques in a "less than ideal" fashion.  By performing incorrect technique, we may have a weaker, slower or more telegraphed technique that would not be as effective in a tournament or self-defense.   But it may also be hurting the person doing the technique.  A little twist of the knee here, bending of the spine there, turning of the ankle there...It can all add up to an operation or two down the road. And I can tell you this from experience!

 From early on in my Karate experience, I heard many people complain "my knees hurt when I do that kick" or "my knee hurt because I was training in such a low stance last night."  With most of these people, I noticed that their knees were misaligned.  They were making things worse for themselves by performing the stances/kicks/stepping incorrectly.

While some injuries and physical limitations cause limitations in flexibility, etc, that force us into compromising our technique, many problems can be avoided, or at least minimized, by working on alignment.

Slightly ironically, I initially focused primarily on the knees because that is what I heard the complaints about most so many years ago. But eventually my hips became a problem for me and I have come to discover many, many others with hips problems doing Karate.


(SB)     As you mentioned, you suffer with arthritis in the hips. How has this affected your karate, and how are you overcoming it?


(JK)     After I found out, in late 2000, that I had arthritis in my hips, I altered my training such that my kicks were performed lower and my stances higher. I completely eliminated jumping and other percussive movements that would jar the hip socket. But there was no way I was going to stop training and teaching. Karate has been my passion and it was going to continue to be a major part of my life.

 

As I had mentioned earlier, I was diagnosed with Femoro-Acetabular Impingement.  Basically, this is a condition afflicting - or at least being noticed by - mostly professional level athletes.  The catalyst for this condition seems to often be the person having been very athletically active while the bones were still growing as a youth.  So if you trained seriously as a teenager, and are now 30+ years old and are starting to feel some pain in the middle of your hip joints, you may want to get checked out.

 

My last operation (total replacement on the right side) took place in May 2013. I was back to teaching at the dojo (on crutches) 5 days later (2 days after getting out of the hospital) and biking 10 miles/day a few weeks later. I still have some minor limitations on range-of-motion. But the strength came back very quickly. I highly recommend considering such operations if you have serious hip problems and your doctor has suggested these procedures.

(SB)     You also touched on the subject of alignment, which is terribly important. The importance of alignment from a medical point of view is clearly paramount, but how does alignment influence the transference of energy do you think when executing techniques?

 

(JK)     There are times when a greater impact force can be generated from a larger, more circular movement of the attacking limb.  But this can cause telegraphing and take more time.  "The shortest distance between two points is a straight line."  Among other things, direct movements are usually the best when considering the total time of the movement and the ability for your opponent to perceive and react to your movement. Furthermore, by putting your elbow directly behind your fist as it is
thrust toward the target, this can create more power and control, as the elbow's proximity to the torso has been proven through research to have these effects.  Additionally, the movement and position of the legs when executing both leg and arm techniques are very important. Generally, we should strive to have as much as possible of the body aligned behind our technique’s impact point.

 

(SB)     One other very interesting part of your own research deals with tension timings. I know you have written extensively about this, but can you please explain a little about this for our readers here and give them an insight into your research?

 

(JK)     Any technique can utilize any/all of the 3 general types of tension (muscular contraction) timing as I have described in my articles, as well as of course a blending of these.  These three types of tension timing are what I refer to as:

 

Braking = What most people describe as "kime"; where we slam on the brakes as the limb nears full extension.

 

Reversing = What many people call "snap"; the tension begins just prior to extension but with the intention of pulling the limb back.

 

Flowing = This involves a less abrupt timing of tension and less tension in general, passing through the point of contact.


Each type of tension timing is more suited to certain types of weapon trajectories, in general.  For example, a thrusting motion (linear projection of the weapon - the hand or foot) is usually best paired with a "braking" tension.  "Reversing" is usually employed for an arcing motion ("snap").  A sweep is usually best paired with a flowing tension.

But any technique can utilize any of the tension timings.  Take, for example, uraken-uchi (back-fist strike).  You can stop your fist abruptly as it reaches the temple and push the adversary's head back a few inches.  Or you can snap your fist back and jolt the skull such that there is minimal perceived external movement but inertia has done damage within the skull casing (concussion).  This may also more likely cause a cut to open.  Scraping the face with the fist, you may follow through without as much tension (a la Yahara Sensei).  Other obvious examples of how these three tension timings can be utilized are gyaku-mawashigeri and ashi-barai. But actually all techniques can and should be explored using all three types of tension timing.

 

(SB)     Looking back to your time in Japan, do you think this over-emphasis on whole body lock down is western symptom? It seems that many westerners have taken the text by Nakayama Sensei to the extreme in their practice, what do you think?

 

(JK)     The Japanese are much better at this, in general, than their western counterparts.  Not that they do more of a "locking down." But rather they seem to have a better grasp of the concept of dynamically contracting and relaxing the appropriate muscle groups.

There are many things that westerners do differently; some for the better, some for the worse.  And there are many assumptions made about the proper way to do things that have developed into misinterpretations and/or people making assumptions about the way things are done in Japan or taught by the Japanese.


I think there has been some misinterpretation concerning the concept of what "kime" means.  But it is not so much "if" it should be done as "how" it should be done.  And of course also the "why" is not fully understood by most.




(SB)     Can you please define your interpretation of what ‘kime’ means?

 

(JK)     “Kime” is one of the less understood terms in Karate (another being “bunkai,” which we can discuss another time).  And it brings me back to a point that I have made many times to many people – If you are having a hard time understanding a Japanese term, use words of your native language! 

 

What does the term actually mean?  So many people assume that it has something to do with the “ki” of “aikido” and “kiai;” that is “chi” in Chinese.  It is not just a different kanji used for this “ki” but it is actually not even a “ki” kanji… “Kime” is a shortened form of the verb “kimeru,” which means “to decide.”

 

I do not want to go into so much detail on the intricacies of the Japanese language that I might lose the few people who may still be reading this far into the interview... But let me say that the most often used phrasing in dojo in Japan, from my experience, is “kimete,” which can be translated as “deciding factor” or “winning move.”  Thus “kime” was not necessarily meant to describe what is going on with the muscles as much as it is about the “decisiveness” of a technique; more about attitude and commitment than the physical characteristics.

 

(SB)     So I know you are very much involved in other activities associated with karate, including your various internet endeavours. Can you tell us about these things?

 

(JK)     I have never wanted to be the centre of attention.  I would much rather play 'second-fiddle' to someone else being in charge.  But I know that, time and time again, I see that if I don't do someone myself, often it simply does not get done!

In the mid-1990's, I started a group diary of sorts at the Hoitsugan dormitory, asking people to write something about their stay before they departed.  At the time I thought "Why hasn't someone else already done this?" The last couple years I was living in Japan in the 1990’s, I was sending mass email updates about various Karate activities I was involved in.

Immediately following my return to the US in 1997, I became active in the old AMAKS newsgroup.  I found it refreshing to see that there were others who also questioned the traditional methods of Shotokan training and teaching methods.  But I also saw that many of these people were misguided; that they had made many incorrect assumptions due to the fact that they were so far removed from the source.  I felt some sense of responsibility; that I should try harder to help educate people on the way techniques were meant to be performed, as well as organize people interested in conducting research to try to improve upon the traditional system.  Toward that effort, I strategized with several people, most closely with the late James Melton, with whom I swapped many ideas as we wrote our website articles, often referencing each other.

The SRSI Journal was formed a couple years later and I was initially happy that someone else was leading this effort, so I could concentrate on research and not worry about design and promotion of the website and other administrative responsibilities.  But eventually the direction of that publication changed significantly from the original purpose.  So I eventually dropped out of that group and from what I can tell it basically fell apart soon after (not just because I left; several other key players also dropped out around the same time).

The "Karate Underground" was formed soon after and I was active from the first week.  I think that Mark Groenewold had done an excellent job with that.  He invited me to be one of the moderators for that group, and I accepted. Again, I was happy that someone else was at the helm. 

I was already a member of various YahooGroups, when the person who started the Shotokan YahooGroup asked if someone else would be interested in taking over his duties.  I told him that if nobody else was interested, I would. He told me that he was hoping I would offer.  So I added that to my to-do list.  I already had PhysicsofMartialArts, a group for past Hoitsugan members, my dojo,
Shotokan black belts in my geographical area and more... What was one more YahooGroup going to matter? Pile it on!

I used my connections to form ShotoMag in late 2005, which was meant to be what I had envisioned for the SRSI Journal.  It was to be focused specifically on Shotokan and involve technical articles, interviews, seminar/course and tournament reviews and more.  The idea was to collect fees from advertisers and pass that through to the authors. Unfortunately, we brought in almost no revenue.  And as time passed I was doing nearly all of the work, despite having a crew of a dozen people.  It was becoming increasingly difficult to deal with registration of members (almost 2000 by the time I shut it down after a couple years), promote the site, seek out advertisers, get people to write for it, edit the articles and deal with getting all the documents into HTML (a harder job back then) and uploading to the website. (Shaun: I know that you know what this is like and I have great respect for you for keeping up TSW, which has turned out GREAT!).  During this time, I was also becoming increasingly busy at my day-job (10 hr+ days at the office, which was over an hour communte from home), dealing with my dojo and the increasing workload for the Tokaido business and helping care for my two children.  Something had to give. So when TheShotokanWay came along, I was more than happy to pass the torch, since I could see that they (you) were doing exactly what I set out to do.  Again, I had no desire to be at the center of things and was happy to be able to just help behind the scenes.



(SB)     And how about Tokaido?

(JK)     This business was first started by a friend of mine, Montoya (Leon) Sensei, who is originally from Colombia and graduated from the JKA Instructors' Training Program in Tokyo.  He ran the business for the first few years, in the late 1990's.  But eventually, he reported to me that he was overwhelmed and not sure if he would continue that business.  At the same time, another friend of mine, Mr Dan Cook, emailed me from Tokyo to let me know that Tokaido was looking to keep that business going and was wondering if he might know of someone who could do it... Dan and I coordinated to take over the operation and we became business partners. But, after about 9 years of minimal sleep and far more headaches than a person should have, I turned over everything to Mr Cook, who is now an independent sales agent working with Tokaido, running International Sales. For anyone interested in purchasing Tokaido products, I highly recommend contacting Mr Cook directly. And for those reading this article, please feel free to use the discount code “TSW” on your next order!

 

(SB)     I know that you are organizing another Hoitsugan Seminars set, to take place in California next month. Could you tell us more about that?

 

(JK)     My pleasure. As discussed in the first interview you conducted with me, I have been getting together instructors from various locations to teach at specialized camps. All the instructors spent time living in Japan to further their Shotokan skills. Most of them trained with Nakayama Sensei and/or at his personal dojo, “Hoitsugan.” To be designated a “Hoitsugan Seminars” set, there must be at least 12 qualified instructors and the host must be one of them. This March 26-30 will be our 4th set, the last one having been 5 years prior. All of them have been in California thus far but we hope to go international by next year. Instructors this time include such notables as Senseis Vincent Cruz (in the original Strategic Air Command group that trained with the JKA senior instructors in the 1950’s), James Yabe (an icon of the US Karate scene from the 1960’s), Steve Ubl (the first Hoitsugan resident in 1972 and one of the most personal students of Senseis Nakayama, Nishiyama and Kanazawa) and many more. We will have at least 15 instructors at this event here in heart of Silicon Valley. For more details, please see www.hoitsugan.com. Please note that instructors and participants are coming from various organizations and locations. We will have instructors from Brazil and Indonesia and participants from the UK, South Africa and other international locations. All those who are interested in furthering their Shotokan training are welcome to attend.

 

(SB)     Can I just ask if there’s anything you’d like to mention that I’d neglected to ask you?

 

(JK)     There is always more to talk about.  I am never at a loss for words when discussing karate-related subjects.  If you ever have more questions, please feel free to contact me. Oh. And if anyone reading this spent time training at the Hoitsugan over the years, please contact me.

 

(SB)     Can I on behalf of myself, Emma and the readers say a huge thank you for this interview and my I wish you every success for the future in all you do.

 

(JK)     Thank YOU for all you are doing with The Shotokan Way.  I am so glad you are doing it, and doing it so well.