South African Goju Ryu Okinawa Karate-Doh Jundokan


10th Memorial for Miyazato Eiichi Sensei and 
the 55th Jundokan Founding Anniversary
Okinawa Goju Ryu Karate-Doh SoHonbu JUNDOKAN
November 2008


Last November the Jundokan SoHonbu Dojo in Okinawa, Japan hosted the 10th Memorial for Miyazato Eiichi Sensei and the 55th Anniversary of the founding of the Jundokan dojo.  The South African Jundokan were represented by Wayne David, Sunil Gopal, Farhana Rahman and Buddy Govender.  Converging upon Okinawa were most of the senior ranking Jundokan instructors and students from around the world.  This gathering was a perfect opportunity for those loyal to the Jundokan Sohonbu Dojo to pay their respects to one of the greatest Goju Ryu teachers in history, the late Miyazato Eiichi Sensei.

Arrangements were made at least a year in advance to ensure that this event was a success.  Approximately 250 Okinawa Goju Ryu teachers and students were made to feel as comfortable as possible by the Okinawan hosts. This was indeed an event not to be missed.  The teachers at the Jundokan SoHonbu dojo are master instructors, and the programme ensured that all levels of instruction were made available to the participants.  Students were split up into groups according to grade, and each group had a minimum of 2 to 3 instructors assisting.  The event opened with a welcome and address from Miyazato Yoshihiro Kancho and it was good to see Yasuda Tetsunosuke Hanshi on the floor every day.  The first days training was confined to 5th dans and above however from the 2nd day the seminar was open to all in attendance.  It was a joy to see Masaji Taira Sensei (the greatest Goju Ryu bunkai teacher in the world), Gima Tetsu Sensei, Kinjo Tsuneo Sensei, Ganaha Hiroshi Sensei, Yogi Katsuhiko Sensei, Sunagawa Hisao Sensei, Higa Kuzuya Sensei, Akamine Isao Sensei and  Hirayama Hiroshi Sensei all on the floor at some time over the course of the event.  Quality instruction by quality teachers!

On the last day of the seminar such, each country were scheduled to perform a demonstration of their choice.  This was a special day as there were many dignitaries in attendance eg, the Mayor of Naha City, Takeshi Onaga san, Member of the Diet, Kosaburo Nishime san, Mr Nakasone, the owner of the Shureido Martial Arts shop.  The South African team performed a well received  Sanseru Kata.

After the excellent demonstrations from the various countries, there was a grading for Shodan to Yondan.  Wayne David and Sunil Gopal were both recommended by Buddy Sensei to attempt a grading to Nidan and Shodan respectively.  The grading panel consisted on 10th dans, 9th dans, 8th dans and of course Miyazato Kancho.  Sunil and Wayne both performed Sanchin Kata as well as  Seiyunchin Kata and 3 relative bunkai.  They did really well and displayed an excellent grasp of Okinawa Goju Ryu.  They really did the South African Jundokan proud! Well done!

The next day, Buddy Sensei along with about 20 other senior instructors (5th dan and above) were requested to grade, in front of the same panel as the day before, at the Jundokan dojo.  It was a special atmosphere inside a packed Jundokan with colleagues and family of those attempting gradings for 6th, 7th and 8th dan all along the balcony overlooking the dojo floor - a rare sight!  The spirit amongst those grading was superb, as it was on the days preceding.  Buddy Sensei performed Tensho Kata and Sepai Kata with bunkai.  Under the close, watchful eye of these world class teachers there was no room chancers and the standard of all those grading was extremely satisfying.  Buddy Sensei was promoted to Rokudan and granted Renshi status - a proud achievement for both himself and the South African Jundokan.  

On Sunday 9th November, the closing ceremony was held at the Pacific Hotel Naha.  Again the event was attended by many dignitaries, both City Officials and high ranking teachers from others Ryuha (styles)  A few of the senior teachers were given the honour of performing Goju Ryu Kata as a demonstration.  They were all excellent and flawless in their performance!  After the speeches and the awarding of 10th dan to Omine Yoshishige Hanshi the event closed with an excellent banquet.  This was a wonderful and memorable event however much of the thanks must also go Glen McIlvride who worked tirelessly behind in the scenes to ensure that all the delegates were well accommodated etc, etc!  A HUGE thank you to Glen from the South African team!

Leaving Okinawa this time was also like departing from family, as we had made so many friends.  However, this event has now cemented our relationship with both the Jundokan and those that belong to this excellent school of Goju Ryu.  

The future of the Jundokan is now brighter than ever before.

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