This page will serve as a repository of most recent information and pictures. Most of what is contained here eventually will be incorporated into future U.S. Chito-kai history pages.

Chito-Ryu Family

By: Teresa Locklear
Ft Bragg , North Carolina
Our children have been training at the Fort Bragg Yoseikan for about seven years now. My husband and oldest son have traveled to the Honbu several times for seminars, but I haven't ever been able to attend. This year we had two children testing, so we decided that we would all go and attend as a family! Thursday evening our children attended class and that was my first time seeing the Honbu in person. What a beautiful place it was and I felt transported back to another time as we walked around. So much culture and history and yet it's such a comforting place.
Friday evening as our children tested we sat in the back and played cards. Even though those testing were probably feeling the stress we felt as if we were sitting in a friend's kitchen just hanging out and talking. We met several others that were waiting on loved ones as they tested. We talked about the testing, Chito-Ryu, Hanshi, Okusan and so much more. In the back there were more pictures than I could count. It was an amazing experience to look at all the pictures and think about the history of Chito-Ryu! It was hard to think of those just on the other side of the door possibly being stressed when we were so relaxed. It was as though we were hanging out with family. I think that's because it is family, our Chito-Ryu family. Since our children started training at the Fort Bragg Yoseikan we have felt the family bond. Our sensei, Sensei Po, has treated us as family from the day we started. If one of the kids misses class and he knows they are sick he calls to check on them. When there has been bad weather near us he calls to check on us and offers us a place to stay if we need it. We check on him and the others in our dojo when we don't see them or hear from them. We've always had the family atmosphere, but coming and attending the testing, seminar and banquet was seeing the larger part of that family! I know that for many the testing evening is very stressful. The students have trained and hope they are prepared, but there are always things to be corrected and more to learn. Quite a bit of that, I view as the mentoring part of being in this Chito-Ryu family. Those that have trained for many years mentor and help mold those younger students.
The seminar is another time to train and learn things that you might miss when you live as far away from the Honbu as we do. There is a time to talk and meet others, but this is a time specifically geared for learning. At the beginning of the seminar many were asked to share how long they had been training. Many have been in the Chito-Ryu family as long as I've been alive. Just the thought of those dedicated to their training for life was so very touching to me!
Another thing that touched me greatly was at the end of the seminar Okusan requested the "spirit circle" to be done. I had no idea what that was, but instantly was moved in a way that is hard to describe. The room split into two circles and they each had students taking turns demonstrating and it changed the entire mood of the room. I don't study Chito-Ryu, I just support my children, but I was almost to tears by the instant mood change in the room. The support for our Chito-Ryu family and all those that have been here before us training and teaching was truly remarkable. It was an amazing way to end the seminar and I felt truly proud to be part of this Chito-Ryu family.
As our time was coming to an end we got to experience one last part to our trip. I had assumed, wrongly, that the banquet would be a very serious and possibly stuffy event. Everyone was nicely dressed, but it was like having a large meal with family. Friends that hadn't seen each other ere catching up, emails and numbers were exchanged to share information and it was just a wonderful way to end the weekend. We saw amazing pictures not only from this past year, but from the many years of Chito-Ryu. Awards and certificates were given out with such love that it was as if a parent were giving those things to their child. The amount of experience and dedication that I saw in the room made me emotional to know that all those people are so invested in our Chito-Ryu family continuing to grow and thrive for many, many years.
I am so grateful that I was able to attend this year and experience all the wonderful things about our Chito-Ryu family that I haven't experienced before. It was an amazing weekend and one that I won't forget!

HAPPY 50th ANNIVERSARY USCK!

by Don Schmidt, Renshi
Imagine being asked by your karate teacher, as he took your hand into his, and requested that you organize a United States Chito-ryu karate organization and at the same time appoint you as the Chairman and Chief Instructor of the organization. Do not forget that you have a job and family that requires your attention. Where would you be after a year of attempting this task? As most of us know, this is exactly what happened to the late Hanshi William J. Dometrich in 1967. O-Sensei Chitose continued talking to Hanshi and told Hanshi to build a good hombu, produce good students and build a good organization; not necessarily a large organization, but a good one. This meeting resulted in Hanshi and his wife Meiyo Hanshi Barbara E. Dometrich to create the United States Chito Kai (USCK).
Now imagine chairing the USCK National Banquet on October 21, 2017, as you gaze out to the audience, realizing that 50 years later you are still carrying out the request of O-Sensei because sitting before you is a large group, consisting of quality students representing a good organization. Although Meiyo Hanshi Dometrich was sitting there without her late husband, she was not alone. The support or loyalty you give to the USCK is a tremendous display of your character and sent a message to her that she is not alone. Together, WE ARE USCK!
As it has been written about, through the years disappointments occurred, but one thing has never changed and that is the mission of the USCK. Fifty years is a tremendous accomplishment which is why a banzai cheer was dedicated to the USCK and its founders at the end of our clinic. Hanshi has always said that without Okusan there would be no USCK. Through the years they created a quality organization with a hombu that transcends most, if not all, karate establishments in the United States.
On Friday the USCK National Test occurred as 12 students tested for promotions to ik kyu through go dan. The test Board consisted of Kyoshi Sherry Kembre (chair), Renshi Gerald Meade, Renshi Eric Ford, Shihan James Acampora and Shihan Laura Stith Deck. The test committee consisted of myself and Renshi Wes Ernest. The following candidates for ik kyu passed: Cage Spicer, Alex Rogers, Bob Price, from the hombu Yoseikan, Paul Hinckle from Yoseikan Crozet; and Brianna Locklear from Yoseikan Ft. Bragg. Sho dan candidate Brian Cobb, Yoseikan Anderson, passed. Newly promoted ni dan were Zach Locklear Yoseikan Ft. Bragg, Jake Salamon Yoseikan Anderson and Ed Harris hombu Yoseikan. Ray Carrera, Yoseikan, earned the rank of yon dan and Paul Knecht, Yoseikan II Cincinnati, earned the rank of go dan.
On Saturday morning the Shihan kai and Shibu kai gathered at the Board of Directors meeting to discuss organizational matters. Okusan intended to give those in attendance a 50th anniversary commemorative plate, but the supplier had several production glitches that prevented timely delivery. Much to the chagrin of Okusan, all she could do at this time was inform us that the matter is pending.
As usual, the four hour training session on Saturday was awesome. Kyoshi Kembre led the first hour with brisk drills emphasizing Chito-ryu technique. She continued with the second hour by leading the brown and black belts through Seisan kata and then introduced 8 Seisan kaisetz that she and others did almost 50 years ago. These kaisetz are in a booklet featuring O-Sensei and Soke. The kaisetz closely mirror moves in the kata and designed to encourage students to think of kata applications. During the second hour segment, Shihan Kevin Drummond led the beginners and intermediate kyu ranks through Seiken no Migi Hidari. Rather than punching, Shihan Drummond interfaced the drill with the techniques in our basic 12 movements drill.
The next hour and a half resulted in a kyu group led by Shihan Paul Knecht and a black belt group that I led. During this hour and a half, I went through the 28 Hen Shu Ho in an attempt to encourage yudansha to study them as demonstrated so they are able to teach them in accordance with the USCK curriculum. Shihan Paul Knecht also taught the Hen Shu Ho to his group.
Once again we finished the clinic with "spirit circles"; one led by Shihan Jansak and the other was led by Shihan Messinger. The purpose of these circles is to get the group on a mission to work on their technique as well as fill the room with energy and kia. We were one because WE ARE THE USCK!
The training seminar came to a close with banzai cheer to our style's founder Dr. Tsuyoshi Chitose and as mentioned earlier a separate banzai cheer to the founders of the USCK William J. Dometrich and Barbara E. Dometrich. In describing our training, perhaps Kyoshi Kembre described it best. She said that she was impressed with our technique and she reminded us of what her father said on occasions and that was that he would put us up against any karate organization whether Japanese or non Japanese. Don't let it go to your head. Just keep training and have good bushido.
On Saturday, October 21, Okusan's planned banquet went off without a hitch. Hanshi Holley, Kyoshi Melvin Lewis, and others from Hanshi Holley's organization trained and dined with us. Shihan Mujaga-Mujo Mustafic from Iowa is associated with Hanshi Holley's group and he was in attendance for the first time. Shihan Jeff Thompson and some of his students participated. These guys are well adept in their art and have good bushido so they are good company to train with and share camaraderie at events. Shihan Tony DiTerlizzi's year in review presentation was as awesome as ever. Once again we raffled off a knife made by Sensei Mike Shaefer raising money to donate to Parkinson's walk/run in Hanshi's name. Okusan presented prestigious USCK awards to certain individuals in order to recognize their contributions. Sensei Evelyn Disher- Courage Award-for opening a dojo in Orangeburg, SC; Sensei Chris Brueckner- Excellence Award- for maintaining our web page; Renshi John Wellbrock-Patience Award-for teaching karate to youths ranging in age from 6 to 8 including his grandson; Sensei Richard Rike-Perserverance Award-for coming home to the USCK; Sensei Zach Locklear-Loyalty Award- for teaching classes while his Sensei was recovering from medical ailments; and Sensei Matt Cowheard-Benevolence Award (gin)-for his kindness.
A handful of 50th Anniversary plates were delivered to Okusan during the training. Only one was given out during the banquet to the most deserving person in attendance, Kyoshi Lawrence C. Hawkins Jr. Esq. Kyoshi Hawkins started training under Hanshi Dometrich's tutelage in 1962 or 5 years before the creation of the USCK. Through thick and thin he remained loyal to Hanshi and Okusan and continues to be the Chief Advisor/Chairman Emeritus of the USCK. Upon the presentation of the gift, thunderous applause erupted and we stood to honor this man who has displayed tremendous bushido.

2017 Rensei Taikai

September 9, 2017
David Hickenlooper, Ik Kyu
     
DNBK Members       All Attendees

On September 9, 2017 Kyoshi Sherry Kembre, Kyoshi Gerald Beshears, and I took part in the 2017 Rensei Taikai hosted by the Karate of Japan Federation (KOJF) and Hanshi Dwight Holley. After being warmly greeted, we were read the letter prepared for the event. If the main idea behind the training were to be summed up in a few words they would be: Humanity, Character, and Community. While different styles of karate were represented, the focus was on what we have in common.

The day began with Hanshi Holley addressing us. During his remarks, Hanshi Holley told us the focus if this training was the human element. It is this that makes Karate what it is. Without humanity, there is no Karate. Hanshi Holley also related his relationship to Chito-Ryu and Hanshi Dometrich and the profound impact he had on him. The karateka were told "while there are many paths up the same mountain, when we get to the top we are all looking at the same moon." This reflected the approach to the training. The instructors were introduced and what was pointed out was not necessarily their physical ability but their character. He concluded his opening remarks with we should approach the training with the goal of improving not only our physical abilities but our mind and spirit, our character.

The day was divided into four segments. Training was led by Shihan Moises De La Cruz from Florida, Sensei Mujaga-Mujo Mustafic from Iowa, Sensei Dan Taylor from California, and Hanshi Ken Tallack from Ontario Canada, respectively. Each instructor devoted time to ensuring we were being the best we could be.

It wasn't long before Shihan De La Cruz had the blood pumping and sweat flowing from everyone on the deck. We focused initially on drills and movements one would use in Kumite. These techniques came is rapid succession. As the first segment progressed, all the previous movements were included in increasingly complex combinations of blocks, punches, and kicks.

Basics were the focus of the second segment taught by Sensei Mujaga-Mujo Mustafic from Iowa. We did the majority of these in Zenkutsu-Dachi. As the training progressed, as with the first segment, the movements became more difficult. It became apparent just how crucial good basics are to everything we do. By striving to each move correctly, with proper form, while fatigued, we soon learned the connection of how Karate builds character.

Sensei Dan Taylor told us on several occasions "Different means just different, not better, not worse, not right or wrong, just different" which was reinforced throughout the training. Although we were learning Goju-Ryu techniques, which have circular movements, there were many similarities with Chito-Ryu techniques. Much like the different paths up the mountain, we were essentially getting to the same place, we were just taking a different way there. I had the opportunity to work with Shihan Melvin Lewis from Louisville and Kyoshi Beshears during this part of the training. As we went over the various techniques, Sensei Taylor kept repeating he "wants to see light bulbs not question marks." This was the case as Kyoshi Beshears pointed out the similarities between the Goju-Ryu techniques and our own Hanten-Ho. They are designed to take the opponent off their center with minimal effort. The technique does all the work. This is a variation of Seiryoku Zenyou or maximum effect, minimum energy.

Mieyo Hanshi Barbara Dometrich arrived with Renshi Don Schmidt and she was introduced and proper respect was paid by the entire group bowing. Thus, demonstrating the closeness of the Karate community.

The final segment of training was led by Hanshi Ken Tallack of Ontario, Canada. We were shown a kata which is familiar to all, Seisan. However, we learned the Goju-Ryu and Kobiyashi Shorin Ryu interpretations of the kata. While parts seemed familiar, there were many differences in each interpretation. As Hanshi Tallack demonstrated each kata the students followed along. Hanshi Tallack then incorporated Bunkai applicable to each version of Seisan. Perhaps the most profound part of the instruction was the talk he gave at the end of the segment during which he related the impact others have had on him, including Hanshi Dometrich, and Okusan. Again, how karate relates to the human element was present.

The day concluded with Hanshi Holley addressing the Karateka. It was during this the impact of the human element hit home. In one room was hundreds, if not thousands, of years of karate experience. Hanshi Holley relayed how we have all been given a great gift by the Masters from hundreds of years ago. He likened It to receiving a priceless work of art and our duty to pass it on to the future generations. In so doing, we should not alter its ways that it becomes unrecognizable from its original form. Rather, we should protect and preserve it, pass it on so its essence is the same as when it was first conceived by the original Masters. The Masters and teachers from hundreds of years ago are still heard today through the way we train, teach, and conduct our lives. It is our duty to preserve their voices or they could be lost forever.

The 2017 Rensei Taikai was a great opportunity for all to learn, build new friendships and renew old ones, and strengthen the Karate community as a whole. I am glad I attended and look forward to next year.


A Visit from France

by Hervé Stephanus

For the context, my wife, oldest daughter and I used to live in Cincinnati during the 2004-2006 period. It is at that time that I started karate at the Yoseikan Hombu in Covington.

My wife Mari, our oldest daughter Aelia, our son Erwan, our younger daughter Maeleen and I just spent couple of weeks in the Mid West this summer, mainly in Cincinnati.

We showed Aelia where she was born in 2005: the daycare, the apartment in Florence, KY where we used to live and we spent time with my extended American Stephanus family around Madison, IN.

As well, with my son Erwan, we went several times to the dojo for training and all our family went to Audra State Park.

This has been such a great experience!

Since we went back to France

Since Mari, Aelia and I went back to France in 2006, I tried several karate clubs and honestly I did not find a dojo that really fitted me. It was very much sport oriented and I was somehow missing the mental connection with the traditional karate that goes beyond the physical aspect of karate.

Therefore, between 2007 and 2015 I almost did not practice karate. However, I continued to practice it at home by myself.

Then, in 2016, a friend of mine told me that there is a dojo that is called Bushido, 30 minutes away from our home. I went there and I found a nice group of persons, working on traditional karate, connecting the mental and the body. Mari told me: "Hervé I see you practicing karate at home from time to time, that means you like it, if you have a good place to train then go for it". I started karate again in September 2016. My son Erwan started karate at the same time in that same dojo. It is not the Chito-Ryu style as there is no Chito-Ryu in France to my knowledge, it is Shotokan, following the path of Sense Gichin Funakoshi. "A block is a block and a punch is a punch", whatever the style.

As we were planning our trip to the US, I sent an email to Okusan. Okusan responded that my son and I could come in the dojo and that we could as well join the group to Audra State Park.

We were delighted and accepted right away.

Training at the dojo

When we came at the dojo, Okusan was at her office desk like 10 years ago, "fidèle au poste" as we say in France. This was so good to see her and talk to her.

On some Tuesday and Thursday, I was pleased to catch up with a lot of the sensei that were already teaching way back: Schmidt Sensei, Ernest Sensei, Wellbrock Sensei, Meade Sensei, Beshears Sensei and Sherry Kembre Sensei as well as new Sensei and new generation of practitioners since then.

It was so good to discuss and to remember all the good memories like training during the night with Kangeiko and attending the Chicago tournament.

I had the chance to discuss with Beshears Sensei and was glad that he recovered. I was asking about "Nanakorobi Yaoki", meaning "Seven times down, eight times up". We talked together about this proverb. I will not forget this.

I had the possibility to practice various katas during this summer: Taikyoku ich, ni and san, Niseishi Sho and its Kaisetsu, Seisan, Rohai Sho and the 4 directions salute kata Shihohai. For most kata, I was barely able to follow the moves, as it has been a long time since I practiced them. But it felt good anyway and the moves were coming back slowly.

As well my son was willing to train at the dojo. He liked it so much and was asking me "Daddy when do we go back training at the dojo?". He received such a great training with a lot of patience from everyone. He does not understand English but as most of the terms are in Japanese he was able to practice and really enjoyed it. He was even looking forward to wash the floor at the end of the training ;-) "Domo arigato gozaimatsu" to everyone that trained him.

Training at Audra

To go to Audra State Park was a unique and wonderful time for us!

The location of the place was important too as Hanshi was from West Virginia, not that far from Audra State Park.


Practicing karate as a group with outstanding Sensei during 4 hours or so was an unforgettable experience. Last time I practice 4 hours was while doing Kangeiko when I was training at the dojo.


At Audra, we did San Ju Wasa at some point and my body remembered doing it from 10 years ago. As well, we performed the Sakugawa No Kon Sho bo kata, which was an exceptional experience for me as it was my first time doing bo.

Even though it was raining at the end of the practice, we did not want to stop training and started singing "we like it, we want it, we want more of it!".


After the training, I was very pleased to do a Shotokan kata called Bassai Dai that is somehow close to the spirit of Potsai / Bassai in Chito-ryu. A main difference, outside of the different movements, is that the kata with Chito-ryu is mostly performed open handed whereas the Bassai Dai with Shotokan is mainly performed with closed fists. It is not the same kata but one can notice that it has the same background.

My son made a new friend during the training and they were able to talk to each other and play together, with a little bit in French and a little bit in English. It was amazing.


During the training, my wife and my two daughters were hanging around and liked very much the place. Actually, they had the same great time as we had practicing karate. When we were driving back, my daughter Aelia even told us that being and playing in the river and its fountains at Audra was the best moment of our vacaction.

Back to France

While being back to France, we suggested to demonstrate to our Bushido karate club in France some exercises from the Yoseikan Hombu, which was very much welcome by our Sensei. Thus, it is like having a little bit of the training in the USA here in France ;-)

To conclude, I would like to say that Yoseikan Hombu is a dojo where you learn karate in it wider aspects. It is one of a kind in the US and possibly in our planet.

Hanshi left us couple of years ago. We miss him. Hanshi was such an inspirational guide. I truly feel that his spirit is with during our training as well as outside of the dojo. We keep him alive in our memory, in our practice and in our lives.

Thanks to everyone I met over the past couple of weeks and I hope to see you next time we come back to Cincinnati.

As well, if you come to France or would like to come to France, our place is in Brest (West of France). Please just let us know. Our guest room is waiting for you.


AUDRA SEMINAR

by Richard Rike, Crozet Yoseikan

Every August USCK karateka make the journey to the seminar tucked in the mountains of West Virginia hosted by Shihan Kevin Drummond and Shihan Michael Messinger. As I drove over the mountains and through the woods, my cell phone signal faded as I looked forward to returning to Audra State Park. It is a time of relaxation, friendship, and strong Chito-Ryu training. Some karateka and their families spent extra time at the campground, while others drove down for the weekend event.


Friday night was a wonderful time to reconnect over a great dinner at C.J. Maggies in Buchannon WV. Meiyo Hanshi Dometrich was with us which made the event very special. After visiting and eating delicious food we rejoined at the campground that evening to catch up on each other's lives and to allow the stresses of the work week to wash away. Stories, laughter, and campfire smoke filled the air as we relaxed among friends and family.

           

The next morning before training began, Kyoshi Sherry Kembre told us of the red cardinal that had landed next to her that day in Audra. A similar cardinal appeared last year so we knew that Hanshi was with us again. His spirit motivated us through the training as we spent the first hours working on kihon and kata. Kyu ranks were guided by Renshi Wes Ernest while dan ranks continued training with Kyoshi Kembre. Following a short break, Shihan Drummond began teaching. He provided guidance on seiken no migi hidari and combined this series with the thirty basic movements and the kaisetz. Shihan Drummond challenged us to adjust our techniques for both the left and the right sides as we paced through the movements. Next, Renshi Don Schmidt led the entire group through Sakugawa No Kon Sho. Renshi Schmidt walked the group through the combinations of the bo kata and allowed time to execute the kata. Our time was nearly up when Kyoshi Kembre led us through kumite drills. Rotating through partners and adjusting our target proved more challenging as the rain began to pour. Refreshed from the rainstorm, we lined up to thank those who were with us in spirit, each other and those who watched over our training. A few of us fortunate students received further instruction from Shihan Messinger. He emphasized kime, eye vectoring, and stance for which I am very grateful.

     
     

Although the afternoon was spotty with rain showers, our spirits stayed high. Relaxing, playing in the river, showering, and napping passed the time before the evening cookout. Conversation, yummy food, and camaraderie flowed through dinner which culminated in the talented guitar playing and singing by Sensei Matthew Cowherd and a stirring rendition of "Ballad of Chito-Ryu" by Renshi Schmidt. We retired to a final campfire where plenty of s'mores were devoured sandwiched between all the laughter. Campers slowly trickled away, rejuvenated from the training and spending time with our karate family. As I left the campground headed for home, I found myself eager for the next event, the USCK National Seminar, and humming the tune to "Country Road, Take Me Home".

Thanks to everyone that made this wonderful event possible.


A ROYAL VACATION

by Don Schmidt, Renshi

Perhaps you recall my last report in 2014 regarding Okusan's vacation during which we purchased a lot of t-shirts which were crammed into every corner of a Corolla. On July 22, 2017, Okusan, Kyoshi Sherry Kembre and I went on another vacation into the "low country", but this time we traveled in a Ford F150 which has ample room to haul t-shirts. One highlight of this trip involved discovering that Okusan is a descendant of Royalty. Once this was established, Okusan dared not visit a t-shirt shop, but we had a truck load of various sundry items.

     

Our first day of travel brought us to Orangeburg, South Carolina which is where Sensei Evelyn Disher opened the latest USCK dojo. On Sunday, we were off to Charleston, South Carolina a short distance from our encampment. Charleston is the center of the "low country" famous for seafood and a market which has a plethora of artisan items on display. To the market we went and various items were purchased like, wall switch plates, a tooth fairy pillow, wallets, and who knows what else. I searched for oysters and she crab soup in adjacent restaurants. In the process I found a restaurant that makes Bloody Mary's using Charleston Bloody Mary Mix. After a long day in Charleston, we returned to the metropolis of Orangeburg, or the "Big O", in preparation to attend Sensei Disher's Monday night karate class.

           

We had the entire Monday to tour the Big O which was accomplished by 10 in the morning. We also loaded more sundry items into the truck like Charleston Bloody Mary mix, vodka, Clamato juice, t-shirts, and who knows what else. The highlight was meeting with Sensei Disher and her quite elegant mother and going to class that evening. Kyoshi Kembre led the novice karateka through basics and kata. Then she worked with Sensei Disher while I continued with the novices working kumite drills. Sensei Disher presented Okusan with a shopping bag of more sundry items like a bucket of pecans, lapel pins, coasters, note stationary, and items of local interest like a cotton bale (miniature), and a cutting from a cotton plant. Into the F150 the bag went.

     

On Tuesday we were headed north to visit Yoseikan Ft. Bragg in North Carolina and Sensei Warren Pochinski. I think we were too busy eating Tu's delicious cooking to shop. On Wednesday evening, we went to Sensei Po's karate class at Ft. Bragg. Kyoshi Kembre led the karateka through basics and kata and then the group was split. Sensei Kembre worked with the yellow and orange belts and I worked with the green, brown and black belts.

     

On Thursday morning, we continued northward towards destination Crozet, Virginia. We had to drive through Richmond, Virginia and I wanted to visit an Army veterans' monument that pays tribute to the 80th Infantry Division which was my dad's unit during WWII. A year and a half ago I purchased an engraved brick in his name and since I was in the area I wanted to see it. The short of the story is that to my surprise the brick was not positioned in the ground and was in a closet. However, a Captain who I met found the brick and he held a brief ceremony which included my placing the brick at the monument base where it will remain. Fortuitously, there is an elk herd on this military installation which we were able to view.

I was in search of a particular flour that is milled in Virginia so I found a grocery in Charlottesville. It did not have the flour. A huge bakery was in the store so Kyoshi Kembre and Okusan loaded up on cookies and Boston crème delicacies. Into the F150 they went which was fine by me.

           

On Thursday night we attended Sensei Richard Rike's class at Crozet Yoseikan. Kyoshi Kembre led the class through basic drills and beginner kata. Later, we split the group after about an hour and she took the upper ranks and I taught the white, yellow and orange belts. Afterwards, Sensei Rike took us to roof-top restaurant in Crozet where we had a delightful time.

On Friday Morning, I found a Kroger in Crozet and found the flour I was searching for. Three bags of it were put in the F150. I happily turned the truck westward towards destination Clarksburg, West Virginia.

We headed west through the rugged mountains of Virginia and came to a cozy, little hamlet called Monterey. Well, there was a gift shop. This little hamlet also sold pure Virginia maple syrup drawn from the sugar maples that crowd the lofty hills surrounding the hamlet. Several jugs of maple syrup were purchased and some sundry items made their way to the F150 like a turtle puppet, ring, t-shirts, maple syrup cook book, hand painted jewelry container, and who knows what else.

On Friday afternoon, we arrived at the Clarksburg library to find relatives of Okusan's mother, Camille Irene Randolph. In genealogy terms, we found the redwood of a family tree. We learned that Edward Fitz Randolph was the first in her Randolph blood line to arrive to America in 1629 as a pilgrim. The tree did not stop there. The Fitz Randolphs were so famous their history is documented back to about 860 AD. One of her ancient relatives was the Duke of Normandy; one married the Saxon King of England. There are too many references to dukes, earls and lords to remember and repeat here. In addition, the Fitz Randolphs married into other prominent, royal families so there is (are) a castle(s) somewhere. Upon learning all this, I noticed that Okusan began waiving to people with a peculiar sideways motion of her hand.

Friday evening we met our good friends Shihan Messinger and Shihan Drummond and his wife Cindy. Breakfast in the morning with Shihan Messinger was a great sendoff as we prepared to depart Hanshi's and Okusan's hometown.

As we neared Cincinnati, we had one more stop. Okusan loves Jungle Jim's on route 32. Needless to say, more sundry items were placed into the F150.

It was good to take Okusan on a vacation and visit USCK dojo in the process. In short, we had a blast. We were delighted to visit with fellow karateka and see firsthand that the principles of Chito-ryu as taught to us by Hanshi Dometrich are being followed. Thank you for your hospitality and loyalty to the USCK.


Just one more bit of humor: It took longer to unload the F150 than it did to load it. As I edit this article I am devouring some of these sundry items. Yum!


SHOCHUGEIKO 2017

by Don Schmidt, Renshi

By now most of you have seen Okusan's thank you email which included the group picture and words describing her satisfaction with the entire event. Therefore, it will be difficult to explain any further the enjoyment of this year's Shochugeiko training and picnic. Perhaps the pictures attached below will convey how successful it was and help convey Okusan's joyous comments in her email.


To begin with, once again the weather was perfect. Check the prior articles after March 2012 and I believe that you will find that the weather has been exceptional for this time of year. The temperatures and humidity dropped from the previous day's weather providing us with perfect weather to train in the park. As I have mentioned before, perhaps someone is watching over Okusan and us.


The perfect weather does not mean that we did not sweat. Especially because Kyoshi Sherry Kembre led the first session of basics and once again she had the "pedal to the metal" as Hanshi would say. Basics are so important and hopefully the beginner to the veteran practitioner learned something about their individual technique. Remember that good basics results in good kata performance.

     

The second session was not easier because the black belts faced Kyoshi Kembre's enthusiasm during the next hour as she drilled us through some advanced kata. The kyu ranks were separated and trained under the leadership of Renshi Wes Ernest who not surprisingly had the pedal to the metal. If you put effort and enthusiasm into your training, you had to come away with some sense of accomplishment even if it was just surviving the first two hours.


The third session involved closer confrontation and focused on grabs, escapes and other self-defense tactics. Kyoshi Jerry Beshears led the black belts through bunkai applications of Shi Ho Wari and Shi Ho Hai emphasizing foot trapping and entering. Partners squared off and practiced applications designed to allow karateka to better understand and enjoy the kata. I was assigned to the kyu ranks and focused the training on applications from techniques they have repetitively done. For example, I had them practice wrist escapes using jodan uke, other wrist escapes, elbow techniques, utilizing holds they may encounter on the street like head locks, bear hugs, and hammer locks. I also had them practice some of the techniques Okusan used on Hanshi in the demonstration video on self-defense that is on our web page. They were told how important it is to breathe when under attack or duress.

     

The fourth session involved weapon training or kobudo. Shihan Bill Jansak led the black belts in sai training. They performed a beginner kata, which is actually pretty long, known as Tsuken Shitahaku No Sai. The kyu ranks were instructed by Renshi Eric Ford and myself. We taught U.S. Chito Kai bo kata known as Sakagawa No Kon Sho.


Before you knew it we were in our final session. The entire group formed two "spirit circles" during which the designated, alternating, leader in the center would demonstrate two or three basic techniques and the entire circle would follow with loud kiai and tremendous spirit without sacrificing basic technique.

I guess one could say that we came full circle from the beginning of the clinic!

     

Special thanks to Paul and Kathy Webster who worked on their grilling technique which culminated in hot burgers, dogs and metts and everyone who brought other food dishes, snacks and desserts. Thanks to our good friends who brought some of their students from other karate styles including Hanshi Dwight Holley from Cincinnati, Ohio, Kyoshi Melvin Lewis from Louisville, Kentucky, and Shihan Jeff Thompson from Northern Kentucky Karate Club.


USCK KUMITE ACTION

by Don Schmidt, Renshi

At the risk of writing the same old, same old, regarding the USCK hombu most faithful tournament competitors, I hope your interest is peaked as I report on the most recent tournament action in Louisville, Kentucky at the Shotokan tournament hosted this year by Sensei David Edwards. Sensei Edwards has a dojo in Charleston, Indiana and is associated with Hanshi Dwight Holley of Cincinnati and Shihan Melvin Lewis of Louisville.

On June 10, 2017, the USCK hombu traveled to Louisville. Meiyo Hanshi Dometrich, Kyoshi Kembre and myself attended the tournament. Kyoshi Kembre acted as a coach for competitors Cage and Bailey Spicer. I served as a referee and judge. Hombu student Cynthia Rutherford came to observe on her fellow karateka or maybe she was scoping out the action.

Cage and Bailey competed in team kata against several teams and took home the gold medal in this category. Like last year, they were synchronized like a well-oiled machine. They flowed together, kicked and punched as one and smoothly transitioned through the movements of Seisan kata.


Cage and Bailey for the first time competed in the individual kobudo category. They did quite well considering that they began working on Sakagawa No Kon Sho about a month ago. The irony is that the judges had trouble figuring out which was better because they tied during the first round. In their rematch for the silver medal, they tied again. Therefore, the judges had to vote by flag who they believed was the silver medal winner. The flags were split evenly. The referee's vote broke the tie and Bailey edged out her brother who won the bronze.

     

Individual kata resulted in the same as last year as Cage won the gold and Bailey won the silver. They perform an excellent Seisan kata and are a joy to watch.

     

The results of individual kumite were almost the same as last year. Bailey had her mitts full of a feisty, black belt and it took her three matches (double elimination) to defeat Bailey who ended up with the silver medal. Cage won the gold medal again in his group of competitors.


United States Chito-kai Hanshi Dometrich 5th Memorial Seminar

John F. Wellbrock, Renshi

On March 18, 2017, the U.S.Chito-kai Karate Organization held the 5th Memorial Seminar in honor of William Dometrich, Hanshi at the Radisson Hotel in Covington, Kentucky.

The event was attended by numerous karateka from several U.S. Chito-ryu dojos, and students and friends from the Northern Kentucky Karate Club. Many of those in attendance were also members of the Dai Nippon Budoku Kai.

Sherry Kembre, Kyoshi led the seminar and chose excellent Sensei to assist in the instructions.

     

Sensei Bill DeGrezio led the warm ups, and really got everyone stretched out and ready to train. He followed with a round of solid basics. Eric Ford, Renshi followed with and in-depth analysis of the basic principles of front, side, round house and back kicks. Shihans Lawrence Hawkins, III and Paul Knecht shared their insights on several kumite drills. Next, there was a section dedicated to training on some of Dometrich, Hanshi's favorite Kata.

     

The seminar ended with several circles of karateka doing vigorous repetitions of basic kihon drills, led by the senior Black Belts, as a spirit building exercise.


During each break period, Kyoshi Kembre shared stories and memories about Hanshi that were written by several of the seminar participants.

Barbara Dometrich, Meiyo Hanshi, as always, oversaw the entire program of events.

     

Saturday evening there was a gathering at the Hombu dojo for a pot luck dinner. It was a wonderful opportunity to discuss the day's training, to share food and stories, to make new friends and to visit old ones.

Thank you to all the karateka who helped make the day a great success. The organizers, the leaders, the teachers, and the banquet assistants who all gave of their time and talents.

A special thanks goes out to every karateka who trained hard and gave their best efforts. I'm sure Dometrich, Hanshi was watching and would be pleased and proud of each and every one of you.


Hanshi Dometrich 5th Memorial Clinic

Theresa C. Brandenburger, San Dan

On March 18th, 2017, the Hanshi Dometrich 5th memorial clinic was held at the Radisson in Covington, KY. Kyoshi Sherry Dometrich opened the clinic with remembering Hanshi, her dad, Wm J. Dometrich, Hanshi. She explained that in the kata's there are hidden techniques of Chito-ryu kata, and talked about how important kata is.

Sensei Bill DiGrezio, started with warm ups. After about an hour, we all were ready for a break and our gi's were dripping with sweat. Sensei DiGrezio, you did a great job.

Renshi Ford worked drills with kicks. Front, side back and combinations of kicks working with the bags to make target awareness. Renshi Ford had everyone on the floor to show how your foot should be placed before and after a kick and also he talked about the position of the knee. Very important information. Renshi Ford is fabulous on teaching kicks and the technology of them.

Shihan Lawrence Hawkins, III was teaching different forms of 3 step sparring. Very interesting and very controlled. Side stepping, backing up with side steps, and target awareness which again is very important. Great job Shihan Hawkins.


Then there was the three rings of training in which one student or teacher would be in the middle doing a technique and the others would have to repeat the technique.


Kyoshi Dometrich read some letters that were written by some of the students of Hanshi on how Hanshi had influenced them in their life. Then before the closing of a great event, we all stood and did the 3 bonsai cheers.

To finish the day, at 6pm, all were invited to the Dojo for a potluck dinner and to talk about the day. A great time was had by all, and a big thank you goes out to Okusan for all her hard work. Thank you Okusan.


Kangeiko 2017

S. David Hickenlooper
Yoseikan Anderson Karate School

"Seiryoku Zenyo" was the underlying philosophy of Kangeiko 2017. Renshi Wellbrock introduced us to this saying Friday night after dinner as we were getting ready to go to sleep. Meaning "maximum efficiency, with minimal effort," the practical purpose of this philosophy was to get us to focus on technique, not strength. This would force us to, as Renshi Wellbrock pointed out, "unlearn all that we had learned." This was particularly true for me having played sports that favored strength over finesse most of my life.

This began with our warmups and initial drills. Shihan Messinger was observing all of us and ensuring we had proper form. This is the foundation of good technique. Whether it was the stance, movement, blocks, proper form was demanded from all. He also pointed out how much more powerful the efficient punch, kick, block, etc. was over one that relied on the strength of the individual. Shihan Messinger also noted how we, as Westerners, have a tendency to "live" with our Tanden in our chests and approach our karate (and probably many other things) with too much muscle.

As Kangeiko progressed through to early hours of Saturday morning, we began to focus on a single kata, Seisan, the same kata O'Sensei practiced for seven years. Seisan was pointed out to be a beautiful kata. It is. What we really were learning, though, was the use of technique over muscle through the kata. While Seisan has many parts that are powerful, the power should be generated by the use of technique, maximum efficiency through minimal effort.

At one point, each of us performed Seisan individually in front of the entire group. After which, we were critiqued by everyone, regardless of rank. When my turn came I was still using too much muscle, not enough technique. We had been told the use of technique is really in the mind not the body, however, this is the point at which I really started to make the connection. Even two weeks after I am still having epiphanies about what I learned at Kangeiko.

Little by little it dawned on me that we are doing as much, if not more, mental exercise as physical. It seems there is some degree of ego associated with using strength over technique. For me, I don't want to put words in anybody else's mouth, if one can lessen the control the ego has, the easier it is to focus on technique. The same idea of technique over strength was applied with the practice of wrist releases and the Bunkai of Chokusen.

     

Kangeiko culminated with a run, tea, and pictures. Followed by a wonderful breakfast.


All of us owe a special thank you to Okusan for holding Kangeiko, opening the Hombu to us, and continuing this tradition. Thanks is also owed to Sensei Bill DiGrezio who assisted in the instruction. Additionally, thanks to Renshi Gerald Meade, Shihan Shawna Lingo, Kathy and Paul Webster, Shihan Kevin Drummond who cooked a magnificent dinner, breakfast and lent support behind the scenes.

While Kangeiko 2017 had fewer participants than years past, those who participated upheld the tradition proudly. Traditions are what allow any organization to continue to exist and thrive. Without tradition, we would simply be making things up as we go, repeating the same mistakes and failing to utilize what has been successful. The smaller number also allowed for greater bonding that may not have been possible in a large group. I know this was particularly true for my son, Smith, and I. Kangeiko is one of the events that serves to uphold the traditions of the U.S. Chito Kai. My son and I are proud to have been a part of it.