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 US Chito-kai history pages.

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.


USCK NATIONAL SEMINAR 2016

By: Don Schmidt, Renshi

Another successful celebration of Tsuyoshi Chitose's birthday occurred on October 14 and 15, 2016 because of the preparation and planning by Okusan Dometrich. The success of the event is not surprising because she has been organizing this event as well as other events for years. Yet, each year the event has its unique individualistic planning and complications arise which prevents the event from being an automatic repeat of prior years. As the late Hanshi Dometrich always said, the United States Chito Kai would not exist if it were not for Okusan. The underlying purposes of the event is to celebrate our O-sensei's birthday and to gather as a family to share training time and practice Chito-ryu as Hanshi Dometrich trained us.

     

On Friday night we held our National Test Board for those wishing to test for the ranks of ik kyu through yon dan. This year's test board consisted of Kyoshi Lawrence Hawkins, Kyoshi Sherry Dometrich Kembre, Renshi Don Schmidt, Shihan Kevin Drummond, and Shihan Willie Elliott. The test committee consisted of Renshi John Wellbock, Renshi Gerald Meade, and Renshi Eric Ford and Shihan Shawna Lingo acted as Secretary. Students demonstrated to the test board their knowledge of Chito-ryu by performing drills consisting of kihon, kumite and kata. After the dust settled, the following earned promotions: Eric Ernest, Hombu-yon dan; Alex and Sandra Pacak Yoseikan II-san dan; Richard Rike, Crozet Yoseikan-san dan; Reggie Ward, Ft. Bragg Yoseikan-ni dan; Shawn Brown, Hombu-sho dan; Steven Smith Coleman, Ft. Bragg Yoseikan-sho dan; Matt Cowherd, Hombu-sho dan; Guy Kaiser, Yoseikan Anderson-sho dan; David Hickenlooper, Yoseikan Anderson-ik kyu. Special merit was noticeable by Matt Cowherd, who actually tested for ik kyu, and Eric Ernest who is in the U.S. Army, but comes to hombu and trains at Crozet Yoseikan when time allows.


On Saturday morning, members of the Shihan Kai met to review and discuss organizational matters. After requesting that the USCK co-founder and Chair Okusan step out of the room, an unprecedented motion was tabled that the Shihan kai consider promoting Okusan to the rank of hachi (8th) dan. There is no organizational rule or policy for the Shihan Kai to follow and rank promotions have never been voted on by the Shihan Kai. The Chief Advisor for the USCK and Chairman Emeritus USCK, Lawrence Hawkins, Kyoshi, supported the motion and those present agreed to announce at the banquet that we felt her deserving of the rank hachi dan. Minimally, Okusan knows more about the martial arts than most know, her character is beyond reproach, she continues to run the USCK very successfully, she determines to promote members above the rank of go dan, she determines who has earned titles and, perhaps most importantly, she continues in her quest to spread Chito-ryu karatedo in the manner that made and continues to make her late husband proud.

     

Kyoshi Kembre developed the agenda for the training to keep the entire group together. Shihan Jansak led the portion of the training emphasizing basics. As usual, we had visitors from other styles including special guest Sensei Joe Gonzalez, Hanshi Dwight Holley, Kyoshi Melvin Lewis, Shihan Jeff Thompson, Renshi Almonte Covington, Sensei Monice Covington, Sensei Michael Rodriguez and several other Shotokan practitioners. The kata session was led by Kyoshi Kembre and involved all. If you knew the kata, you stayed on the training deck. Unique to this session was the yielding the training deck to Shotokan karateka who performed Shotokan kata under Sensei Holley's guidance and usually in conjunction the Chito-ryu kata previously performed. This enabled all to see the nuances and similarities of the styles. Sensei Gonzalez provided insightful kumite applications during his session. During the fourth session, the group was divided down the middle and Renshi Schmidt and Renshi Meade taught han ten ho and rin ten ho.


The training culminated in the forming of three circles. Because of their experience with the "spirit circles" one was led by Renshi John Wellbrock, one was led by Shihan Jansak and one was led by Shihan Lingo. Their role was to keep the karateka high spirited through continued, simple combinations as led by the fortunate yudansha selected to take center circle. The circles are designed to create unity, demonstrate good technique, fill the building with kia, make you sweat, and test your endurance. In short, we rocked.

The training ended and the karateka provided bonzai cheer to O-Sensei.

The Saturday night cocktail hour and dinner came as fast as usual. Thanks to Mike Shaefer again, tickets for a beautiful knife were sold and we raised $450.00 to be given in Hanshi's name during the walk for Parkinson's cure. The lucky winner was Rick Hagedorn, husband to Sensei Erin Hagedorn of Crozet Yoseikan. The dinner was delicious as always. Shihan Tony DiTerlizzi provided a marvelous rendition of the year in review. Okusan presented rank certificates to last year's successful karateka who passed their test. She also announced that Renshi Meade and Renshi Ford were promoted to roku dan. Shihan Wes Ernest received the title Renshi. Okusan issued Shihan titles to Carol Hayes, Kathy and Ron Emery and Paul Knecht who train at Yoseikan II. Various awards were presented to those for their contribution and effort throughout the year.


Finally, the moment came to announce the Shihan kai's decision to promote Okusan. Kyoshi Kembre had the honor to tell her mom that she was promoted to hachi dan. The room erupted with thunderous applause as all stood to give her a well-deserved standing ovation. Kyoshi Kembre informed everyone that she was sure that her father would approve and support the decision to elevate the backbone of the USCK to hachi dan.

As it has been said, like the cherry blossom, everything was perfect.


AUDRA 2016

By: Matt Cowheard

I was finally able to block out my work schedule enough in advance, allowing me to attend the annual Audra State Park Chito-Ryu seminar on August 6th, 2016. It also happened to be the first time this year that my wife Lindsey, our two boys, Perrin (7) and Samuel (3), and myself were getting to go camping, so we were all gearing up for great weekend! For the past couple years, I'd missed out, but been jealous with anticipation after hearing tales of workouts, grill outs, the beauty of Audra State Park, and the Middle Fork River running through it. Now we were in our Enclave, packed full of supplies, heading east through Kentucky on 32, at the beginning of our 5 hour road trip to West Virginia!


The drive went by faster than expected and before we knew it we were crossing an old covered bridge into the park as our cell phone service became nonexistent, severing us from the hustle and bustle of everyday life back home, and leaving us undisturbed in nature for the next 48 hours. The campsites were easy to find, as were our fellow karate-ka neighbors. We were directed into our site by Sensei Schmidt and started to unload, but with the threat of rain on the horizon, Sensei Schmidt, DiTerlizzi, and Messinger leapt into action, helping us assemble our brand new tent as well as erecting a tarp above it, offering extra protection from the impending rain. Truthfully, the lion's share of the work was done by them. It was quite impressive and more importantly kind, selfless, and courteous, setting the tone for what was to be a wonderful weekend. Our little "neighborhood" consisted of Sensei Schmidt, Meade, Ernest, DiGrezio and his 6 year old son Liam, Sensei Lingo and her teenage daughter Sammi, a Ni Kyu, and Sensei Messinger with his dog, a male Weimaraner named Shadow. A short time later, everyone went to meet Okusan, some of her family from New York and a few others for dinner at the Hillbilly Grill, a local restaurant. With daylight still to burn, the Cowherds stayed behind, making good use of the river and the inner tubes loaned to us. And thanks to the use of Sensei Schmidt's hot plate and Sensei Lingo's delicious chicken fajitas (topped with a little guacamole), we had a wonderful, Mexican evening "at home"! We were even witnesses to a thieving squirrel, pilfering a sugar cookie from Sensei Schmidt's campsite. Little bugger opened the box, swiped (at least) one whole cookie, and then scaled his tree! After a little more playing in the river and the sand, everyone else returned and gathered around the campfire, chatting. One by one, individuals shuffled off to bed, closing out the night around 10 p.m., "quiet time" in the campground.

     

The rain made good on its threat and poured on the campsites in the early morning, but by rise and shine, the majority of it had passed, save a few sprinkles. The earliest risers of the group shared in a family style, campsite, bacon and egg breakfast, while the lighter eaters (and later sleepers) nibbled on granola bars and fresh fruit. With a little time to spare before the event started, we walked along the river rocks. A short time later, we got into our gi and headed down the road to the grassy workout area, while back at the campsite, Lindsey and the 3 youngsters would begin to have adventures of their own. Gradually, everyone arrived. As is the norm, several Chito-Ryu karate-ka, representing dojo from New York, Kentucky, West Virginia and more, were in attendance, and after combing the field for sticks, trash, and critter poo, we lined up as Kyoshi Hawkins bowed us in. From under a tent off to the side of the field, Okusan, Kathy and Paul Webster, Noriko Rossi and other parents and friends spectated as Sensei Drummond got us underway, warming up with some stretching and a few passes through San Ju Waza. The warm up was followed by some polish and guidance from Kyoshi Hawkins including commentaries on technique uniformity throughout our Chito-Ryu organization. We had a small break, during which we stumbled upon and angered a hive of ground bees. With only one sting so far, we shifted to a safer spot in the field to continue and Kyoshi Kembre ran us through most all of the kata starting at Taikyoku Ichi and working our way up to Chinto and other Black belt kata. We did each kata at least twice, tweaking each time we did it by the count, and stressing timing and staying together as a group when left to do it by one count. I was pleased to have Sensei DiTerlizzi and Lingo offer me some helpful criticism between some of the katas, polishing my technique a bit. Luckily, only a few stings were doled out by the angry insects. I was one of the unlucky few, but during our second break, I learned from Sensei Rike about the juice of the Plantain plant's crushed leaves and how effective it is on stings. There's always something to be learned, even from a bee sting. Sensei Schmidt then worked us on the Sakugawa No Kon Sho and its individual techniques. After another small break and a group picture, Sensei Messinger rounded out the event with some lessons on being smooth and using smart techniques as opposed to using muscle, stopping a full power haymaker punch, evaluating an opponent, and dropping an assailant with as little as two fingers. He also stressed the importance of practicing our best technique at all times. In a real situation, you may only have one opportunity to react and one technique to do it with, so it had better be nothing shy of 100%. Finally, Kyoshi Hawkins bowed us out and we packed up and headed back to the camps to get cleaned up and prepare for the grill out.


Sensei DiGrezio and I went to the beach area across the way, where our boys and Lindsey had been playing in the river and then we all walked back to the campsites, through the park, meeting up with Sensei Schmidt along the way. As the Websters, Cindy Drummond and the Sensei assembled the grill and the smorgasbord of food, the rest of us had fun playing in Middle Fork River, riding the rapids again on the inner tubes, and trying to keep the kids distracted from the sounds of Tex's Ice Cream truck rolling by. Showers were taken and the overwhelming, delicious dinner spread was served as we all found a spot to sit amongst friends, new and old, sharing all variety of stories as we ate. Afterwards a group of us went over to the playground to watch the kids romp and play horseshoes as it got dark, and returned in time to bid Kyoshi Hawkins, Okusan and everyone else not camping "Adieu" for the evening. Our boys were pretty worn out, and as the campsites quieted down, Perrin, our eldest, went to sleep in the tent. The remaining crew gathered around the central fire and chatted about the day. I really enjoyed when Sensei Messinger asked everyone gathered around, from Sammi Lingo to Sensei Schmidt, to name one thing they'd take home from the seminar that day. It was as interesting for me to hear and learn from other's responses, as I'm sure it was for Sensei Messinger himself, and probably why he asked in the first place. Then around 9pm, Liam bowed out and I got out my guitar. I played and sang over the next hour or so.

The next morning the campsites were busy with everyone packing, gathering and cleaning up in preparation for heading to our next destination. From above our tent we returned Sensei Messinger's tarp that he'd been so gracious to lend and said our goodbyes as everyone trickled out. Lindsey, myself and the boys packed our backpack for a morning hike. We walked down to the beach area and followed the trail through the woods, along Middle Fork River for quite some time before turning back. It'd been quite an adventure, but now it was time to dismantle our tent, pack our car and head out. Lindsey made some sandwiches for the road while I packed up the tent and Enclave, and soon we were driving back across that covered bridge, the doorway back into the world, and heading west through Kentucky on 32 for our 5 hour trek home.

     

Audra Park is a beautiful landscape peppered with the soothing sounds of nature and a myriad of critters. It is immense and tranquil, the perfect spot for a Chito-Ryu event, and camping weekend with a group of friends. The campground was fantastic in our little "neighborhood" with the Middle Fork River to the south of our tents and the playground, office and facilities, conveniently on the other side. Before we left, Lindsey already wanted to plan to arrive a day earlier and stay a day later in 2017. One of the many facets of our Chito-Ryu organization that I love is the feeling of family, friendship and respect or courtesy that encompasses the atmosphere, be it at the dojo on a Saturday morning with three students, Audra Park with thirty karate-ka, or our larger events in March and October. Everyone is so eager to share technique or food or a story, sometimes before an introduction! It is comfortable. New acquaintances are made and older friendships season a bit more, strengthening our Chito-Ryu family. I am reminded of a passage from Hanshi's book at his San Kyu test where Ito-san said to him, "We not tomodachi (friends), we kyodai (brothers)."


USCK KUMITE ACTION

By: Don Schmidt, Renshi

On July 30, 2016, the USCK traveled to Louisville, Kentucky to support our friend Kyoshi Melvin Lewis' karate tournament. Kyoshi Lewis practices Shotokan karate and has been a friend of the USCK for many years. He, along with several of his students, have attended our events over the years. Congratulations to Kyoshi Lewis who has been involved in tournaments since 1975 and for sponsoring his last tournament. He is a man of good bushido and has always ran good tournaments.

Meiyo Hanshi Dometrich, Kyoshi Kembre, Renshi Wellbrock and myself attended the tournament. Kyoshi Kembre acted as a coach for competitors Cage and Bailey Spicer who train at the hombu. Renshi Wellbrock and I served as judges. Shihan Hawkins III brought his daughter Leah to the tournament to compete in kata. Shihan Petty appeared to cheer on Cage and Bailey who he taught before his school in Covington came to an abrupt halt several years ago.

Cage and Bailey competed in team kata against a pair of black belts. They were synchronized like a well-oiled machine and won the gold medal. As brother and sister they flowed together, kicked and punched as one and smoothly transitioned through the movements of Seisan kata. Priceless! At least their parents did not have to listen to their kids gripe to one another how the other messed up during the drive home.

     

Cage and Bailey did not let their guard down. As brown belts, they were in the same division and competed against each other in kata competition. Now they went head-to-head and they both performed Seisan. Their concentration and vigorous application placed them first and second. Cage's performance topped Bailey's on this day.

Perhaps it was good that Cage and Bailey were in different kumite divisions to avoid the brother/sister drama that could have made the ride home a bit exciting for their parents. Bailey, as a newly promoted brown belt, had to kumite black belts in her age group. Bailey was undaunted by this challenge because she regularly works her magic on the taller, elder black belts at the hombu. Cage's division consisted of brown belts. Well, they both won a gold medal.

     

They had more gold around their necks than Mr. T.

I was a judge in Cage's and Bailey's ring so I had the best seat as I watched them represent the USCK. Just before their match, the tournament officials decided to use the WKF scoring system and rules to be used during the Olympics in Tokyo. I believe it is referred to as happon kumite which is 8 point match. Briefly, any punch or combination of punches is a full point and called a yuko; a kick to the torso is two points and called a wazari; and any kick to the head is 3 points and called an ippon. My limited Japanese has taught me that by definition wazari means half point and ippon means one full point. I am not sure how the word yuko fits into the counting system.

Tournaments are a good way to polish your skills and to determine what scores and what does not score. More importantly you can meet new friends. Some days you may not turn out as good as you may have hoped and yet other days you might be on top of your game. What is important is that you practice good bushido and do your best and you will always be proud of your actions.

SPIRIT IN THE SKY - SHOSHUGEIKO 2016

By: Don Schmidt, Renshi

Maybe some of you noticed the soaring red-tailed hawk right above our training area during our summer training at Big Bone Lick State Park. It made several passes. Initially, the hawk was brought to my attention by a fellow karateka who I know was thinking the same thing that I thought. My belief is that the spirit of those we loved that have departed this world are nearby watching over us. Needless to say, some cultures place a high respect on soaring birds like hawks. I immediately concluded that Hanshi Dometrich's spirit was in that hawk or his eyes were one with the hawk's eyes. A quick wink to my fellow friend and back to focusing on the training before the hawk gave me a friendly reminder to pay attention to the training. I do know that Hanshi would have been proud to see that the USCK is going strong and carrying on his wishes.

We had great weather once again. The humidity dropped from the previous days and the temperature was in the low 80's. All that sweating and training in the hombu in hotter and more humid conditions made this 5 hour training session seem like a cake walk. But first, we had to survive Kyoshi Kembre's first hour of nonstop drills. If that hawk was aloft during this session along with Hanshi's spirit, it likely was grinning proudly watching his daughter make us sweat. As Hanshi would say, better to sweat on the deck than to bleed in the street.

     

Several instructors were involved in teaching the break-out groups that followed the first hour of training. Kyoshi Hawkins ran through Seisan kata with the black belts. Shihan Jansak taught black belts Sakagawa No Kon Sho as well as a two person bo drill called Bo Tai Bo. Renshi Ford and I taught green and brown belts basic bo concepts and Sakagawa No Kon Sho. Renshi Wellbrock taught green belts Kihon No Empi and Shi Ho Ware. Shihan Ernest taught orange belts their Taikyoku kata requirements. Shihan Hawkins III taught Ni Sei Shi kata to brown and green belts. During the final hour several instructors were involved in teaching wrist escapes (Te Ho Doki) and knife and gun defenses to their assigned group: Kyoshi Kembre and Shihan Lingo had a group of students, Renshi Meade had a group, Shihan Hawkins had a group and I had a group.


As the training was nearing the end, once again Grill Master Paul Webster and his assistant Kathy Webster were working their magic on the grills. Every event has a host of people who help Okusan orchestrate these functions. The event was awesome and the comradery during the picnic was tremendous. Renshi Ford demonstrated courage by challenging the youth during the water balloon fight.

Many thanks to all who participated, brought food and helped to clean up afterwards.

Kyoto 2016

By: Barbara E. Dometrich, Meiyo Hanshi
     

17 members of the Midwest Di Nippon Butoku Kai traveled to Kyoto Japan April 24th thru April 30th to attend the Fifth World Butoku Sai.

One of the highlights for me was watching my daughter Kyoshi Sherry Kembre perform Seisan at the opening of the Seiryuden, it was a proud moment for me and I am sure her father was watching over her.

Many things stood out, I have attended four of the World Butoku Sai in Kyoto, missing in 2012 when my husband passed away. It was a packed week of events and meetings, however there was some down time to shop and visit temples and just soak up the culture. As I had been there on four occasions it was enjoyable to experience the excitement of those that had never been at one of these events or had ever visited Japan.

When the Butoku sai was over on April 30th, eight members of our group extended our stay for three days to sightsee and more shopping.

     

Mr. and Mrs. Morita brother of Mark Morita who lived at the Honbu for 35 years, Mark passed away in 2013. The Morita's live in Tokyo, they came to Kyoto and took all eight of us to a dinner in honor of Mark. Here we are in Japan, and they took us to a Chinese restaurant, they said it was his favorite.

It was a long trip and packed with adventure, many are hoping to attend the 6th Butoku Sai in 2020.


Kyoto 2016

By: Don Schmidt, Renshi

Our 2016 DNBK seminar in Kyoto came and went rather hastily. There is truth to the adage "there is no place like home", but I am ready to go back to Kyoto even though I have made the trek four times since 2002. The aroma, the scenery, the history, the budo and the camaraderie is not easy to let go as I have returned to my normal life-style at home.

     

Sensei Kembre, Ford, DiTerlizzi, Lingo, Levin, DiGrezio, Ward and myself made up the USCK demonstration team. Okusan, Kathy Webster, Noriko Rossi and Sensei Levin's wife Lisa also took advantage of the Kyoto experience. I enjoyed training and demonstrating with the team as well as shopping, touring and the other activities we shared. I particularly enjoyed participating in the excitement of the newbies as we began the DNBK/Kyoto experience together.

     

Unlike 2012, most of the cherry blossoms had finished their season, but the azalea were in full bloom displaying their majestic beauty as were a few latent cherry blossoms. Incense filled the air at the numerous temples and shrines. Some were repeat visits from prior years, but just as enjoyable as the previous visits. There is so much to see and do in Kyoto. I was amazed at the temples and shrines that I was near in past years, but never discovered them. There still remains, numerous areas of the city to explore in the future.

We performed our demonstration in the Butokuden in front of a princess which was a first. Not that there is enough tension when getting on the Butokuden deck, but a member of the emperor's family? Everyone on our team wanted to do their best so we did. Just like a rank test; we cinched up our belts, paid no attention to the viewers and completed our task at hand. Our fortitude was also tested by the cool, rainy day which was augmented by a stiff breeze. Okay, it was damn cold and I was craving warmth, but USCK members stayed in position and watched the performances. I think Hanshi's spirit was aloft in the breeze as it whirled through the Butokuden.

Sensei Kembre, Kyoshi, had the privilege to perform during an opening ceremony at the newly erected (2011) Seiryuden temple. Seiryuden resembles a miniature Butokuden and Jiko Higashifushimi, Sosai of DNBK, is the abbot of this facility as well as the Shorenin temple. Spectacular views of Kyoto were enjoyed from this hill located on a ridge behind the Miyako Westin. This was the official budo dedication of the Seiryuden.

The DNBK training and entertainment were very good. The karate section I was in with Sensei Kembre involved learning bunkai for the kata Saifa. The main instructor was Goju-ryu and assisted by his daughter who had very good basic technique. We also participated in a kobudo clinic. The entertainment after one dinner consisted of taiko drums and traditional Japanese stringed instruments. A choral group sang after the closing dinner. Once again, the entire DNBK function was worth the expense.

Mitsuo Morita, brother to the late Masao or "Mark", came from Tokyo to visit with Okusan and his friends. I was glad to see him and his wife again. He treated his friends to a wonderful dinner consisting of Masao's favorite dishes.

My most cherished memories of the trip are: our friendship, Shorenin at night, Kyoto, and the Miyako rooftop.


Kyoto 2016

By: Reggie Ward
     

Something Missing

I finally made it! I'm done flying for 7 days, 1-1/2 hours. From Raleigh, NC to Toronto, CA, then 12 long hours to Japan. I was so happy in knowing that I didn't have to do this again for a week and I really needed to stretch my back and legs a bit. Once I made it past the baggage claim doors I saw a gentleman in a dark suit holding a sign with four big block letters: "DNBK". As I approached him he smiled then asked if I was DNBK? "Hai", I replied and a lady was there with him as well. She had a list of names. Most of the names were lined out. Maybe 4-5 names were not. She asked if I was USA. "Yes", I answered and with a smile and a great deal of effort she asked "You Mr. War?" I gave her a smile and said "yes". "Ok, please have a seat. We will be leaving in a moment." I sat down thinking I'm in Japan, and that's so cool! About five minutes passed and I started to have this feeling that I'm missing something. Passport...ok, credit cards, drivers license, military ID, all good. So what is it that I don't HAVE?! I was sitting there watching people leave baggage claim and then it hit me: OMG, I forgot to get my luggage after leaving the plane and there was no way that I could to go back though baggage claim. Thankfully, there was someone there who could go back and get my luggage for me and just in time too, the shuttle bus was loading up. What a way to start my first trip to Japan. I hadn't made it out of the airport yet and I just had a mini panic attack!

Buns of Steel

At the start of the Budo Seminar, we lined up "Chito-Ryu, USA". Holding our banner: Kyoshi Sherry Dometrich Kembre, Renshi Don Schmidt, Renshi Eric Ford, Shihan Tony DiTerlizzi, Renshi Shawna Lingo, Gordon Levin, Bill DiGrezio, and myself Reggie Ward. After every nation was present and accounted for, we received a welcome and greeting speech form Tesshin Hamada, Hanshi a very enthusiastic, bold and elegant speaker. He just doesn't talk the talk, he walks it too! He then introduced the DNBK Honbu Board of Directors and then the instructors along with what style they train in. I think there were a couple of demonstrations after Mr. Hamada's words, perhaps not; the days went in a blur. At some point we were grouped by Dan rank. I was the only Sho Dan from our group, and the Sho Dan group was quite large. We had four instructors; the tallest was maybe 5'-11". He was the oldest and the boss. I had no idea what anyone's Dan rank was, and it was really of no importance anyway since I was there to learn. I was thinking I'm not sure if we will be learning a physical technique, how to move, how to breathe or perhaps something less tangible. Maybe I'll learn how to focus, how to dream or maybe how to live. Oh well, I'll find that out sooner or later! The other three instructors were about my size in height, about 5'-9". We started out with light stretching and the focus of the training was Basics. A review of stances was first up followed by punching. Two things I found surprising: first was how high the fist was placed at the side, very high up on the rib cage. I had a problem keeping my fist that high and had to be adjusted a couple of times, but what was really surprising to me was the stance we were in, shiko dachi, a natural stance for me and a few others, but most were really having a problem locking in and locking down. I try to feel the back of my heels, base of my neck and tailbone in-line. Next up was kicking. Special attention being made by the smallest of our Yudansha on use of the hip to penetrate through the target and not sweeping up on the front kick and using the ball of the foot as the striking surface with the toes pulled back. "Toes to the nose" my teacher is fond of saying. After kicking drills were finished we moved back to stances and we worked this one pretty good, a lot longer than the first round. Everyone was instructed to step forward in Sanchin dachi. Right or left side didn't matter. Each instructor went around checking stability, balance and ki by slapping down on the shoulders, kicking the thighs and light taps on the belly and chest. My turn, a young karateka stopped in front of me and said "Sanchin". "Hai" I replied. My right foot forward in my best sanchin and double-block with the hands trying to fall in the stance. Sensei looked at my body in thirds; my right side, left side and then the middle. He kicked the inside of both feet motioning for me to step forward. He hit my shoulders pretty good, he slapped my butt and then my thighs then he stepped back and said "Good. Ok." Sensei then took a step closer and waved his index finger as to make a special point about something. He turned his back to me. His right foot was forward in Sanchin and then he started speaking to us (none of our instructors spoke English and there was only one Japanese speaker in our group and he was being pulled everywhere) but you could still understand the points he was making. He started pushing his hands down making striking gestures to his shoulders, hips and butt and he looked over his shoulder at me. Ok...I got it...he wants me to hit him, so I do, and when I hit him that young man turned and faced me and gave me the "LOOK". We all know what the look is. We get it from our parents, teachers and wives. He said something in a low but angry voice. Now the rest of the teachers and students from our group are watching us. Well in about 5 seconds we are going to find out if I interpreted Sensei's actions properly. I struck down on his shoulders, hit his calves and then his hips. Ok, here we go, I took both hands and slapped his butt and I think he wanted me to give him a little squeeze so I did. OMG! Hard ass! LOL! "WOW", was all I could say. I didn't think that you could make your butt that hard. Sensei faced me once more and said (waving his finger again) "Good Sanchin" while pushing his palms down again. I said "Low". The youngest of the four senseis said "Hai. Low. Hai". That reminded me of something I hear often from my teacher: "Mind and body low".

The one moment that stands out the most for me was the performance by a Frenchman as he performed kata without his teacher who was his partner for the demonstration. From what I understand, his teacher passed away suddenly and to honor his teacher, he performed alone. He was to my right, in front and I had a very good look at him. There were maybe four other teams on the Butokuden floor, but I promise you, most eyes were fixed on the Frenchman! It was a jiu-jitsu demo I believe, and the way he was able to bend and twist his wrist as if he was being controlled and do the break falls as if he was being thrown. It was a very powerful moment for me and one that I will never forget.


More Kendo please. This was my first kendo match, although it was more like a short demonstration, but still very cool and more archery as well. One more thing, no more bento boxes!


Hanshi Dometrich's 4th Memorial Clinic

By: Don Schmidt, Renshi

On March 12, 2016, the USCK celebrated Hanshi Dometrich's life during our annual March clinic as we continue to support his wife and his karate organization. Once again Okusan planned and orchestrated this event keeping the tradition alive.

Kyoshi Kembre prepared the itinerary for this year's event. Members of the Shihan Kai were given assignments and the training began with tenacity. Kyoshi Kembre started off with basics emphasizing how important it is to have good technique especially good posture. Hanshi's spirit was guiding his daughter through her vigorous drills. Some of Hanshi's "hanshiisms" came to my mind like "if your nose is before your toes, it goes." "The better your basics are, the better your kata will be." Thus, always show good basics so whenever someone is watching you with legitimate karate knowledge, they will know that you come from a quality karate organization.


After the hour of basics, we were broken down into groups by rank. I was in a kumite session and the instructor talked about the importance of good posture as we engaged our partners. I could hear the instructor of the beginner students who were next to me tell them how important it was to have good posture and to breathe from their abdomen. Another hour passed and training continued with different instructors. I was assigned to practice with those who were going to Japan for a DNBK event. However, during a pause in our practice I heard the instructor across the room, who was teaching proper kicking technique, tell his group the importance of posture and breathing when kicking.


My hour of instruction followed. I was teaching the entire group Sanchin kata. I emphasized that breathing and posture are the most important elements to this kata. Before I knew it, my hour of instructing was over and the clinic was coming to an end. Time flies when you are having fun. We finished the clinic with Kyoshi Kembre leading the entire group through the kata created by her father-Chokusen.

In my opinion, breathing and posture are the most important physiology elements to our karate training. It was not rehearsed; nor did Kyoshi Kembre tell the instructors to emphasize posture. The theme came naturally as the instructors attempted to teach students how to improve their technique. Our power is generated from our hips, but without proper breathing from the abdomen in lieu of the chest our balance will be affected and our center of gravity is higher. Proper breathing will also improve your posture because your hips will come forward as your pelvis rotates back. We must practice these things diligently and continue to get better.


The training was over and we congregated back at the hombu where members of the USCK and their families and friends shared the bounty of food that once again was delicious. We are family and together we can carry out the traditions established by the founders of the USCK.


USCK NATIONAL SEMINAR 2015

By: Don Schmidt, Renshi
     
USCK National Seminar Group Photo       USCK Board of Directors Meeting

On October 16 and 17, 2015, the USCK held its annual celebration of O-Sensei's birthday by holding a National Test Board on Friday and having a clinic and banquet on the following day. This auspicious banquet was celebrated at the Radisson Inn by about 95 participants. Okusan's planning and hard work in organizing this event was reflected in the success of the entire weekend.

On Friday night Shawn Brown, Tasha Payne, Brian Cobb, Guy Kaiser and Jake Solomon passed their test for ik kyu at the hombu in front of the National Test Board consisting of Kyoshi Lawrence Hawkins Jr., Kyoshi Sherry Dometrich Kembre, Renshi John Wellbrock, Renshi Eric Ford and Shihan Bill Jansak. The test board was enamored by the performances of Tasha Payne and Jake Solomon so the test board decided to jump them to the rank of shodan. Jumping rank is highly unusual by the National Test Board so, in the words of Hanshi Dometrich, "they had their ducks in order". Zach Bowling and Zach Locklear tested for shodan and they passed. Skip Collier passed his sandan test and Shihan Willie Elliot passed his godan test. Thus, Friday night came to a successful conclusion.

     
Kyoshi Dometrich Kembre emphasizing good basics
     
Brown and black belts performing Passai kata       Renshi Schmidt teaching Passai kata

Following the board meeting on Saturday, the clinic was attended by about 77 karateka. Segments of the clinic included warm ups and kihon techniques led by Kyoshi Dometrich Kembre. She emphasized that basics were the foundation of all karate training. The second segment was led by Renshi Ford who instructed the group on proper kicking techniques. Students worked hard throwing front kicks, side kicks, round kicks and back kicks emphasizing the importance of the hip in delivering powerful kicks. I led the third segment of training by teaching Passai kata to brown and black belts emphasizing good basics, breathing and proper kata execution. The final segment was led by Renshi Gerald Meade who taught kokyu or breathing technique when one is encountered by an assailant. Sensei Meade demonstrated wrist escapes, arm bars, take downs using basic blocking motions and Chito-ryu footwork we describe as rinten-rinten and tsuke kachi. Sensei Meade also linked his techniques with possible bunkai applications for Passai kata.

Beginner and novice students were separated from the more advanced students during some of the segments mentioned above. Renshi John Wellbrock, Shihan Kevin Drummond, Shihan Bill Jansak, Shihan Willie Elliot, and Shihan Shawna Lingo shared teaching assignments with those in the initial stages of their learning process.

As usual, the festivities culminated with the banquet on Saturday night.

Renshi Schmidt presents the custom made knife and display box
to the raffle winner, Shihan Stith-Deck

Sensei Mike Shaefer, maker of fine knives, donated a custom made fixed-blade knife in order to raise money for the fight against Parkinson's disease. The handle was made from bamboo flooring used for the hombu's floor. We raised $500.00 which will be donated to Steady Strides Foundation that helps the fight against Parkinson's disease during next year's walk/run-a-thon in Hanshi Dometrich's name.

Shihan Tony DiTerlizzi, maker of fine videos, presented the year in review that was fabulous as usual. The video clearly demonstrates what we did together as an organization or family. It is your support of our clinics and events that define what we are about. We as members of the USCK are fulfilling Hanshi Dometrich's dying request for us to continue to support the USCK and his wife.

Okusan orchestrated the dinner for us to enjoy. Savory fish, chicken and steak were the choices that were accompanied by delicious side items. Presentations followed the dinner. Sensei Michael Messinger earned the title Shihan. Sensei Ron Eagle has been testing since last October without his knowledge and he earned the rank of shodan in Chito-ryu. James Sorrell earned the rank of shodan because he falls in line with Hanshi Dometrich's saying that he would rather have 1000 students with good heart rather than one with great technical abilities. Various other awards were given to those who gave extraordinary assistance to Okusan or the USCK during the last year. Those who passed their rank tests from the following year were given their certificates. Likewise, certificates were given to those members of the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai (DNBK) who ether became members or registered their rank or title with the DNBK.

Bonzai cheers for O'Sensei and Hanshi Dometrich

The weekend events came to a close with a roaring thunder of bonzai cheer directed to O-sensei followed by a second round of bonzai cheer directed to Hanshi Dometrich.

Although the weekend was a USCK national event, we had support from several members of other karate organizations. Hanshi Dwight Holley and some of his members, Renshi Melvin Lewis and some of his members, Shihan Jeff Thompson and some members supported the weekend of events.

Thanks to everyone for their contribution and support.


DNBK Butoku Sai Virginia Beach

March 27, 2015
By: Don Schmidt, Renshi
     

A group of DNBK members went to Virginia Beach on March 27, 28 and 29 to train with friends and DNBK members during the momentous celebration of the Butoku Sai. On Saturday, our Chito-Ryu group demonstrated our style by honoring Hanshi Dometrich's performance of Seisan kata at the Butokuden in Japan 2008. From my vantage point, we were in sync in that every technique was together and crisp. Hanshi Holley's Shotokan group had a sharp performance as well and were not distracted by the hype of the moment. I suspect that Hanshi was gazing from above, with his arms crossed just like in "the picture", proud of our separate performances. This proud moment was nothing as compared to how he must have felt about what happened on Sunday.

On Sunday, Hanshi Hamada called Okusan forward and bestowed the title of Meiyo Hanshi on her. Hanshi Hamada told Okusan that she now sits along side of her husband. The room erupted with applause and a standing ovation. I imagine that Hanshi Dometrich was busting with pride and likely had a tear of delight in his eye. I know I did. Meiyo Hanshi basically means an honorary teacher who can serve as a role model to all. The person with this title has studied the arts for most of their lifetime and has a true understanding of the arts. In case you have not noticed, Okusan does have a very keen eye for good technique and she understands martial arts other than karate. Several years ago Okusan became the first non-Japanese female to receive the title of Kyoshi through the DNBK. Now she is the first non-Japanese, female to receive Meiyo Hanshi title through the DNBK. I would say that it is appropriate to refer to her as Hanshi Dometrich.

     

Simultaneously occurring with the Butoku Sai was Hanshi Hamada's "Gasshuku" training. I am not going to divulge all the secrets of what the training was about. Suffice to say it is hard core and challenges one to the nth degree. For example, one morning before sunrise we were in the surf on the beach for 40 minutes or longer when it was 30 degrees, 25 mph wind and water temperature of 38 degrees. My feet were purple and they cursed that cloud that seemingly moved in tandem with the rising sun that extended our stay in frigidness. It was a nice sunrise! How cold was it? There were icebergs in the wash basins that we had to step into to remove the sand before entering the hotel.


In true DNBK fashion, the evening banquet was tremendous. The camaraderie was wonderful as was the dinner; a five star event in my opinion that also featured entertainment. I cannot say enough good things about the evening.


Hanshi Dometrich's 3rd Anniversary Memorial

By: Don Schmidt, Renshi

On March 14, 2015, we celebrated Hanshi Dometrich's life in accordance with Japanese custom. The Japanese typically have memorials for their loved ones on or near the first anniversary, third anniversary, fifth, seventh, ninth, thirteenth and further into the future. His spirit was watching and I am sure he was proud to see 90 plus karateka carrying out his dying wish that we continue to support his wife and his karate organization. Okusan planned and orchestrated this wonderful celebration of his life. We always have a seminar in March to celebrate his birthday so it was fitting that we trained in remembrance of his passing on March 22, 2012.

     

Sensei Devorah Herbst was responsible for the lovely flower arrangement at the kamiza which included a lone, red carnation that has special meaning. The red carnation represents a reminder to remember Hanshi. Most of us who knew him remember him in our own special way. Not necessarily because he taught us Chito-ryu, but mostly because he was a good man. I am sure you have fond memories of your relationship with him that may include some scary moments.

After bowing in, comments were solicited from those in attendance and then we were submerged into training. I am sure Hanshi was saying to himself during the comments to just shut up and start sweating.

     

Sensei Paul Knecht began the training with his rendition of how important basics are for more than just blocking per se. Fortunately, he had a little assistant that kept him focused. Sensei Knecht led partner drills using a standard block to control an opponent in various holds.

     

I followed with a spirited session of Chito-Ryu basics emphasizing the importance of stances and technique as Hanshi has taught us. The session ended with the performance of the kata Hanshi first learned-Zen Shin Ko Tai.

The third session involved rank separation in order for students to perform rank-related kata. Sensei Hawkins, Sensei Kembre, Sensei Wellbrock and I were responsible for our specific groups. "Make them sweat" echoed in my ears to the sound of gi snapping and kia filling the training area.


The final session brought the group together and Sensei Kembre finished the tribute to her father by leading the group in Chokusen kata. About 1967 Hanshi created this kata using traditional Chito-ryu stances to resemble a police officer in a hallway confrontation.

     

The training was over and it was time to socialize at the hombu. Karateka gathered in remembrance of Hanshi and to enjoy the fine food that was brought by many.

Thanks to everyone for their contributions. It is you that make the USCK what it is.


KANGEIKO

By: Bill DiGrezio, Honbu Dojo

As I reflect back on Kangeiko 2015, peace-of-mind continuously dominates my thoughts. Kangeiko is the intense mental, physical, and spiritual winter training that requires both rank of greenbelt (or above) and at least 16 years of age to participate. Reflecting back on my 4th Kangeiko participation; why are sweat and pain not coming to mind? Instead peace is at the forefront of my thoughts.

Peace continuously enters my mind because time stands still. The pressures and focus on the "outside world" are nowhere to be found. We are taken back in time, to a place where clocks and agendas are not important and the only thing that matters is training. The Honbu dojo amplifies this sensation. The school is adorned with kanji and pictures of past masters who have trained there years before. Most notably Hanshi and O'Sensei pictures are front and center, gazing upon the future of Chito-ryu. The peace consumes you, and one can wonder if we are truly training in Covington, KY or Shuri, Okinawa.

L to R: Shihan Kevin Drummond,
Renshi Eric Ford

The pressures of the world were on hold as we made our way down the deck in Zenkutsu-dachi for the seventh (or was it tenth) time. We paid homage to the JKA (Japanese Karate Association) basics of Kokutsu-dachi and Kiba-dachi too. Sensei Drummond focused on the slight nuances of transition from Gedan barai to Gyakuzuki in Zenkutsu-dachi.


We focused on our Chito-ryu stances and foundational techniques as well. Seisan-dachi, Uchi hachiji dachi, Neko ashi-dachi, Kosa-dachi and Shiko-dachi were all covered nicely. With shivering arms and legs the 1100th technique was ordered out by Sensei Ford.


The training stopped, the 35th anniversary of Kangeiko winter training was complete. It was over before it began and we were re-acquainted with reality at the speed of life. Kangeiko is not only physical stamina, mental endurance, and spiritual strength in the dojo. More so, Kangeiko is about forging your character outside the dojo. Refining your spirit to overcome whatever life might throw your way.

It was a true honor and blessing to have trained beside fellow karate-ka of the Honbu, Fort Bragg Yoseikan, Anderson Yoseikan, and Bridgeport Yoseikan dojos and to receive superb instruction from both Sensei Ford and Sensei Drummond.

Thank you to Okusan for opening the Honbu dojo year after year to support the timeless tradition of Kangeiko. Osu!


FINAL FAREWELL TO A KARATE LEGEND

By: Don Schmidt, Renshi
L to R: Okusan, Kay Tsuruoka L to R: David Chung, Romualdo Ferri, Okusan,
Kyoshi Sherry (Dometrich) Kembre, Renshi Don Schmidt

On October 24, 2008, I had the pleasure of writing a story about my trip to Toronto with Hanshi and Okusan to celebrate O-Sensei Tsuruoka's 50 years of teaching karate. (See Newsletter, Volume I, 2009). On November 22, 2014, I returned to Toronto with Okusan and Kyoshi Sherry Kembre to celebrate the life of a legend. Things have changed since 2008; most noticeably the passing of Hanshi Dometrich and O-Sensei Tsuruoka. What has not changed is the friendship or family relationship between the Dometrich and Tsuruoka families that began in 1963 when Hanshi went to Canada for a tournament and finally met the "terror of Kumamoto". It was my honor to be able to drive Okusan to O-Sensei Tsuruoka's memorial service that occurred about a month after his private, family funeral.

Before the service began as we walked across the lobby after breakfast, we ran into Sensei David Tsuruoka who immediately recognized Okusan. David was ecstatic to see her and hugs were exchanged by all. He told Okusan that his mom will be so happy to see her.

L to R: Okusan, Kyoshi Sherry (Dometrich) Kembre,
Betty Mochizuki
L to R: Okusan, Shane Higashi

Upon arriving in the banquet room where the service was held, Mrs. Kay Tsuruoka hugged Okusan for at least 5 minutes. I stood in the shadows of these two giants as they hugged reflecting on their contributions to martial arts and realizing they were sharing yet another common bond; the loss of their husbands. Mrs. Tsuruoka was the glue that held O-Sensei Tsuruoka's organization together. Many of his senior students commented on this fact. Hanshi Dometrich often said that the USCK would not have developed like it did had it not been for his wife. The two men-Tsuruoka and Dometrich-were responsible for introducing Chito-ryu karate to mainland North America. Hanshi Dometrich started teaching in mainland USA in 1955 and O-Sensei Tsuruoka started teaching Chito-ryu in Canada in 1958. In 1967 O-Sensei Chitose asked Hanshi to start the USCK. Both have publicly recognized that their organizations would not have developed as they did had it not been for their wives.

Mrs. Tsuruoka's and Okusan's relationship has as many similarities as the training regimen of O-Sensei Tsuruoka's and Hanshi Dometrich's. Kay was helping her husband build his Canadian organization and when O-Sensei Chitose asked Hanshi to start the USCK, Okusan turned to Kay for guidance and advice. As history has shown, they were instrumental in creating two very successful karate organizations. As the years passed, the families often got together at tournaments, visits, or other training events. Perhaps O-Sensei Tsuruoka and Hanshi are together again training or exploring technique ideas as they often discussed.

L to R: Okusan, Monte Guest L to R: Renshi Don Schmidt,
Kyoshi Sherry (Dometrich) Kembre, Cezar Borkowski,
Okusan, Chris Dilberto

As for the memorial service, speeches were touching and from the heart. Sensei David Tsuruoka was moved by the large presence of maybe 500 well-wishers. Okusan got to talk to a number of her acquaintances such as Sensei Shane Higashi and Sensei Christopher Johnston, Monty Guest, Betty Mochizuki Romualdo Ferri and many others. A large picture of O-Sensei Tsuruoka was displayed which fortuitously contained Hanshi. The picture was taken in the sixties, in Chicago. Okusan did not have a large copy. At the end of the memorial, Cathy Tsuruoka (David's wife) gave the picture to Okusan. It was another sincere moment.

That evening one of O-Sensei Tsuruoka's students Sensei Martin Hung got a group of other sensei/students together and took us to dinner at a Chinese Restaurant, in Chinatown. We had a good time mingling and were appreciative of their hospitality.


AIKIDO AND CHITO-RYU

By: Don Schmidt, Renshi

Our monthly black belt class had a unique visitor as Kyoshi Dometrich informed us before the scheduled class in November. The visitor was Sensei Walter Oka and if you google his name you will find several sites that will introduce you to him. Most notably, as a youngster he was living on a hillside near Pearl Harbor and witnessed the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941. In his interview, he describes the attack with great detail. You will also learn that he joined the U.S. Army and served the country with distinction. You can also find a video or two of his Aikido training that provides examples of some of the techniques we witnessed/practiced during our black belt class.


Sensei Oka used the full two hours to explain Aikido, techniques and demonstrate the art using some of his fellow students. He told us that "Ai" means harmony and "ki" means energy and "do" is way so Aikido is the way of harmony and energy. I cannot describe all his techniques, but it was a wonderful opportunity to work his drills and see how closely related they are to numerous techniques we use when we practice Chito-ryu. Personally, I have locked into my brain two or three new techniques that will help me in applying wrist escapes, controlling an attacker and weapon disarming. Our curriculum of Chito-ryu is a complete martial art that involves more than blocking, punching and kicking which is of course what we are best at. Here are some similarities described and performed by Sensei Oka.


Sensei Oka emphasized that his art concentrates on using the attacker"s energy to your advantage and to take the attacker"s balance. We practice these ideas when doing the kaisetz, henshuho, weapon defense, tsuke kachi applications and rintin rintin applications. He taught some wrist lock applications; some very similar to our te ho do ki and others were new and different. Yet, the basic concept was use your hip and core energy and not muscle the technique. I am sure you have heard this before and if you were in the class this probably came easy for you. I recognized other techniques that he performed as bunkai moves that I associate with certain moves contained in our kata. Another idea he emphasized is how he gets off line of the attacker or slips the attack which is the same as our taisabaki.

Sensei Oka arrived early on Saturday to watch our regularly scheduled class and was impressed with how some of what we do is closely related to his art. I was equally impressed with his art and his ability. I did not mention his age, but hopefully you google his name and find out for yourself.

For those in the class, hopefully within a few days of the class you got with a partner and tried to perform, one or two of his techniques. Remember, if you wait too long after a class to practice a new idea or technique, you will have more difficulty in recalling what you did.


Hanshi-ho Dwight Holley's Invitational Karate Tournament

By: Don Schmidt, Renshi

On October 18, 2014, the USCK sent a contingent of competitors, referees and judges to Hanshi-ho Holley's tournament to support our Shotokan friends. Kyoshi Barbara Dometrich arrived shortly after closing the hombu after Saturday's classes. Upon entering the tournament she was given accolades from Hanshi-ho Holley.


Kyoshi Beshears, Shihan Hawkins III, Sensei Carol Hayes, Sensei Ron and Kathy Emery, and Sensei Sandra and Alex Pacak worked as corner judges. Renshi Don Schmidt and Renshi John Wellbrock were referees, while Kyoshi Kembre coached the competitors from the hombu. Kyoshi Hawkins Jr. Esq, Shihan Petty and Sensei Evelyn Hill paid a visit to support the tournament.


Sensei Bill DiGrezio won a bronze medal for kata. Matt Cowherd won gold for kata in the beginner adult division. The youth brought home some hardware; Bailey S. won bronze in kumite and her brother Caige won a silver for kata and a bronze medal in kumite. Bailey, Caige and Ben S. entered team kata for the first time and won the silver medal; demonstrating very good technique and power. Donavan L. from the Yoseikan II won a silver medal in kumite. The competitors, referees, spectators and judges enjoyed themselves and are planning for next year's tournament.


Annual October Clinic and Banquet 2014

By: Don Schmidt, Renshi

I always look forward to the week that we celebrate O-Sensei Chitose's birthday mostly because I know how much he meant to Hanshi Dometrich and because we get together as a family. Unfortunately, this year's event began with the news that Hanshi Dometrich's "big brother" O-Sensei Masami Tsurouka passed away. It is a fact that Hanshi Dometrich and O-Sensei Tsurouka introduced Chito-ryu karate to North America. These two legends are no longer with us, but perhaps their spirit was present.

On Friday night we held the annual National Test Board during which karateka tested for ik kyu through go dan ranks. The test board consisted of Kyoshi Hawkins, Kyoshi Kembre, Kyoshi Beshears, Shihan Ernest and Shihan Deck. All karateka did well during the test; one withdrew because of a reoccurring injury.


The clinic on Saturday involved about 78 highly energized karateka that began with warm-ups by Sensei Kathy Emery. The program for the clinic was designed by Okusan in an effort to keep lower ranks in the mix with the higher ranks. Kyoshi Kembre led the training with a good session of Chito-ryu basics. She emphasized that everyone needs to work basics and the higher ranks need to lead by example. Renshi Schmidt taught Sanchin kata to all emphasizing to keep the core, abdomen, or tanden, area tight by pressing the abdomen toward the belt knot. Kyoshi Beshears followed with a review of certain drills that often appear at the National Test Board.


Kyoshi Hawkins taught Niseshi kata emphasizing the details of the moves as well as the breathing pattern.


Renshi Ford taught the Niseshi kaisetz to all. I enjoyed working with a young orange belt, Holly Mozer, and even though she had never done them, she did well. Kyoshi Beshears had the floor again to teach some kumite ideas.


At the end of the clinic I led Sanchin kata again, but this time there was no talking. A unique silence filled the room when we finished the kata. However, the room was soon in a roar when banzai cheers were directed three times each to O-Sensei Tsurouka, Hanshi Dometrich and O-Sensei Chitose.


The banquet, as usual, was a wonderful way to finish the day. About 90 people attended including Hanshi Holley from Cincinnati and Renshi Lewis from Louisville. A few formalities and then it was off to the banquet line where beef, chicken and salmon were the main choices. I had a number of people tell me that the food was the best ever. It was very good and I returned to the chow line for more salmon. Kyoshi Kembre emceed the event and had a humorous presentation with the year in review as well as how a karateka should pack when traveling.


Hanshi Hamada with the DNBK International Division sent his greetings through a letter read by Hanshi Holley. Notably, Kyoshi Beshears received the rank of 7th degree blackbelt. Sensei Lingo was awarded the title Shihan and several DNBK members received their certifications. As the banquet ended, once again we honored O-Sensei Tsurouka, Hanshi Dometrich and O-Sensei Chitose with banzai cheers.


Shochugeiko

By: Chris Brueckner

Shochugeiko, the mid-summer training event for the United States Chito-kai was held on Saturday, July 26th, 2014. For all of the years I've attended the event it has always been held at Big Bone Lick so there's a certain welcome familiarity with approaching the park, seeing the signs posted near the roadside and pulling into the already well filled parking lot.

This year however I arrived a little later than I wanted and had to jog down to the bathhouse to change into my gi and then jog back to the pavilion. As I checked in, I said an abbreviated hello to Okusan (due to my lateness) and then joined in with my fellow karateka already policing the workout areas for anything that may be unpleasant to step on in bare feet. Since I seldom walk through the grass without shoes, the feel of the morning dew on my feet was refreshingly out-of-the-ordinary and added to the "specialness" of the upcoming day.

The sky was overcast, the temperature was warm and the humidity was high. As we lined up to bow in, a very light drizzle began. Kyoshi Sherry (Dometrich) Kembre briefly discussed what we could expect during the next few hours and then asked each Shihan to introduce him/herself. I wish I had done the addition right then in my head as each Shihan told us how long they have been training in Chito-ryu. I'm certain the total added up to several hundred years of combined experience. As the introductions progressed down the line, I could only imagine the training sessions with O'Sensei, the trips to Japan and the many excursions to train or compete at widespread and scattered locations across the U.S. and Canada. It was great to see that although Hanshi is no longer physically with us, his spirit lives on in the many Shihan, yudansha and mudansha that formed ranks in front of his portrait.

As the rain continued, we quickly went through a warm-up session and then into basics. The ground was pretty slick by this time and I found it excellent conditions to be mindful of my stance. We moved, blocked, punched and kicked our way through the first session of training led by Kyoshi Sherry (Dometrich) Kembre. At times we stopped long enough to focus on a few technical points and as always I tried my best to absorb and apply what was being instructed. In what seemed like no time at all, the first session was over and we all headed over to the pavilion for a break and a chance to rehydrate.


After the break, the group was broken down by rank and split off into separate areas to train on different things. My group focused on both sport and street kumite led by Kyoshi Gerald Beshears. Time flew by as we worked on moving using our core and then paired up to further apply what was being taught. The final exercise involved everyone one-by-one moving through a gauntlet of attackers. There is no better way to get reacquainted with old time friends as you move down the line and if you're lucky you get to "reach out" and make few new friends. All done in the spirit of learning of course.

The next session began as the sun was finally peeking out from the clouds. Shihan Lawrence Hawkins III explained that we would pair up and work on a practical application of a move or series of moves from either Chinto or Sochin. We were given some time at the beginning to discuss with our partner and then have a chance to do a couple of run throughs. Each pair then had the opportunity to share their bunkai with the group, answer questions and walk around and instruct as the other pairs tried it out. All-in-all it was a fun experience to see the different ideas of others and to have the opportunity to "try them on" for yourself.


As I headed to the last session which was wonderfully located in the shade of some large trees, the grills were just getting lit in preparation for the upcoming picnic. Under the leadership of Renshi Don Schmidt and Renshi Eric Ford, we paired off and began working on various knife defense techniques. I was the attacker first with an overhead knife attack to my partner Sensei Reggie Corbett. He stepped to the side and then proceeded to rip my arm off at the shoulder. Not really, but I know I was tapping out long before I had expected to. By the end of the session, the grills were going strong and the smell of hamburgers, hotdogs and brats filled the air. All of the separate groups reconvened where we started the day and performed Chokusen, Hanshi's kata, prior to bowing out.

After the training was over, it was time to relax in the shade of the pavilion and enjoy the food. Everyone brought something to share and the desserts were plentiful. The picnic is like a big family reunion and it was great to have a chance to catch up with everyone.


Indians and Early Settlers Knew Shiko-dachi

By: Don Schmidt, Renshi
L to R: Samantha Lingo, Shihan Barbara Tarczynski, Sensei Shawna Lingo
Kyoshi Barbara Dometrich, Kyoshi Sherry (Dometrich) Kembre, Renshi Don Schmidt

Now that I have your attention, I know what you are thinking. How do I know about the subject title of this article? Bear with me while I explain a recent encounter Okusan, Kyoshi Sherry Kembre, Shihan Barbara Tarczynski, Sensei Shawna Lingo and daughter Sami, and I had with Indians.


On Wednesday during Shochugeiko week, we took a ride to Chillicothe, Ohio through Shawnee Indian territory of yore. We had tickets to see the outdoor drama "Tecumseh!" which is a play about the life of the Shawnee Tecumseh. We got there early to take a backstage tour and an Indian and a settler showed us the theatrics of stage fighting. They faced off and dropped into shiko-dachi as the Indian actor explained the importance of having good balance when they encounter each other. A murmur about the stance started among the 6 of us. The actor began to explain his strikes and how important muscle memory was to deliver the appropriate technique. More murmur from the 6 Chito-ryu practitioners in the tour group. Finally, the actor explained the importance of good target awareness and the recipient of the blows explained proper breathing for his safety. After they scuffled for a bit, the actor asked the group if we wanted to see more fighting and the 6 of us raised our hands. The rest of the group must have thought that we were heathens.

L to R: "Tecumseh", Sensei Shawna Lingo, Samantha Lingo

The play is really good. The facility is in the outdoors that adds to the adventure and has a cast of horses. Because settlers, Indians, the U.S., French and British did not get along very well in this era of American History, there are loud rifle and cannon reports that fill the area with gunpowder smoke. The facility has a gift shop and a wide selection of t-shirts. All 6 of us bought Tecumseh! shirts and wore them the following day. I think I caught the bug of buying t-shirts from the Florida trip I wrote about.


However, we did not fill the trunk with t-shirts. The following day we went through Amish country in Ohio. Thank goodness we had two cars because we did fill the trunks with Amish goods especially bakery items. Sami found a cache of Nancy Drew books at another stop we made and her mom found a treasure chest of jewels. Kyoshi Kembre found an Elvis album that had him sporting the Chito-ryu pin on his lapel. We also stopped at Serpent Mound which is worth a visit and where Okusan bought another t-shirt. It was a great two-day adventure.

L to R: Sensei Shawna Lingo, Kyoshi Sherry (Dometrich) Kembre,
Samantha Lingo, Shihan Barbara Tarczynski

Arriving home, I dropped my jar of Amish beets on concrete and my Amish cinnamon bread disappeared. Not happy about my beets, I wondered "who moved my bread". I went on the proverbial warpath to find my bread. The aroma remained in the trunk, but no bread. It was later found in another area of the car. Fortunately, no scalps were taken during my search for the bread.


Okusan's Adventure

By: Don Schmidt, Renshi

In mid-June 2014 Okusan took a much deserved vacation that included stops in West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee. While the starting date and destinations were planned, there was no set return date. Travelling without a "must be back date" made the trip even more enjoyable for Okusan, Kyoshi Kembre and me. Here is a summary of our automobile excursion. So, buckle your seatbelt for the ride which was never bumpy.

On June 11, we hit the road in a Corolla and headed for Crozet, Virginia to visit a newly established USCK Dojo operated by Sensei Jack Little in a YMCA. Travelling to Crozet, we drove by the famous Tamarack in Beckley, West Virginia. The Tamarack is a rest stop on steroids and where Okusan's t-shirt buying craze started. The Tamarack has gifts featuring artisans from West Virginia and a good selection of t-shirts and other souvenirs. It is also a good place to eat. One can chose from a variety of delicious lunches such as pan-fried mountain trout, pork tenderloin, baked salmon, fried chicken and chicken pot-pie. The desserts are fabulous. Our bellies full and t-shirts secured in the trunk, we headed east to Crozet.

L to R: Sensei Richard Rike, Sensei Jack Little, {},
Kyoshi Barbara Dometrich,
Kyoshi Sherry (Dometrich) Kembre,
Renshi Don Schmidt
L to R: Sensei Richard Rike, {}

We were welcomed in Crozet by severe thunderstorm warnings and tornado warnings, but we were on time for Sensei Little's class. Sensei Richard Rike is assisting Sensei Little and he received several calls from students who were staying home because of the tornado warnings. In any event, Kyoshi Kembre and I taught class. Afterwards, we were off to dinner at a local brewery/restaurant where another t-shirt was bought and placed in the trunk.

Standing L to R: {}, {}, Shihan Warren Pochinski, {},
Kyoshi Barbara Dometrich, Kyoshi Sherry (Dometrich) Kembre,
Renshi Don Schmidt, {}, {}, {}, {}, {}

On June 12, we headed south-southeast to Fayetteville, North Carolina to visit Shihan Pochinski and his USCK Dojo at Ft. Bragg. I was still trying to digest the food I consumed from the previous day when Tu's fine cooking welcomed us. On June 13, we visited the Airborne Special Forces Museum. Several t-shirts were purchased here and room was made in the trunk. On Friday, June 13, Kyoshi Kembre and I were back in our gi teaching Sensei Pochinski's class of enthusiastic karateka.

On June 14, we were heading southward towards Orlando and Disney World. The following day, we walked around Epcot and spent most of the time at the Japanese attraction. Go figure! All kinds of stuff was purchased at the Japan site including more t-shirts. In the days to follow we visited the Magic Kingdom and the Animal Kingdom where more t-shirts and stuff were purchased. Have you noticed how well Disney stock has been doing? At Animal Kingdom, thanks to Sensei Gordon Levin's suggestion, we went to two theatre productions: The Lion King and Finding Nemo. At the Lion King, I was one of four selected from the crowd by the Lion King to perform. I had to do an elephant impersonation.

We left Disney World on June 17, with a trunk that was bursting.

Kyoshi Kembre's son Dylan is a coach of a 14-year old girls' volleyball team and his team beginning on June 17, was in the AAU tournament in Orlando. This is a tournament on steroids compared to the AAU karate tournament you are familiar with. I think there were 1000 teams participating most of which were in a humongous convention center in Orlando and sponsored by Disney. Our accommodations on June 17, were at Shihan Jamie Binkley's house where more good cooking by Mia awaited us. We off loaded our luggage which made the trunk look spacier even though there were numerous bags of stuff. The next several days were spent watching volleyball where there were booths set up with merchandise including souvenir t-shirts. Okusan purchased more t-shirts as did Kyoshi Kembre and these items were placed in our seemingly more spacious trunk.

L to R: {}, Sensei Gordon Levin, Kyoshi Barbara Dometrich,
Kyoshi Sherry (Dometrich) Kembre, Renshi Don Schmidt, {}

On June 18, we visited Sensei Gordon's dojo. No t-shirts here, but Kyoshi Kembre and I taught class that included his adult students Antonio and Tehri. They are planning to come to Shochugeiko with Sensei Gordon.

Shihan Binkley took us to an area of Orlando where the Naval Training Center was located until 1992 when it closed. It is now a residential area complete with shops and restaurants. Shihan Binkley drove us to this place for lunch in her BMW. She parked as I was texting my brother who did basic training at this site in 1974. I finished my message and attempted to get out of the passenger door, but I was locked in as Shihan Binkley had just shut her door. I quickly noticed that the door lock was recessed in the door panel, the door handle did not pop the door open, and I had no auto door unlock on my door panel. As the others walked to the middle of the street I shouted "HEY"! BMW boasts about its quiet ride so my shouts were unnoticed. I tried the horn, but to my surprise a BMW's horn does not work when the motor is off. My travelling companions kept walking. I thought for sure someone would miss me as I watched them walk about 50 yards to the restaurant. Nope! I guess their ki energy was not working because nobody turned around. I looked at the driver-side door panel and there was no door unlock there either. An eerie feeling settled in as I realized that I could not get out of the car on the hot day typical of Florida. This was crazy because I know there had to be a way of unlocking the car from the inside. I decided that a text message to Kyoshi Kembre would do the trick. Nope! She kept walking towards the restaurant. I watched her in front of the restaurant as she noticed that I was nowhere in sight. She went to her bag to text me about my whereabouts and finally noticed my message. (So you know, the door lock/unlock switch for her BMW is in the least obvious position-near the center air conditioning vent. C'mon! )

L to R: {}, {}, {}, Kyoshi Barbara Dometrich, Shihan James Acampora,
Kyoshi Sherry (Dometrich) Kembre, Renshi Don Schmidt
L to R: Shihan James Acampora, Kyoshi Sherry (Dometrich) Kembre,
Renshi Don Schmidt, {}, {}, {}

On Thursday, June 19, we went to New Smyrna beach on the Atlantic. New Smyrna is a quaint area with a street full of vendors. More t-shirts and other souvenirs were purchased. That night we visited Shihan Acampora's who has his dojo in his backyard. Kyoshi Kembre and I assisted him in testing two students for yellow belt. One student was his wife Rosa and the other was Wonder Woman. Well at least she reminded us of Linda Carter. While their fate of passing or not lingered, I shared a Hanshi Dometrich story in order to watch Shihan Acampora's back in case he voted to flunk his wife. I told Rosa and Wonder Woman (Natalie White) that Hanshi flunked his wife, who was watching the test, and his daughter so do not feel betrayed if they do not pass. I reminded Shihan Acampora that Hanshi said that he had to eat bologna sandwiches for a week. His students unanimously passed their yellow belt test. After the test, Kyoshi Kembre led a session on Chito-ryu basics and kata.

On June 20, after watching more volleyball, Shihan Binkley took us to Wakiwa Springs State Park. Crystal clear spring water fills the ground area where people swim. Okusan recalled that a Tarzan episode was filmed at this location. He must have killed all the alligators because none were present. What was present? More t-shirts.

On June 21, we somehow got everything in the trunk and proceeded north. Somewhere near Ocala we stopped for gas at a typical Florida stop featuring citrus, pecans, and of course souvenirs. More t-shirts were purchased and added to the trunk. Our gas mileage was shrinking, but we made it to Chattanooga, Tennessee to see Rock City. We were in a haven for more souvenirs and t-shirts because Lookout Mountain, Georgia, and its famous incline were nearby along with several Civil War battle sites. On June 22, we saw Rock City and walked its labyrinth of stone pathways. By 2 p.m. we had walked far enough and got in the car for the journey north. We were dogged-tired. A little quick thinking and it was decided that we should stop at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

While in the Smokies on June 22-23, we drove through the park, we visited a wine making facility where we had a few samples and we visited some gift shops where more t-shirts were purchased.

Thanks to everyone we visited in making this a memorable vacation. You were the highlights of the trip.


The Youth Get Their Kicks

By: Don Schmidt, Renshi

Kata and kumite competition for youths ages 5 to 16 was held at Kyoshi Hawkin's dojo on May 17, 2014 during which approximately 35 competitors tested their skills. Hanshi-ho Holly from Cincinnati, Renshi Lewis from Louisville and Sensei Downard from Fairfield brought Shotokan competitors to the tournament. Sensei Lingo from Yoseikan Anderson brought a group of competitors and the hombu was represented as well.


Kyoshi Kembre was at the tournament to be the coach of the Hombu youth. Renshi Schmidt, Renshi Wellbrock and Shihan Petty were there to assist in refereeing/judging the spirited event.

 

Cage S. and Ben S. competed in the same age bracket and Cage came in first in kata, second in kumite while Ben came in first in kumite and second in kata. Matt R. was in the 14 to 16 year old group and finished second in kata and third in kumite. Alex R. came in third in kata as did Bailey S. Maria S. and Christian were in their first competition and received special participation medals.


Dojo Visits

By: Don Schmidt, Renshi

Retirement is great for me because among the other things that keep me busy I have more time to occasionally visit a dojo. In April 2014 I was able to stop by Sensei Gordon Levin's dojo in Orlando, Florida and Shihan Warren Pochinski's dojo in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Sensei Levin has a dojo in the John H. Jackson Community Center and has students of all ages. On April 9, 2014, I was able to assist Sensei Levin in testing two yellow belts. Antonio May and Tehri Hendry were subjected to some drills and of course their test kata. They were able to earn their orange belts. Hopefully, they keep training and pursue their goal of earning a black belt in the future.
On April 10 and 11, 2014, I visited Shihan Pochinski. I was fortunate to be able to move during the class on Friday, April 11, because his wife, Tu, is an excellent cook and she went out of her way to try and fatten me up. Shihan Pochinski's dojo is located on Ft. Bragg and he provides a service to enlisted personnel and their families. His students continue to show improvement in their basic techniques.
I look forward to visiting dojo and look forward to returning to train with fellow karateka. When training, strive for perfection of character as well as technique and remember these words Hanshi Dometrich put to song:

Chito-ryu patch upon their chest,
These karate students are world's best.
Many join, but it is true,
Only the best become Chito-ryu.

Dai Nippon Butoku Kai Kensho Kai

By: Barbara Dometrich (Okusan), Kyoshi
Yoseikan Honbu
On March 22nd, 17 members of the Midwest division of the DNBK traveled to Norfolk Virginia, to participate in the Kensho Kai memorial seminar on March 23rd. On Saturday evening after checking into the hotel, the Chito-kai members met with Captain Eric Ernest of the U.S. Army, his wife and mother for a late dinner at one of our favorite seafood restaurants in the area, Surf Rider. There were ten of us and it was nice to spend some time with Eric who is member of the honbu dojo now stationed in the Norfolk area. Later that evening after returning to the hotel, the Chito-kai team located a spot in one of the hallways to go over preparations for their demonstration on Sunday at the Kensho Kai. At that time the Hotel lost power and our team as well as several others from various parts of the East coast practiced in the dark.

Sunday morning we were expected at the training site Granby High School for a meeting with Hanshi Hamada at 9 am. I was to meet with Ms Baylor at 8 am. After a quick breakfast we assembled at the high school gym. After opening ceremonies the demonstrations began. From the Midwest we had the U.S. Chito-kai team and Kyoshi Holley"s Shotokan team. The Chito-kai was first up on the floor, then Sensei Holley"s group. All together there were at least ten groups demonstrating various martial arts. Spirit training came next, then those who were to be certifying their ranks were asked to come to the floor and partner with other members to defend themselves against a knife. Lastly, came the announcements of those who were certifying, and new titles for members were announced. From the Midwest group, Kyoshi Holley was elevated to Hanshi Ho and Melvin Lewis from Louisville was elevated to Renshi. Those who are to be certified will be announced at a later ceremony.
The Chito-kai team was awarded the Hanshi Dometrich Cup of Excellence; this was the third one that has been awarded to the Chito-kai team for 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Following the closing ceremonies in which Kyoshi Sherry Dometrich Kembre was selected to perform Seisan Kata, a luncheon was held with Hanshi Hamada and the Shihan Kai in a private dining room. He spoke about the future of the DNBK and the other events coming up in Virginia Beach from March 25-29th, 2015 as well as the Butoku Sai coming up in Kyoto in 2016. Information will be sent out accordingly as time gets nearer.
As soon as the luncheon was over, the group that I was traveling with (Sherry Kembre, Shawna Lingo and Don Schmidt), headed out to Crozet Virginia which was three hours away from Norfolk. Jack Little and his wife Debbie had a dinner party for us as we passed through. Jack has just started a Chito-Ryu class at the YMCA in Crozet under the banner of the United States Chito-kai. The next day we headed to White Sulpher Springs to tour the Greenbrier Hotel. If you have never stopped there, do so, it is fantastic. There is history attached to the place. Moving on toward Kentucky we stopped for lunch at a casino in West Virginia and hit the slots. I actually came out $26.00 ahead! From there we stayed on track and went on home.

It was a great two days packed full of activities, meeting and training with friends from the DNBK, taking care of Chito-kai business, and just having a great trip being together. Forgot to tell you that on our way to Virginia Shawna was driving and received a speeding ticket! Of course we reminded her about it every chance we got. The moral of the story is there is no better way to bond with people than to take a road trip together.

Harugeiko & Hanshi's Birthday Celebration

By: Mark Moser
Yoseikan Anderson
Well that was absolutely amazing. On Saturday my family and I attended our very first karate clinic in celebration of Hanshi's birthday. I have to admit I did not know what to expect...

My wife Kristin, my daughters Laura and Molly (10), and my son Brady (7), and I all began studying Chito-Ryu under instruction from Sensei Shawna Lingo at Yoseikan Anderson Karate School in September of last year and decided to attend the clinic as a family. The clinic was held at the Radisson in Covington Kentucky on March 15th, 2014. The event was described to us as a four hour clinic of karate followed by a pot-luck dinner at the Hombu. It sounded like fun but it also sounded like a lot of work. The clinic was particularly special to me because my brother Roy who has been studying Chito-Ryu for years was also going to be there. I could learn from him and we would get to train together.

The event started at 11 o'clock. People came from all over the country including West Virginia and Florida. Other forms of karate were also represented as well, not just Chito-Ryu. Altogether there appeared to be about 100 people attending, about half of whom were various degrees of black belt. As mighty yellow belts, it was clear that we would have many people to learn from during this clinic.
 
We started with warm-ups and deck drills. For deck drills we did repetitions of 79 in celebration of Hanshi's 79th birthday. 79 punches were followed by 79 kicks which were followed by 79 blocks, etc. My legs were a bit tired during the break but it was a good tired. We then moved into kata. We practiced the basics, which for my family and for all, as it was explained, are the foundation upon which we develop the good techniques and practices used throughout karate. Taikyoku Ich, Ni, San, and even Yon were all practiced multiple times.
 
During Taikyoku Ni, Shihan Meade was practicing to my left in line. As a new yellow belt this is a form that I am still learning and Shihan was so fast with his movements it was dizzying. He sympathetically offered to slow down, which was very kind, but it was too late; I was awestruck. His speed and precision were absolutely amazing! The higher-level kata were just fun to gain exposure to and try to keep up. Again, my legs felt a bit "rubbery" after this session. It was good to know that we were really working our bodies.

We then moved into attack, counter attack practice with varied combination movements. It was here that I got to train with my brother from the Hombu and with Owen from my Dojo. Renshi Ford also joined us for a period.

The next thing I knew I looked up and it was 2 o'clock with only one hour to go. During this hour Shihan John Wellbrock and Kyoshi Hawkins instructed the lower ranks on kumite while the black belts studied in another part of the room. For our part, it was a mix of proper sparring form and real world street fighting techniques. My sparring partner was a young brown belt named Matt from another Dojo. It was fun to work with Matt and to get to know him and to learn from him.

Before I knew it the clinic was over. It seemed far too short in my mind. We finished with the higher ranks performing Chokusen in honor of Hanshi.
That night was the pot luck dinner at the Hombu , where we were graciously welcomed by Okusan. The atmosphere was casual and friendly. It was fun to talk to members of our own dojo and their families in a less formal setting and also to meet students from other dojos. We all ate our fill and sang "the Ballad of Chito-Ryu" which was written by Hanshi to go with the tune of the Ballad of the Green Beret. It brought back fond memories of the family reunions we used to have when I was a child. Meeting long lost family and meeting new people to whom you know you have a connection has a certain magic about it.

Altogether the event seemed to be a smashing success. Thank you to Okusan for hosting the event. I can't wait for the clinic in the fall. I might admit I was a "little" sore the next day, but who really needs to go up and down steps anyway?

Kangeiko: A Stronger U.S. Chito-kai Through Shared Adversity

By: David Hickenlooper
Yoseikan Anderson
As I reflect on my first Kangeiko, I realize I could write a great deal about any number of things. What stands out in my mind, though, is the overall benefit of such training to everyone involved. This benefit was physical and mental. It is often said the bonds forged through a shared adversity are stronger. I believe this is the case this past weekend. It has also been observed when the bonds between the members are strong; it makes for a stronger organization.

I arrived at the Hombu around 8:00 p.m. and found the main gate locked. I couldn't help thinking this was the first test, getting inside. Fortunately, Renshi Wellbrock was kind enough to point out the other gate and show me to the side entrance. Once inside I was welcomed warmly with good food and conversation. I was a little nervous but more excited about my first Kangeiko. As I entered the kitchen, I immediately recognized many faces, including my Sensei, Shawna Lingo. Others were there from my home Dojo, Yoseikan Anderson, as well. I also saw many people from previous clinics and events. After stowing my gear, I got something to eat and was able to speak to people, look at all the photos, and hear the incredible stories behind them.

After our briefing, we went to bed, although, I really didn't sleep but rather drifted in and out. I heard the alarm go off at 2:30 a.m. and really just wanted the training to start. Shortly before 3:00 a.m., I got my wish when Renshi Meade, officially, woke us up. It was colder on the deck than when we went to bed but we all got up quickly and turned to getting ready for the day.

In less than fifteen minutes we were on the deck bowing in. Our Kangeiko was now underway. We were advised not to go all out in the beginning. I am glad I heeded this advice, six hours is a long time. Starting with kata, we focused on using the best form and technique. This was important because we then moved into the application of the kata for self defense. As one of the lower ranking participants, the kata and techniques progressed beyond my level of training. This pushed me out of whatever "comfort zone" I had perceived at that point in short order. That, however, was o.k. we were all in this together. I believe it was Renshi Wellbrock that said in the beginning "today we are all Sensei" meaning we will all help each other through, learn from each other and come out of Kangeiko as better Karate Ka. That is exactly what happened. I received great instruction from everyone with the focus of getting to the point of performing the kata or technique to the very best of my ability.

As our training continued into the early morning, the challenges became greater. Physically, we had been at it for a long time and our endurance was being tested. Six hours is a long time to do anything (an average person runs a marathon in four to four and a half hours). Moreover, the mental challenge came in the form of learning and then immediately performing all the new (to me) techniques and continuing to focus while becoming more fatigued. I remember seeing Okusan come by a couple of times to see how we were doing.

After the sun came up, we got our shoes and went for a run in the wind and snow. Led by Shihan Janzak calling the cadence, we pushed through the snow and ice. Amazingly, it did not feel nearly as cold as I had expected. That was up until I stepped off a curb hidden by the night's accumulations and went face first into four inches of fresh snow. At that point there was only one thing to do, get up and keep running. After some pushups outside the side door, we came back in, got a picture, and returned to the deck to finish our training.

After bowing out we had hot tea which tasted really good at that point. Some very profound things were said at the end of training. Particularly, the comments that karate doesn't alleviate fear and pain but it teaches us to accept and deal with it, stands out in my mind. I also found the discussion about the Samurai approaching stressful situations by clearing their minds so there are no expectations or distractions useful inside and outside the Dojo. Shihan Janzak pointed out stress is often brought about when something unexpected happens. If there are no expectations there is no basis for the stress, if there is no ego there is no basis for insult. After getting cleaned up and changed, Okusan had breakfast waiting for us. After working that hard, it tasted really good.

Coming away from Kangeiko I had a sense of accomplishment. Not in a selfish or self serving way, but, in a way of having done something significant with others. In fact, this sense of accomplishment is only attained with the help of others. Each one contributed and each one benefited from this training and each other. The six hours of training seemed to pass quickly. I read an article that stated many use Kangeiko to test themselves under adversity or renew their commitment to the art. I was a little sore and very tired but I now understand the sense of renewed commitment and of accomplishment as well as the new bonds that have been forged during Kangeiko.

Kangeiko 2014

By: Bill DiGrezio
Yoseikan Honbu
 
It was the night before Kangeiko and we were at the Honbu,
Spaghetti was served with smiles and dessert too.
Karateka were told of history, tradition and strive;
Soon to be training in Kangeiko 35�
The still and silence of night broke with a light,
And the sound of clapping wood at great might.
We jumped from our sleeping bags, and in a moment we knew,
that we were all here at the Honbu.
Without a minute to lose, and no sound in the air
Our gi's went on, without a minute to spare.
A warm up with Renshi Meade, and training through and through,
we covered basics, kata, and kumite too.
Throwing and break falls for hours on end,
until the sun peeking through the window, signaled the end �
But it was not over yet, you see my friend;
There was a 6-block run we had to attend.
The run was over, but Shihan Jansak replied,
"It's time for your pushups, before you go back inside."
The snow was deep and still falling from the sky
As we all hit the deck, with an "Oss!" in reply.
The training went fast, quickly 6-hours went by,
Enjoying every minute, with karateka by my side.

Kangeiko 2014

By: Guy Kaiser
Yoseikan Anderson
 
This was my first Kangeiko and if you would ask me, "Should I go, is it worth it?" I would answer Yes! to both.

Of all the karate related events I have attended this has been the most rewarding. What I found there were the best people I've trained with, all of them helpful and knowledgeable. And the program was not a sort of sadistic frozen meat-grinder as some might have imagined, but a very thoughtful well-planned work-out of drills, kata and applications.

We started with warm-ups then multiple repetitions of Sanju waza, and with everything we began slowly working up to speed. The first kata, if remember right, was Shiho-wari, then many more kata and applications. Someone pointed out that the emphasis that day was mostly sen no sen, a defensive attack. Maybe it was, I was just concentrating on the basics.

I qualified to attend Kangeiko by age all too easily but at 6th kyu only just qualified by rank. I want to thank Sensei Shawna Lingo for having instructed me to a point where I did not feel lost and could make the most of my time there. I also want thank Rensi Meade, Renshi Wellbrock and Shihan Jansak for putting together an excellent Kangeiko, and of course Okusan for making it possible. And thanks to everyone I trained with that day.

As for sleep, my only personal dread about attending, I had no trouble whatsoever when it was over.

KAGAMI BIRAKI

By: Sherri (Dometrich) Kembre, Kyoshi
Yoseikan Hombu

 

The Midwest DNBK celebrated the New Year with Kagami Biraki training on January 11th. Students from the United States Chito-kai, Cincinnati Shotokan and Northern Kentucky Karate Club were in attendance. While photos of Hanshi Dometrich and Dr. Chitose watched over the students, the class began with warm up drills and beginner kata. The student's demonstrated the effort that was always expected of them.

The highlight of the day was the instruction of three kata to demonstrate various performance line and technique. Naihanshi kata was taught by Kyoshi Gerald Beshears. Students were directed in the lateral movement of the kata as well as a few application maneuvers. Kyoshi Dwight Holley of the Cincinnati Shotokan Dojo instructed everyone in the kata Hakaku. This kata demonstrates very soft and precise movement. Several applications were demonstrated with quick effectiveness. The third session was conducted by Kyoshi Lawrence Hawkins Esq. of the Cincinnati Yoseikan II School. He gave everyone the history of how the kata, Taikyoku Yon was established in the late 1960s by Hanshi Dometrich. The performance line of this kata is similar to the shape of a plus sign. Many of the techniques in this kata are demonstrated in other Chito-ryu kata such as Chokusen, Kihon no empi and Sochin. This kata while named a Taikyoku kata which is typically are katas introduced in the first years of a person's training has such a variety of techniques and stances that this kata would do well to be practiced for a mid-level testing. The Taikyoku yon will be covered this March at the Hanshi Dometrich March Seminar on March 15th.


KUGIMIYA SENSEI

By: Don Schmidt, Renshi
Yoseikan Hombu

 

Back in 1973, as a karate student at Thomas More College, I was thrilled that the karate class was invited by Hanshi Dometrich to come to the hombu and the clinic for the opportunity to train with O-Sensei Chitose. I was an orange belt at the time and I did not want to miss this opportunity to see a 10th dan and the founder of the style of karate that I was studying. O-Sensei brought Kugizaki Sensei with him from Japan. Kugimiya Sensei, who had moved to California, came to Covington to assist his teacher, O-Sensei. That was a while ago. Bear with me as I explain the significance of Kugimiya Sensei's visit in 2013.

Okusan told me a few days after Kugimiya Sensei's visit for our National Seminar on October 12, 2013, that Kugimiya Sensei has similar traits to O-Sensei more than any other Japanese she has seen train. Okusan has a keen eye for martial arts and of course trained in Chito-Ryu for years. She trained with O-Sensei and a number of his students including Kugimiya Sensei. Her knowledge of Chito-Ryu and other martial arts should not be under estimated.

Most of those who attended the 2013 national seminar never had the opportunity to be taught by O-Sensei. However, if you were in attendance, you were subjected to a treat even if because of your rank you had no clue what Kugimiya Sensei was teaching. Kugimiya Sensei was taught by O-Sensei and as Okusan claimed that he, being Japanese, has the most resemblance to O-Sensei. Therefore, the 2013 national seminar may have brought you about as close to training with O-Sensei as you can get. While watching Kugimiya Sensei, I could not help reflecting on my memory of training in the presence of O-Sensei in 1973.

Kugimiya Sensei is 66 years of age. In 1971-1972, he visited the hombu as a guest of Hanshi and Okusan. He lived with them for a while and later moved into the dojo apartment. He taught many classes during that time. He reflected back on those years and what he did and had many questions about who's who now. One important reason for his coming was that he wanted to visit Hanshi's grave site which he did on Sunday.

 

The seminar training began with Kyoshi Kembre running drills emphasizing Chito-Ryu basics. We did a amount of kicking drills and Kyoshi Kembre emphasized the importance of the front kick to be directed at the level of the belt knot, the importance of extending the foot so that the ball of foot reaches the target first and to use the hips to kick into the target. Well, some of you must not have been listening because Kugimiya Sensei was watching and felt the need to emphasize with visuals Kyoshi Kembre's instructions. He jumped up and asked Kyoshi Kembre for a minute to address the students. He promptly showed everyone what can happen if you sweep your kick, kick too high or do not extend the kick into the target. You end up on your butt!

Kugimiya Sensei taught the next training session which included the kata Seisan and Ryusan. He included bunkai applications with the kata moves. I know that some of you were lost, but it should not matter because hopefully one day you can reflect back in time perhaps when you learn the kata and remember the moment. Kugimiya Sensei also taught some taisabake defensive moves. Maybe you were one of the lucky ones who he used as a demonstration partner.

 

Following Kugimyia Sensei's session, the group was separated into belt-rank divisions. Kata training began in earnest. Kyoshi Hawkins taught black belts several advanced kata beginning with Chinto. Kyoshi Beshears taught green belts and brown belts their specific rank kata and Shihan Deck taught the beginner and novice karateka.

 
Shihan-kai

During the last segment of the seminar, I taught the entire group Chokusen kata. Chokusen was created by Hanshi Dometrich in 1966 and is a kata that we regularly perform in memory of him. He was a police officer so he developed the kata to relate to a police officer involved in a confrontation in a hallway. Later, Kugimiya Sensei told me that he liked the kata Chokusen because it had good balance like Seisan. Kugimiya Sensei said that Seisan means thirteen and has been written to mean "correct balance". His meaning of balance is that the right side and left side of one's body gets equal training as opposed to balance meaning erect or steady stance.

The seminar is only one third of the national test, banquet and seminar. On Friday night, several students tested in front of the National Test Board consisting of Kyoshi Hawkins and Kyoshi Kembre, Shihan Meade, Shihan Ford and Shihan Binkley. Shihan Hawkins and Shihan Deck from Yoseikan II earned the rank of godan; Shawna Lingo from Yoseikan Anderson earned the rank of yondan; Ken Bassett, hombu, and Reggie Ward, Yoseikan Ft. Bragg, earned the rank of shodan; and AJ Ordillas from Yoseikan Ft. Bragg earned the rank of ik-kyu.

The banquet was on the 16th floor of the Radisson that provided fine food and a beautiful view of Cincinnati. It is the culmination of the entire weekend of events, or perhaps the entire year, when we relax, enjoy a little beverage, reacquaint friendships and celebrate O-Sensie's birthday. Greg Smythe from Yoseikan Rochester and Gladstone McKenzie from England (not present) were also introduced as test candidates who earned the rank of shodan. The following rank and titles were earned and issued to the following:

Don Schmidt, Rokudan/Renshi
John Wellbrock, Rokudan/Renshi
Gerald Meade, Renshi
Eric Ford, Renshi
Tony DiTerlizzi, Godan
Warren Pochinski, Shihan
Greg Morris, Shihan

Thank you for making Okusan's hard work a huge success. I enjoyed the camaraderie we shared during the entire weekend.


Yukinori Kugimiya
Speech October 12, 2013
U.S. Chito-ryu National Banquet

Good evening everyone! My name is Yukinori Kugimiya. I want to thank you for inviting me to this wonderful birthday celebration in Honor of Dr. Chitose, O-Sensei. I specially want to thank Okusan, Barbara Dometrich for inviting me.

Dr. Chitose was my teacher. He was born on October 18th 1898 and finished his journey in 1984.

On the year 1966 in Japan, I was 19 years old. I went to a gym to do some exercises. There I met sensei Masaru Inomoto, who was at the time a military Officer. At that time, I was a judo student. Sensei Inomoto invited me to come over to his karate class as well as being a military man. I did it! I joined his karate class and joined the military.

Sensei Inomoto introduced me to Dr. Chitose at his military karate class. I was soon taking classes 3 times per week and practicing during the weekends at his home. O-Sensei was teaching me a Chito-ryu Karate style. Its old name was Kempo Shorin ryu.

I would like to tell you about three incidents about O-Sensei, first of all, when you shake his hand it was soft as cotton. On the other hand when it comes to practicing karate his hands and arms become hard as steel. Dr. Chitose knew many ancient techniques. One of them when somebody wants to attack your groin area, he did a mysterious movement and that was sucking in the "vital part" so that he cannot get hurt. At first I was surprised but when he demonstrated this technique to us, I was truly amazed. This shows how different the ancient masters are than the modern karate teachers. Also when a student gets their finger jammed Dr. Chitose would pull out his handy bicycle tube, wrap it round the jammed finger and would pull on it until the pain goes away. These are two interesting things that I will never forget about Dr. Chitose. Another day, O-Sensei took us to buy a makiwara lumber, which is a piece of wood to practice punching and kicking with. He told us to be aware of the pattern on the makiwara board. The smoother type is stronger than the other types of makiwara. These examples show you the wisdom and experience that O-Sensei had.

In 1969 I was selected to be part of the group representing The Japanese Military at the Osaka World Expo in 1970. It is a spectacular fair that marked Japan's re-entrance into the world's mainstream economy. In this fair I met many people from different countries from all over the world. We performed in the Canadian and Mexican pavilions.

Dr. Chitose realized that this was an important opportunity and insisted the team to train hard for the expo. Then I decided to move to America in order to teach Dr Chitose's karate style, Chito-ryu.

In 1971, I flew to Los Angeles, California. I was living with my sister Masako. I started working as a Japanese Landscaper. I started to teach at a Japanese Cultural Center and at a Buddhist Temple.

In 1973, Dr. Chitose and Kugizaki Sensei came to visit me in California for a week. We went to Kentucky for the US Chito-ryu Karate Tournament the tournament was held at Northern Kentucky University. The tournament was a great success.

In 1978 after a car accident I met Buddhist yoga Minima. He showed me the wonderful world of Yoga. I studied under his teachings foe more than 15 years.

In the 1980's I met another Yoga Master Santsubagh Khaksa, He showed me a different kind of Yoga from the Phunyab in India called Kundalini Yoga. For many years I have been teaching at the Japanese Cultural Center every weekend.

Also I have been teaching Yoga at the San Bernardino Senior Center and still working in Japanese Landscaping, In October 2012, I decided to study at the Bodden Institute for Yoga to become a registered experienced Yoga Instructor. That is when I realized the important balance between Yoga and Karate.

Finally I quote Dr. Chitose, Chito-ryu Karate-do is, regarding physiology, is to make physical strength to make peace and patience, spirit through practicing Karate-do, Protect Japan and make peace of the world, this is the spirit of all sensei's in Chito-ryu karate-do.

I want to thank everyone for coming and for having me here. Happy Birthday O-Sensei.

Audra State Park, West Virginia 2013

By: Bill DiGrezio
Yoseikan Hombu 

 

The Bridgeport Yoseikan annual training was much more than training for me; it was a first time experience. It was also a chance to get-to-know my fellow Chito-ryu karateka. I had the opportunity to ride with Sensei Collis for about 5 hours and received a karate history lesson of the training, trainees, and teachers of our recent past. The travel was soon over, and we made it to Audra. We unpacked and setup the campsite. Sensei Drummond reserved great spots at a bend in the river. The first night ended with a camp fire and stories, all the while anticipating tomorrows training.

The next morning began with a cool breeze and fresh air! Unprepared for breakfast, Sensei Drummond and Messenger offered for us to join them...now this is something you will have to experience first-hand! We enjoyed Sensei Drummond's secret recipe pancakes and the thick bacon Sensei Messenger fixed. The breakfast was ample and hardy, just right for the day's training.

It was a picturesque morning, and prior to the training we took a short hike along the river. Before long it was time to turn back and get ready for training. The sun peeked through the branches of a large maple tree at the eastern edge of the park. There was a slight breeze and the roaring of the Middle Fork River behind us. The training focused on stances, tai sabaki, self-defense, and kata. The training was thorough to say the least! I have grown to love and appreciate yet, ultimately expect topnotch training from our organizational seminars. The students of the Bridgeport Yoseikan trained well. They performed self-defense techniques with the utmost confidence and knowledge. Osu! Kata training was enjoyed by all, and the seminar concluded with Hanshi's kata Chokusen.

 

For the campers, we returned to the campground for a post training swim. This is by far the best way to cool off after 4 hours of training! That evening Sensei Drummond and Sensei Messenger hosted a fantastic barbeque. The best part of the Audra State Park karate seminar is that the seminar did not revolve around karate - it revolved around the people who train in karate. Thank you to both Sensei Drummond and Sensei Messenger for being gracious hosts. I am looking forward to next year!


A Bone to Pick

By: Jim Sorrell
Yoseikan Hombu 


Big Bone State Park, Kentucky, was picked for the 2013 Shochugeiko, held Saturday, July 20th.  I left I-75 at the Richwood Exit; one sign showed me was going in the right direction. For a long time (no GPS) I wondered if I were going in the right direction.  As I needed them, signs appeared to show me: “Go left. Go right. Go straight ahead.”  In karate training, when you’re not sure of your destination, a sensei comes alongside to tell you “Turn left. Turn right. Go straight ahead. Back up.”

I found the entrance, and then got confused, until I saw the huge pavilion with the USCK banner.  I registered, and then hiked up a road to the changing station, Men/Women restroom.  I hiked back and entered formal bow-in.  A gust of wind toppled and broke the glass on O’Sensei’s portrait.  An eerie beginning.

Kyu students went through basic drills and dan students went through kata drills.  Dan students went into bo kata and kyu students went into Niseishi Kaisetz.  Then the grade school students joined the activities.  My favorite was the self-defense moves, which I showed to my daughter.

I met students from other dojo.  I saw a white belt’s first class in USCK was this summer training.  I also saw my dojo mates.  I met a yudansha instructor by choking her.  She repaid the favor.  Only in Chito-ryu!

I had to drop out due to foot pain.   A subsequent visit to a podiatrist gave me information, and stretches and conditioning I can incorporate into my karate stretching regiment.

Class went on with bo kata, self-defense, kaisetz, and kata.  In Batman Begins, the defender went through a shifting double line of attackers.  The USCK version of this “gauntlet” stretched a long way and gave everyone a chance to be an attacker and a defender.  The time ended in Chokusen kata to honor Hanshi Dometrich.


Hanshi’s mojo held and the rain stayed away for the ending meal.  The food was varied and tasty and water quenched thirst.  It was interesting to note when kids change out of gi they change back to kids who blow bubbles, swing on monkey bars, and chase each other across the grass.

I left the training with thoughts of karate-ka I met, self-training that I need and upcoming activities I plan to join.  It was a unique time for me.  Even the keepsake t-shirt designed to look like a football jersey was unique. I returned to I-75, and rain, at the Florence, Kentucky exchange.  I wonder what Kangeiko is like?


Dojo Visits

By: Don Schmidt
Yoseikan Hombu 

 

On August 10 and 11, 2013, Kyoshi Kembre and I traveled to Charlottesville, Virginia to visit and train with Jack Little and his wife Debbie. They were interested in some kata explanations so the training mostly consisted of Sakugawa No Kon Sho, Seisan, and Sochin. They have a beautiful setting behind their lovely house; mountains majestically reach the horizon and provide the background for a golf course that is nestled in the valley below. Jack is an avid golfer too, so if you play, bring your clubs should you ever get a chance to visit and train with him.


On August 12 and 13, 2013, we continued to travel to Fayetteville, NC to train with the students of Sensei Pochinski at Ft. Bragg Yoseikan. On August 12, we attended his regular class and assisted in the instruction. Ft. Bragg students were impressive as they punched and kicked through multiple drills. An extra training class was scheduled for Tuesday night for the brown belts and the 4th kyu. During Tuesday’s training students were given a taste of what to expect when testing in front of the National Test Board. They were reminded of the promotional standards set by Hanshi Dometrich and how he wanted the best karate students as described in his lyrics to the Ballad of the Chito-Ryu:

Trained in combat, hand to hand
Students trained in the great Chito-ryu plan
Let me be the very best
Let me earn the Chito-ryu crest

Chito-ryu patch upon their chest
These karate students are world’s best
Many join but it is true
Only the best become Chito-ryu.



Masao Morita

By: Mr. Tanaka

I was the first principle of the Japanese Language School of Greater Cincinnati.  Mr. Masao Morita was one of the elementary teachers at the school.  He worked hard from 1979 to 1988 for almost 10 years.  Later, he became the principle at the Richmond Japanese Language School.  Richmond, Indiana is located about 70 miles northwest of Covington; therefore, he drove around 90 minutes each Saturday morning.  Sometimes, Morita sensei would stay there on Friday night so that he could arrive to school on time.

He loved to teach; especially the third and fourth grade classes.  This is a book I received from him during that time.  The front cover was labeled “Collections Of Compositions By Students In The Year 2000”.  In this booklet, he had written several personal comments.  One reminded students to have a sincere appreciation to the trustees and the parents who supported the school.  He also mentioned a third grader that he had taught who was studying at The Ohio State University at that time. This student was excelling with very high grades.  Even though he had taught this student about 10 years ago, he was still thinking about his former student.  Thus, Morita sensei was a dedicated and devoted teacher.

On the other hand, he also had a unique sense of humor.  Sometimes we never knew if he was serious or if he was just joking.   After he had passed away, I was trying to find out where he was born.  At first I thought that he was born in Okinawa, but I soon realized that I was mixing him up with Mr. Miyagi acted by Pat Morita in the famous movie The Karate Kid because Morita sensei lived in this karate dojo.  Finally, I learned that he was born in Cebu, Philippines.

The title of this book, which I mentioned before, is MUGEN which means in Japanese “infinity or eternity”.  I believe Morita sensei chose this title in the hope that his students would continue to grow INFINITELY throughout their lives.

May his soul enjoy ETERNAL life in heaven.


A Story of Masao Morita

By: Don Schmidt
Yoseikan Hombu 

Morita San or Miyagi San?  If you have seen the movie karate kid, then you know who Mr. Miyagi is.  Hanshi Dometrich used to introduce Morita San as Mr. Miyagi to youngsters at the dojo to see their eyes light up.  Of course, Morita San played along, kept quiet and disappeared into the dojo halls leaving the youngsters in awe.  Unfortunately, Masao “Mark” Morita passed away on March 19, 2013.

Morita San was born on February 2, 1939, in the Philippines because his father worked there for a trading company.  Before WWII, Morita San’s family returned to Japan where they resided in Hiroshima until they moved to Kobe.  Near the end of WWII, the family moved near Tokyo.  I am not sure when Morita San came to the states, but about 1967 he was in the Cincinnati area and was introduced to Hanshi Dometrich.  Hanshi befriended Morita San, took him under his wing and offered him an apartment above the USCK dojo located at 8th & Madison in Covington.  In the years that followed, Morita San was like a brother to Mr. and Mrs. Dometrich.

Morita San made friends within the karate school because he began training in Chito-ryu.  He had earned a black belt while in Japan in Shito-ryu before meeting the Dometriches and trained in Japan under the same teacher as the late Sensei Akutagawa trained.  In 1969, Morita San earned the rank of ik-kyu in Chito-ryu.  In the early 1970’s, Morita San shared a house, owned by the late Shihan Art Rott, with the following karateka: the late Dusty Kembre, Renshi Steve Wilhelm, Bill Law, Don Rigsby and Jessie Bailey.  The house burned down; however, Hanshi came to Morita San’s aid.

In 1971, Hanshi had moved his dojo to its present location at 22 Martin Street, Covington. After the fire, Morita San needed a place to stay so Hanshi offered the apartment above the dojo.  Morita San gladly accepted and he has lived there since.

Like Hanshi, Morita San believed in education.  He earned a Bachelor of Commerce from a college in Tokyo.  In the late 1960’s, Morita San earned a degree from Wilmington College in Ohio.

Morita San worked at a Japanese Language school where he met good friends like Dr. Nishiyama, Kojima San and Tanaka San. The school was initially at the University of Cincinnati until it moved to the Northern Kentucky University campus.  He also worked at Lazarus’ warehouse (which became Macy’s), and at the first and only Japanese Restaurant in the Cincinnati area in the early 1970’s known as Nikko Inn.  Most recently, after retirement, Morita San began working part-time at the Kroger store on Madison.  He enjoyed working there so much he became full-time and worked there until a mild stroke occurred.  He very much wanted to return to Kroger, but he did not overcome his heart issues.

Hanshi Dometrich nominated Morita San to be a Kentucky Colonel.  A Kentucky Colonel is an honorary award issued by the Commonwealth of Kentucky to individuals for contributions to society.  He was proud to be a Kentucky Colonel as he displayed a decorative plate on the front of his automobile and he carried his membership card in his wallet.

I have a huge appetite for raw fish and other Japanese delicacies and over the years I have befriended several Japanese merchants and customers.  I soon learned that it was difficult to find any local Japanese who did not know Morita San; some of whom referred to him as “Uncle Mark”.  All had kind remarks about “Uncle Mark”.

Morita San was somewhat mysterious to some and at times complicated to figure out.  Sometimes he would talk to you and sometimes he would not.  At times when I was working around the outside of the dojo, some neighbors would ask if he was a master in karate and they assumed that he was a “bad ass”.  I would assure the person that their assumption was accurate and that they did not want to tangle with him.

Morita San had a sense of humor.  I recall times when we were talking on the street while he was smoking when an inebriated passerby would stop to talk.  Morita would immediately tell the person that I was a police officer so that the person would keep moving along.  I am not a police officer, but it worked and we laughed about it.

Living at his dojo apartment, Morita San kept busy gardening.  He had a small area where he tended to a Japanese root plant and a neighbor allowed him to use a larger area where he grew eggplant and tomatoes.  He enjoyed giving eggplant to his Japanese friends at restaurants.  Morita San may be best known around the dojo for feeding squirrels.  His heart was so generous that he did not feed squirrels a staple of shelled peanuts.  Rather, he fed squirrels cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts and other assortments of mixed nuts that were already shelled!  Morita San would go outside and the squirrels came running from every direction.  I always wanted some of the cashews, but he often hand-fed the squirrels and I did not want to get in the middle of the feeding frenzy.  He always wanted to supervise my trimming of trees probably because he did not want me to remove squirrel routes.  What he did like when I trimmed trees was cutting the limbs into little bitty pieces because it was good exercise for his hands.  Huge limbs disappeared into a single garbage can because he took the time to cut them into little pieces.

In September 2012, Morita San had a mild stroke.  Thereafter, he learned that he needed triple by-pass which occurred in October 2012.  He recuperated at the Provident Pavilion where he enjoyed flirting with the medical staff.  He returned to his dojo apartment in December 2012 until succumbing to heart failure on March 19.  He was doing fine or as he often said “I’m okay”, which is why his death was a shock to his friends.  He was scheduled to have his kidneys tested on March 20, but he never made it to that appointment to learn if he had a kidney problem.

Morita San left behind many friends from his karate family, his Japanese family of friends, his Kroger family, his dear friends at Covington Chili and Tom and Jerry’s Barber Shop. All will miss Morita San, including the squirrels.

     

DNBK Memorial Seminar

Norfolk, VA
Saturday, March 23, 2013

By: Bill DiGrezio
Yoseikan Hombu 

With anticipation we traveled to Norfolk, VA for the DNBK Memorial Seminar. Hanshi Dometrich, Hanshi Shimabukuro, Renshi Tobin and Shihan Pao were all honored for their commitments, achievements and dedication to budo.  A flag ceremony was presented to the family members of these great individuals.  Okusan, Kyoshi Kembre, and Shihan Schmidt were presented with the United States of America flag, the official plaque of Hanshi Dometrich’s induction to the Martial Art Hall of Fame, and purple chrysanthemum flowers.  

Not long after the flag ceremony, Kyoshi Kembre presented Sanshiru in dedication to Hanshi Dometrich.  She presented before Hanshi Hamada, 300 DNBK Memorial participants and various guests.  With precision and power Kyoshi’s presentation reflected her father’s tireless pursuit of perfection.  The kata was crisp and strong.  

Others also had an opportunity to present kata before Hanshi Hamada, the 300 budo practitioners and guests. Led by, Kyoshi Kembre the group included Shihan Schmidt and Ernest, Sensei Lingo, DiGrezio, Brueckner, Joe and Jennifer Benzinger.  Kyoshi Holley’s Shotokan team presented kata simultaneously with Kyoshi Kembre’s team. 

The kata finished with a bow, and Hanshi Hamada stood and addressed all who were present.  He spoke of Hanshi Dometrich’s dedication and reinforced the duty bestowed onto us to maintain and pursue the endless quest Hanshi tirelessly and fearlessly traveled in order to bring us to where we are today.  As Hanshi Hamada finished, uproar of applause and shouts erupted.  As the kata groups stood respectfully it was understood the applause was not for them, yet it was in gratitude of Hanshi Dometrich.  

The Memorial Seminar concluded with individual awards and recognition. Kyoshi Barbara Dometrich received the DNBK Inspiration award and Kyoshi Kembre as well as Kyoshi Holley were presented with a DNKB Memorial Cup.  Shihan Schmidt, Shihan Ernest and Sensei Lingo all received special recognition.  All others present received a certificate of participation and a gracious symbol of the event. 

Hanshi Hamada was deliberate to confirm the certificates and trophies were more than a reflection of personal achievement.  These items were given as reminders to all of us that we are now charged with continuing the work Hanshi Dometrich and others before him initiated. It was an honor to participate.

In reflection, as we continue our quest, bestowed on us by our teacher and co-founder of the United States Chito-ki, William Dometrich, we must continue to strive for perfection through “perfect practice.”  Our roots are deep and our style is proven.  We are responsible to teach the next generation of Chito-ki, and continue to live the “SHOWA” given to us by O’Sensei.  “We who study Karate-do should never forget the spirit of the warrior’s way.  With peace, perseverance, and hard work, we will not fail to reach our goal.”  Osu!


Dojo Visits

By: Don Schmidt
Yoseikan Hombu 

I recently had the opportunity to visit three dojo:  On March 6, 2013, I went to Shihan Acampora’s Yoseikan Orlando II dojo; on March 7, 2013, I went to Shihan Binkley’s Yoseikan Orlando III dojo; and on March 8, 2013, I went to Sensei Pochinski’s Yoseikan Ft. Bragg dojo.  I had a good time visiting and training with fellow Chito-Ryu karateka and look forward to visiting again.

During my visits, I made some minor corrections and suggestions related to basic technique that are no different than the corrections and suggestions students at the hombu get from their instructors.  Chito-Ryu basics establish the principles of Chito-Ryu and as a Shihan in the USCK, I attempt to carry out Kyoshi Dometrich’s mission to ensure that Hanshi’s teachings of Chito-Ryu are followed.  Hanshi wrote in the green belt manual and in news letters the proper spacing of stances, the pivoting on one’s heels, and the alignment of the feet in seisan dachi.  Hanshi always taught that we needed to pivot on our heels when transitioning from shiko dachi to seisan dachi.  He taught it no other way and he taught and wrote about how the toes of the front foot are about two inches, or 5 centimeters, or about a bo pole’s width apart from the heel of the rear foot when one is in hanmei seisan dachi. (See Winter 2005 newsletter.)   I recall the times when Hanshi checked stances with a bo pole.  These principles continue to be taught in recent blackbelt classes. 

At Orlando II dojo, Gordon Levin and I mostly focused on his next test kata and the kata that the group going to England in August may perform.  Unfortunately, Shihan Acampora was working 65 miles from his home and arrived near the end of our training session.

At Orlando III, Shihan Binkley asked me to assist her in testing a few students most of which did an excellent job and were promoted.  I also had the opportunity to teach the students which included reminding and correcting certain basic principles.

At Ft. Bragg, Sensei Pochinski requested that I review all the kata his students could perform and critique them.  All looked very good, but they were also corrected on certain basic principles.

We have all heard more than I care to count, or maybe a zillion times, “stance too wide”, “stance too short”, “stance too long”, “tight fist”, “make a complete punch”, “pivot on the heels”, “relax”, “breathe”, “fix your posture”, and this is only the half of it.  When you hear these corrections aimed at you, do not feel bad.  We all have to keep training to perfect our basics.  Good Chito-Ryu basics lead to good kata performance.  When you present yourself in front of a test board, you want to be able to demonstrate a good command of Chito-Ryu.  Hanshi would want it this way.  So does the test board.

Keep training and listening to your teachers.  We train because no one is perfect. Your teachers have learned from Hanshi and we want you to be successful and get better.


Kangeiko 2013

By: Ron Eagle
West Virginia Yoseikan
 
 

Kangeiko started off for me with the fear of the unknown, stories of the Kangeiko prior to this year, and of course the all famous “sick” bucket. I knew for me that my biggest obstacles would be my age, and my break in training between Studying Shuri-te to studying Chito-ryu. There is still so much I have to learn about the Chito-ryu system and I feared the techniques that would be covered during the Kangeiko, that I may be either very weak in or have no training in as of yet. They say fear is your biggest enemy, and there is truth to that theory

In my four years living in Okinawa, Japan while serving in the United States Air Force, I had a few opportunities to attend a Kangeiko, but was never able to attend due to duty schedule. I knew very little of the importance of the Kangeiko, and sometimes took for granted that I was lucky enough to be training on Okinawa. This was a missed opportunity for me and I was not about to let another opportunity slip through my hands. Shihan Kevin Drummond had placed the emphasis on the importance of Kangeiko and attending these events. Finally it was time to seize the opportunity and see if I was up to the challenge.

Kangeiko started with the evening prior, with everyone enjoying a spaghetti dinner. This type of family camaraderie is the one item that really intrigued me to join the Chito-kai organization and make the decision to consider training in another style. That evening really set the tone for the start of the Kangeiko training and what I was about to encounter. We were briefed by Shihan Wellbrock that night before turning in for a short night sleep.

Kangeiko officially started at 3AM, and there was very little noise as everyone prepared for the next 6 hours of training. It was bitter cold as we were getting dressed, for it has been one of the coldest winters in a long time. As we assembled to start the training, it wasn’t long before the temperature started to increase from the workout. The theme for the Kangeiko was “Sanchin” a very intense breathing kata. My number one fear had transpired into reality, Sanchin was a kata that I had never encountered in my Karate training, so I was learning something new. Everyone was great, as we worked the new kata the training was paced to allow those of us new to the kata to become familiar with the steps. At first, I thought to myself that as slow moving as this kata was that it would be hard to get tired in the six hour training period. Once we started to work the kata more intensely, concentrating on the breathing and adding the additional basic workouts, the anticipation for the sixth hour to be upon us grew with each exercise. I was told how the absence of clocks would play a part in the training as it was designed to test your spirit. As each break happened, we would look around trying to get an understanding of the time. My mind definitely played tricks on me as the morning progressed, at times I wanted the training to end soon and other times I was so involved in the training I wanted it to last longer. By the time the sixth hour was upon us I had no idea we had finished. I had heard stories about the smell of food and how that would be a sign that the time was near. I never experienced the smell of breakfast, so once again my mind figured we had a few more hours of training left. When we were finally finished, I felt refreshed, tired but not exhausted, almost energized from all the training. I am really glad I participated in this Year’s Kangeiko and really want to take the time to thank everyone who patiently worked with me on my weaknesses. It was very clear that Hanshi’s spirit was upon us in the training for it was a team effort to complete this mission.


2012 Octoberfest

By: Don Schmidt
Yoseikan Hombu
 
 

In October of every year we have our annual national test, seminar and banquet near O-sensei’s birthday of October 18, in order to pay tribute to our style’s founder.     This celebration or festival is basically a time to get together en masse and share as a family of karateka the events we go through annually.  This year, the festival occurred on October 19 and 20.  I am sure that fresh in everyone’s mind was the absence of Hanshi Dometrich, but I know that he would have been ecstatic to see the outpouring of support to his wife and the pursuit of the “endless quest”.    As his time on earth came to an end, Hanshi specifically requested that we as Chito-ryu students, especially the Shihan Kai, support his wife and the USCK.   Although Hanshi is gone, his legacy will continue through our continued support of the co-founder of the USCK.  In my opinion, Hanshi’s legacy to martial arts was his loyalty to his teacher.

Early arrivals on Thursday attended the class at the Yoseikan hombu.  We were packed and stacked in the confines of our training hall.  Training was spirited and, as Hanshi would have liked, we were sweating.  Some of the students who applied to test in front of the National Test Board on Friday were likely getting their feet accustomed to the training deck and environment.  Good strategy!
 
On Friday evening the festival began even though those who tested likely did not view it as festive.  The test can be grueling in more ways than one.  The 2012 National Test Board consisted of Kyoshi Barbara Dometrich, Kyoshi Lawrence Hawkins, Kyoshi Sherry Kembre, Shihan Jesse Brown and Shihan John Wellbrock.  Although Kyoshi Kembre had served on test boards with her father, this was the first time she was on a test board with her mother.  About 16 test applicants were subjected to the scrutiny of the test board.
The seminar on Saturday included the presence of Jean Noel Blanchette Sensei from Quebec Canada and Joe Gonzalez from Chicago, Illinois.  Sensei Blanchette shared a tai sabaki drill and Sensei Gonzalez shared some kumite strategy.  I would like to remind everyone that Sensei Gonzalez hosts the Windy City Karate Tournament in Chicago.  It is a well-organized tournament and Hanshi always encouraged USCK students to attend the tournament.  Numerous friends form other styles of karate also attended our seminar which added to the success of the training.  As usual, a good dose of Chito-ryu basics were included in the seminar.  In honor of Hanshi, we performed his first kata ZENSHIN KOTAI  and finished with Hanshi’s kata CHOKUSEN.
  
    
 
The banquet was held at the Drawbridge Inn.  The festivities included pre-dinner appetizers and a delicious, sit-down, dinner.  Awards and certificates were presented and the year was reviewed. This was a difficult time for Kyoshi Dometrich for the obvious reason that her husband was not there to share the moment.  However, she and the planners of the event did a great job in making the event a huge success.
 
The March seminar to honor Hanshi’s birthday and his first memorial seminar will be a success as well provided that we continue the pursuit of the endless quest.

 

Hanshi William J. Dometrich: Man of Many Titles


By: Barbara E. Dometrich, Kyoshi
Co-Founder United States Chito-kai
March 22, 2012 The United States Chito-kai, the Dai Nippon Butokukai, my daughters and grandchildren and I lost my husband of 56 ½ years.  Many of you think you knew my husband through his martial arts endeavors, however he was a very complex man. He wore many hats and titles.
He was not only a Karate instructor; he had a career of 23 years with the Covington Kentucky Police department starting as a patrolman, then Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain, and Lieutenant Colonel.  He retired as the Assistant Chief of Police in 1986. 
At the age of 17 he joined the US Army 101st Airborne and ultimately ended up in Japan where he started his life-long career in Chito-ryu karate under Dr. Tsuyoshi Chitose, the founder of Chito-ryu. In 2008 Hanshi was promoted to 9th degree Black Belt, the highest rank ever awarded by the Dai Nippon Butokukai to a Caucasian, this promotion was made in Kyoto, Japan.
In 1987 Hanshi joined the active Reserves in Louisville, Kentucky as counter intelligence E-7 sergeant with the 387 MI unit. He retired from that unit due to leg injuries from parachute jumps that were taking a toll on him.  He retired from the Reserves in 1994.
In 2000 he was hired by the Boone County Sheriff’s department as a deputy and worked in the family court as a bailiff for more then ten years.
In 2005 Hanshi was having some issues with loosing his balance and walking, at that time he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. For the past 7 years he lived with this disease.  The Parkinson’s became worse and the medicines didn’t seem to work anymore.  He retired from the Boone County Sheriff’s department in September 2010 and he finally gave into the disease on March 22, 2012.
If you knew him at all, you know that he was always helping people and encouraging young people to go to school.  He was a big influence for many of the police officers today that made their careers not only on the Covington Police department but also on Cincinnati Police department.
Martial arts, the military, and law enforcement were his life. If you attended his funeral it was one of the largest that many can remember, he knew everyone, people came from all over the country and Canada.  It amazed some of the military personnel that a Two Star General attended and presented me with the burial flag.
Just seeing him at the dojo teaching a class or at a seminar was just a small part of his life. He will be missed by all that knew him. His legacy will live on through the people he touched, his students, his writings and publications.
We are a small biological family however we have a large Martial Arts family and we would like to thank all of you that have donated to the Parkinson’s foundation and attended the Parkinson’s run/walk in Cincinnati in his name. Maybe one day there will be a cure.


50 years of the US Chito-kai

By: Sherry Kembre
Yoseikan Hombu
The lyrics to "Yesterday" by the Beatles would be the most appropriate song to sing at this time. For example, the lyrics "Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away. Now I long for a place to hide away, oh I believe in yesterday" or we can insert the stanza from Barbra Striesand s song "The Way We Were", "If we had the chance to do it all again. Tell me, would we? Could we?" I think we would all say a resounding yes. We can also refer to the movie title, Back to the Future.
Sherry Kembre
We are celebrating 50 years of Chito-ryu karate in the United States tonight and I will take us back to our future by taking you on a walk through some of the highlights from the past 5 decades.
The 1960s was a time of change and controversy. Many troops readjusting to life in the U.S. having come back from the Korean War and many young men shipping off to Vietnam. Picture the streets of Cincinnati, clean and with people heading to work early in the morning. Three young martial artists decide to go into business together. The year 1961 and the location 13th and Vine in the Over the Rhine section of Cincinnati. In a small building, William Dometrich, Harvey Eubank, and Ray Hughes began their workouts, forgetting that the average American was not in GI shape and many of their students quit within the first few months.
Later, William Dometrich with the help of his wife, Barbara, opened a dojo at a local bingo and dance hall before moving around the corner to a car repair shop at 8th and Madison in Covington. After many hours of remodeling, the dojo took shape. The downstairs housed the main deck, office and men's locker room. The second floor had another deck, women's changing area and a little, very, very little, apartment for Morita San. The highlight of this location was just across the street in a little pub called Duffy's tavern. Many important post workout meetings were conducted here.
During the 1960s many students began their training of karate for many reasons, curiosity, physical conditioning, protection and they just wanted to hit someone. So in 1961 the journey began for Hanshi and Okusan. After many years of not having seen Dr. Chitose, the time had arrived for a visit from O Sensei and his companion Mamoru Yamamoto. The year was 1967. Many discussions took place between Hanshi and O-Sensei during that visit to help set the course for all of our future. One memory I have of this visit was when Yamamoto Sensei sat on my swing set and I went up to him and told him to get off and I kicked him in the shins. I don't think he liked me too well, I was only 3.

1969 we were honored to have a visiting instructor to stay with us for one year. The only problem was he did not know how to not kick students through the wall or