U.S. HISTORY (2011 - 2015)

New Beginnings

By: Mina K. Ludwig, Yoseikan Yoshisu

I don't know about you, but I'm not one to make New Year's resolutions. Of course there are different ways of looking at anything. In all honesty though, don't you think that New Year's resolutions are only meant to address one's shortcomings for the previous year? (ouch!) People call it a ‘resolution' and talk about it as though plotting a detailed motivational scheme ought to be standard protocol for the New Year. Businesses make a mint off of people convincing themselves that the mere turn of the year will somehow magically give them the strength of character and inertia to finally do what they should have been doing all along. If this actually worked, it would be great. But, predictably, New Year's resolutions generally go the way of last year's forgotten fruit cake - festering and fermenting in the back of the pantry. Our lives would be less cluttered without that odd little fruit cake. Chuck the cake along with your grand resolutions. As in Karate training, we don't make significant progress by talking. We're all best served if we remember to simply shut up and train.

I like the DNBK's concept of Kagami Baraki. In the USCK, many are already accustomed to training on New Year's Day. It's a longstanding symbol of our standard protocol and work ethic. The concept was and is that the turn of the year simply means ‘business as usual'. We begin as we intend to continue. So whether you train on New Year's Day, and/or train a week later at a joint session called Kagami Baraki, it's all the same and it's all good. Train early and often. And, if possible, train with people who motivate you and help you reach further.
On January 9, 2011 it was business as usual at the National Headquarters for the United States Chito Kai. Heading up the Midwest division of the International DNBK, Hanshi and Kyoshi Dometrich once again kindly hosted Kagami Baraki at the Hombu dojo. This was the most successful formal New Year's event thus far. Our co-founders invited several of our fellow budoka to train along with us. It was a great opportunity to exchange positive energy and enjoy camaraderie with other dedicated budoka. Apparently, by formalizing this New Year's training, we were assured that other budoka were training on the same day as well all over the world.
As always, a good time was had by all. And when I say ‘all', there were a lot of bodies on that lower deck, forty seven bodies actually. I'm pretty sure that's against fire code. Furthermore, there was less than standing room only in the kitchen after class when we all enjoyed a delicious meal together prepared by Paul and Kathy Webster. Hanshi mentioned that next year we may need to use the Chito Kai kan in Cincinnati in order to accommodate all those motivated participants. Almost too many people to fit on the deck? That's definitely a good way to start 2011.

We trained under the direction of several welcome guest instructors: Devorah Herbst, Melvin Lewis, Sonny Kim and Jeff Thompson. As per usual, Dwight Holly was happy and energetic about training along with us as well. Of the forty seven participants, only a handful were kyu ranks and they really did an outstanding job. Appropriate to the occasion, we worked on ‘the beginning'. Advanced concepts are basic. They seldom look very difficult. So the work we did on hip motion, tenshin (body shifting), generation of power and the like is both the beginning and the end. It's all a matter of how we move and center ourselves. Again, we see karate as a metaphor or mirror for life in general. It's not about the fruit cake, resolutions or a convoluted, wordy path forward. It's elemental and basic. It's always a beginning. Find your center and move from there.

Happy Birthday Hanshi Dometrich - March 2011 Seminar

By: Jamie Binkley, Yoseikan of Orlando III

The annual spring seminar to celebrate the 76th birthday of Hanshi William Dometrich was held Saturday March 12, 2011. With close to 100 participants, the event kicked off with a four hour training session in the Northern Kentucky University gym, followed by Hanshi's birthday party at the Hombu dojo.

The training began with a session taught by Kyoshi Devorah Dometrich Herbst. For those of you who are newer to the style, Sensei Dometrich Herbst started her training at the Hombu in the 1960's and is the adopted daughter of Hanshi and Okusan Dometrich. In 1966 she won the first Women's National Karate Championship held in Washington, D.C. In addition to being a Chito-Ryu Go Dan, she studies Okinawan Ti with Onaga Yoshimitsu Sensei, as well as studying and teaching the Okinawan weapons system RyuKyu Kobudo Hozon ShinKoKai. During her session, she covered concepts that are common to most Okinawan martial arts, including body shifting and timing. While showing us the basics for the tekko weapon (looks like brass knuckles with spikes), she had us work on our timing while we step and punch. She also shared the natural stance used in Okinawan Ti, which is a shorter, straighter stance than our seisan dachi. It was a treat for students to gain further perspective on Okinawan martial arts and experience another member of the Dometrich martial arts family. You can learn more about her at: www.kobudo.com

During the second session, the Chito-ryu Hen Shu Ho were covered. The Hen Shu Ho are a set of 28 self defense techniques, often applying fundamentals from our Chito-Ryu katas. Dr. Chitose wrote about these and passed them down thru his book. You can still find these on printed posters in many dojo. In addition to studying with several famous karate teachers, he studied Jujitsu and these principles are evident in his self defense moves. During most periods of the USCK's history these have been a part of our rank testing. To maximize knowledge transfer, Hanshi appointed pairs of instructors, each covering a portion of these Hen Shu Ho. Pairs were led by Shihan Mark Chisenhall, Renshi Cyna Khalily, Shihan Mina Ludwig, and Bill Jansak. Each instructor taught a subset of the Hen Shu Ho, and the instructors rotated to the next group once the students had practiced the moves being taught by that instructor. This efficient approach allowed us to get through all 28 during the seminar. The kyu ranks also had their own instruction from Shihans Eric Ford and John Wellbrock.

These techniques are an important part of putting our kata into practical fighting situations, and the instructors did an excellent job of sharing these with the students. Not only did they go through the technical movements, timing and finer points, but they also stepped back and talked about key concepts to take away for a given movement. Combining both gave students more insight in to the movements. For example, Renshi Khalily was teaching us # 18 and said not only is it important to drop and strike the opponents leg correctly, but if you find yourself on the ground in a fight, you are not out of options. He recommended that we think of lower body attacks. On several techniques, Shihan Chisenhall emphasized keeping the upper and lower body connected to generate power in the techniques he taught.
The energy level was very high and the time seemed to fly by. As we came back to form one group, Hanshi Dometrich paid a high compliment to the teachers, stating that he was very impressed with the caliber of the instructors. Following some announcements, we bowed out and began our trip to the Hombu for Hanshi's birthday party.

After some time, students and friends began to gather at the Hombu around 6pm. Most brought a dish to share, and of course, the house specialty spaghetti was prepared. Everyone chowed down, shared stories and enjoyed each other's company. Hanshi opened gifts from the many students and guests. It was enjoyable to see numerous retired students that still maintain a relationship with Hanshi and Okusan. It was also great to see so many young karate ka just beginning their martial arts careers. The multi-generational aspect of these gatherings reinforces the feeling of being a part of a big family. Hanshi and Okusan have dedicated their lives to building this organization and family, and it was great to celebrate with them on Hanshi's birthday.
Attending a national event is a great learning experience, a family reunion and pilgrimage all rolled into one weekend. If you have not attended one of the two large national events, please come to the October seminar and celebration of O'Sensei's birthday. You'll learn a lot and meet people who may become friends for life. Thank you to all that helped make this an outstanding event!

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 down the stairs, therefore we lost many of our students. Once he went back to school we began the rebuilding of our student body.
The 1970s brought an excitement for martial arts with the help of the Kung Fu series and of course Bruce Lee. 1971 was a busy year with the purchase of the hombu dojo on Martin Street. There were many long hours spent, painting everything blue (the paint was on sale), cutting plywood for the deck, killing random rodents and a lot of cleaning to get the place ready for class. In November of 1971 Hanshi, Okusan and a few students made their first trip to Japan. While in Japan, Hanshi was promoted to shichi dan and Okusan to ni dan. Upon their return the very excited group began planning for O-Sensei's next visit.
In 1972, Chito-ryu karate was accepted as a credited course at both Thomas More College and Northern Kentucky University. In 1973, a tournament was held at the NKU campus and many sensei from various styles attended. In attendance were Sensei Sugiyama, Sensei Nagamine, Sensei Tsuruoka, Sensei Higashi and many more. It was a packed house because well the guest of honor was of course O Sensei and his traveling companion, Sensei Kugizaki. The tournament went late, 1 o'clock in the morning but no one cared. It was exciting to have so many great sensei in attendance and to share experiences and to create great memories. Throughout the 1970s many exciting trips were taken to Chicago, Toronto, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, New York, Florida and many other places. Visiting the Chito-kai dojos and training with our karate members was like visiting relatives.
One very exciting trip was in 1974. A tour bus was rented for our trip to Canada to support the Canadian Chito-kai. After going through the border the bus driver graciously stopped at a local liquor store. Hanshi instructed two students to go in and purchase some cases of beer. Well, while his back was turned about half the bus got off and purchased many cases. When we checked into the Lord Simco the only thing on the 6 luggage carts were the cases of beer. This was the trip that the rule of no drinking before a tournament was instituted. We had several members go home with broken noses because of their excessive partying the night before the tournament.
In 1979 we had two visitors from Japan come and help us with our understanding of what was being covered in Japan. These two men were Sensei Kuzahara and O-Sensei's son Yasuhiro. They were taken on a trip to the mountains of North Carolina to camp and to see the Cherokee Indians.

The 1980s brought many challenges and some fun experiences. To help with the local traveling to demonstrations and workouts a school bus was purchased and painted in red and white. One fun trip was to Frankfort, Kentucky for a demonstration and work out. Hanshi drove the bus and we had many members from other states on the bus. Hanshi felt bad for a hitchhiker and decided to offer him a ride. We had just gotten back onto the highway when one of our members yelled out. "Hey bus driver. You know we are due back soon." Well, another student picked up on this and stood up saying, "If we are late for our meds, we will be in trouble." Well, you can imagine the look on this man's face. He asked to get off at the next exit. That evening, on our return home trip, we ran out of gas at the Richwood Exit. While waiting our dedicated students decided they could practice what they had learned at the clinic on the highway with the help of the buses' headlights.
In 1982, once again O-Sensei visited with his son, "Waka" Sensei. While visiting Kentucky a tournament was held, yudansa testing and of course the national banquet. O-Sensei was due to travel to Canada for a tournament so many of the United States members followed him to Toronto. We just couldn't let go. While in Toronto we were able to witness the signing of O-Sensei's will. Hanshi's signature is included on this document. Many of us had an eerie feeling that this might be the last time we would see O-Sensei.
In 1983, several students traveled by car for 3 days to reach Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. Hanshi was given the honor to head up the teaching for this week long camp. Well, the Canadians didn't know what hit them. He changed the schedule, so of course there was more training to be had. You think Kangeiko has a lot of kicks, punches, etc. Well, this was Kangeiko for 5 days from 7 in the morning until 7 at night. The local hot springs saw a lot of us around 9 each night.

Sadly a call came from Japan in June of 1984 that O-Sensei had passed away. As you can well imagine everyone was very upset. However, Hanshi and Okusan were determined to continue O-Sensei's dream of spreading and keeping Chito-ryu karate as O-Sensei would want it to be taught going strong within the U.S. Chito-kai. 1986 and in 1991 many students traveled to Japan to compete in the Chito-ryu Cup tournament.
The challenges of the 1980s only blended into the 90s. During the 1990s the organization saw the continued growth of the number of members and schools throughout the United States. As usual there were many trips to be taken as well as many training opportunities. Camp Ernst summer camps were always fun with the usual pranks being pulled i.e horse manure on the instructors cabin steps, the midnight "surprise" training session with the glow in the dark jewelry, candy (sugar) parties, and of course the occasional casualty in the field; a garter snake.
1994 proved to be liberating for the U.S. Chito-kai. The day of independence from the Japan Hombu came after many ultimatums were given by some students that fueled the separation. To keep O-Sensei's vision alive it was decided that we must become independent; however still work with other Chito-ryu martial artists in collaboration of technique etc. After all, we are cousins, just not "kissing cousins". In 1998, Hanshi became a member of the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai and the first demonstration in front of the Hanshi board was in November of 1998 in Norfolk, Virginia.
The y2K scare did not stop the members of the U.S.Chito-kai from attending seminars and other functions in the 2000s. Many trips were made to Las Vegas, AAU nationals in Winston Salem, North Carolina and Salt Lake City, Chicago for the Windy City tournament, West Virginia for the summer camp and to Florida in the winter for a winter getaway. One memorable trip was to Hanshi and Okusan's hometown of Clarkburg, West Virginia for the dedication of the sign honoring Hanshi and the promotion of his 2001 publication of his autobiography, The Endless Quest. In 2002 and 2008 members of the DNBK flew off to Kyoto for the World Butoku Sai. Each trip was an exciting adventure especially having the opportunity to demonstrate in front of the Hanshi board, meeting dedicated martial artists from around the world and getting to spend time with our own Chito-ryu family.
I, as well as, others often refer to the members of the U.S. Chito-kai as family, well for me you are my family. We have all experienced many happy times and sad times together. Through the hardships and challenges we have all become stronger in our daily lives, friendships and dedication to Hanshi, Okusan and to O Sensei. It is my wish that we will all continue to strive for the continued success and support for the United States Chito-kai and to remember that we all need to look back to the future which is today and will continue to become our destiny.

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.
Parkinsons Foundation

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.



On December 24, 2012, Shihan Don Schmidt proposed to Kyoshi Sherry Kembre and presented her with an engagement ring.

Kagami Biraki at the Hombu

30 members got together on January 5, 2013 to celebrate Kagami Biraki; a rededication of one's spirit, effort and discipline toward the goals of the New Year

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.

Northern Kentucky University Karate Class

March 7, 2013 - The NKU PE 114 class just wrapped up...too soon according to many of the students who enjoyed the instruction provided by Shihan Terry Collis of the Hombu Dojo assisted by Sensei Shawna Lingo of Yoseikan Anderson.

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.

March Black Belt Class

Black Belt class was held on March 9, 2013 at the Hombu dojo. Class consisted of Ryusan & Kusanku led by Kyoshi Hawkins and Henshuho's led by William Jansak. A meeting was held with Kyoshi Kembre, Kyoshi Hawkins and Kyoshi Dometrich (Okusan) to establish an agenda for the upcoming Hanshi Memorial seminar.

Hanshi Dometrich Memorial Seminar


The Hanshi Dometrich Memorial Seminar was held on Saturday, March 16, 2013 at the NKU Albright Health Center. The event was very well attended and highlighted by personal remembrances of Hanshi as well as demonstrations from the dojos in attendance.

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 DNBK 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!

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 Dometrichs 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.


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.

May Black Belt Class

The final Black Belt Class of the Spring was held on Saturday, May 4th, 2013 at the hombu dojo. It was good to see Terry Collis who is recovering from a shoulder operation, Michael Shaefer left knee operation , Gerald Meade right knee operation and Jerry Beshears recovering from esophagus cancer. It was great to feel the camaraderie before during and after the class. Class consisted of first hour: all kata up to Tenshin. Second hour: 1 through 15 Henshuho for the men and Kata's Kusanku and Sanshi-ryu for the women. Upcoming events include Shochugeiko in July and the West Virgina clinic in August. Black Belt classes will resume in September.

A great week of training at the Hombu Dojo - May 4th thru May 7th

Saturday May 4th regular class Kyoshi Kembre taught a great class of kata up to Niseishi sho/dai. Continuing on in Blackbelt class at 1 PM with all kata up to Tenshin. The men finished with the first 15 Henshuho, led by Shihan Schmidt and the women finished with Kata's Kusanku and Sanshiryu. A very nice crowd of 21 Blackbelts not counting those whom were injured that came to watch and collaborate with everyone. Sunday May 5th began at 9:30 AM with Shihan Ford and I working Ryusan, Kusanku and Sanshiryu, with Kyoshi Beshears arriving at 11:00 AM to continue on with Sanshiryu , Sanshiryu Bunkai and various Bunkai from various Kata finishing around 2 PM. At 4PM Shihan Petty arrived and we worked on Kusanku, kumite ideas and free kumite. Finishing around 6PM. Tuesday May 7th evening class began with basic punches, blocks and kicks. Last hour consisted of Taikyoku Ichi, Ni, Juniku and sanbon kumite. Shihan Wellbrock did a great job. Assisted by Shihan Ernest.

Thanks to all of those whom offered their time and great skill to make this a great week of training.

Shihan Kevin Drummond
Bridgeport Yoseikan
Bridgeport, WV

Steady Strides Parkinson's Walk

Our 2013 Steady Strides Parkinson's Walk-a-thon team, Punch Out Parkinson's, in honor of Hanshi Dometrich. Louise Egan and Ed Miska members of Kyoshi Richard Mark's dojo in Victoria British Columbia were present. They are members of the D.N.B.K. and became our friends while in Japan last year at the World Butoku Sai. It was great getting to share stories and walk for a great cause with members from the U.S.Chito-kai, while raising money to find a cure for Parkinson's Disease. Our team raised over $1600. Thank you to all that donated to our team. A great big shout out to our D.N.B.K. friends from England, Kyoshi Payne and his crew for donating to this cause.



Shochugeiko was held on at Big Bone Lick State Park on Saturday, July 20, 2013. The event was well attended by many familiar and some new faces. Several came from far and wide to attend. Afterward, a picnic was held at the park shelter. Good food, good conversation, new friendships were formed and old friendships renewed.

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.

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 barbecue. 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!

September Black Belt Class

Black Belt class was held on September 7, 2013 at the Hombu dojo. It was good to see everyone after the summer break.

October Black Belt Class

Black Belt class was held on October 5, 2013 at the Hombu dojo. Remember, Black Belt Classes are held the first Saturday of each month for the months of September through May.


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 taisabaki 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.


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-Sensei'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.

November Black Belt Class

Black Belt class was held on November 2, 2013 at the Hombu dojo. Kyoshi Kembre ran a great first half of class and guided us through katas from beginner to advanced. Key points and details were discussed and practiced along the way. The second half of class was run by Renshi Schmidt and focused on reviewing the taisabake shown to us by Kugimiya Sensei during the National Seminar in October. The class finished up by practicing a few weapon disarming techniques.

Yasushi Yamada Visit


Sensei Yasushi Yamada of the Japan Chito-kai traveled from Tokyo, Japan over the weekend of November 2nd. It was good to visit and catch up with him as he has been a long time friend of the U.S. Chito-kai and Hanshi and Okusan's. Although Yamada Sensei's stay was brief, his primary purpose of visiting Hanshi's grave and paying his respects to Okusan were achieved to which he was very happy and thankful.


By: Sherry (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.

35th U.S. Chito-kai Kangeiko


Kangeiko 2014 was attended by 14 die-hards in the sub 0 weather and 4 inches of fresh snow. Now it's time to bring on the warm weather!! Renshi Gerald Meade did a great job of putting the training material together for all levels appropriate to all that attended. He lead by example by running barefooted in the snow. Assisting him was Renshi Wellbrock and Shihan Jansak. Everyone said the six hours flew by. On friday evening a pasta dinner was served to all before orientation and lights out, Spaghetti was made and contributed by Paul Webster. After the training at 9am a breakfast was served. Kitchen help was Michael Messinger, Kevin Drummond, Kathy Webster, Sherry Kembre and of course Okusan. All went smooth with good food, friendships renewed, and new ones made. Hanshi would have been very proud. He left us in good hands. You can be proud of these leaders. The U.S. Chito-kai is doing well! In 2015, we hope that more members will participate in this unique experience.

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 Renshi 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.

Kangeiko 2014

By: Bill DiGrezio
Yoseikan Hombu
It was the night before Kangeiko and we were at the Hombu,
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 Hombu.
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: 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 Jansak 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 Jansak 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.

February Black Belt Class

The February Black Belt Class was held at the U.S. Chito-kai Hombu dojo on February, 1, 2014. Class was lead by Gerald Meade, Terry Collis and Kyoshi Sherry Kembre. In attendance was a young lady who is a student of Yutaka Yaguchi Sensei's from Denver Colorado. She demonstrated several Kata and was very impressive.

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?

Dai Nippon Butoku Kai Kensho Kai

By: Barbara Dometrich (Okusan), Kyoshi
Yoseikan Hombu
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 hombu 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.

April Black Belt Class

The April Black Belt Class was held at the U.S. Chito-kai Hombu dojo on April, 5, 2014. The class consisted of basic warm up's, Sanchin kata paying particular importance to foot work, then moving on to Chokusen kata and finishing off with Knife defence. Those who will be testing at the National test board in October were given some one-on-one instruction.

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.

May Black Belt Class

The May Black Belt Class was held at the U.S. Chito-kai Hombu dojo on May 3, 2014. The class was taught by Renshi Terry Collis. He worked the yudansha on San Sai Dai, a kata which was taught at the March seminar by Hanshi Dwight Holly and one of Hanshi Dometrich's older katas taught back in the late 60's, early 70's. The second half of the class was lead by Renshi Eric Ford who taught the remainder of the class on kicking techniques. Time went swiftly so there was not time to round out the class with knife defence techniques as was originally planned. This was the last Black Belt Class prior to the summer break. Classes will resume again in September.

Missing from the photograph above are Laura Deck (left early) and Linda Clement Holmes (kind enough to take photo).

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.

Shihan Wes Ernest Orlando Dojo Visits

On a recent vacation to Orlando Florida, Shihan Wes Ernest visited James Acampora and trained with a few of his students. He also visited Gordon Levin at the Boys and Girls club.

Hanshi's Heroes

L to R: Renshi Eric Ford, Nikki Corbett, Sensei Reggie Corbet,
Sensei Shawna Lingo, Samantha Lingo, Catherine Grebert, Renshi Don Schmidt,
Kyoshi Sherry (Dometrich) Kembre, Guy Kaiser, Sensei Bill DiGrezio,
Shihan Joe Petty

The 2014 Steady Strides Parkinson's 5-K Walk was a huge success for the Hanshi's Heroes team. The team raised a total of $2098. Wearing the new team shirt, the following participated in the walk: Kyoshi Kembre, Renshi Schmidt, Renshi Ford, Shihan Petty, Sensei Shawna Lingo, Samantha Lingo, Sensei Bill DiGrezio, Sensei Reggie Corbet, Nikki Corbett, Guy Kaiser and Catherine Grebert.

L to R: Samantha Lingo, Catherine Grebert

Samantha Lingo won her age group in the run. It was a perfect day for a walk/run. We would like to thank the many businesses and Chito-ryu schools that had the collection jar out for the past 8 months collecting for the team. Several people donated online to our team and we hope that we can raise more next year to help end Parkinson's disease.

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.

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.


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.

Audra State Park

On the weekend of August 9th, the West Virginia summer camp was held at Audra State Park; a beautiful location along the river in the mountains. It was a wonderful weekend for those who camped or elected to stay in a local hotel. Members attended from Ft. Bragg, NC., West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky. The seminar was 5 hours of non-stop training, starting off with Shihan Drummond leading the group in Basics. Next, Shihan Collis and Kyoshi Beshears led the participants in Kumite concepts and drills. Sensei Messinger lead the class on sport as well as real-life street Kumite theory. Renshi Schmidt led the class with the Bo Kata Sakugawa no kon sho. The last hour was Kata led by Kyoshi Sherry Dometrich Kembre. It was a very fast 5 hours of training and afterward, some of the die-hards swam in the 58°F river. A cookout was held at Billy Messinger's cabin on the river that evening and everyone got to visit and tell war story's about past trainings and experiences with Hanshi at these camps. Hanshi was looking after us and the rain that was expected held off. Spirits were very high throughout the weekend.

September Black Belt Class

The September Black Belt Class was held at the U.S. Chito-kai Hombu dojo on September 6, 2014. The class was led by Kyoshi Hawkins and was the first black belt class held after the summer break. Time was spent on basic kata, Chinto, Shochin, Tenshin & Ryusan. We additionally worked in pairs on basic kumite drills. At the end of class several of the people planning to appear in front of the National Test Board in October were given a chance to perform their test kata alone in front of the group.

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 Tsuruoka passed away. It is a fact that Hanshi Dometrich and O-Sensei Tsuruoka 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 Tsuruoka, 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 Tsuruoka, Hanshi Dometrich and O-Sensei Chitose with banzai cheers.

Masami Tsuruoka Obituary

Published in the Toronto Star on Oct. 14, 2014

It is with deep sorrow that we announce the passing of Masami Tsuruoka, O'Sensei, on October 10, 2014 at the age of 85. He leaves behind his loving wife Kay of 65 years, sons David (Cathy) and Kazumi, grandchildren Lucas, Christopher and Stephanie. Predeceased by his sister Hideko and brother Masaaki. Survived by his sister Ayame. Masami lived his life with dedication, loyalty, and passion which impacted the lives of so many. Loved and respected by many families, friends and martial arts students worldwide. He will be remembered in the hearts of many and for the legacy he leaves behind. He will be memorialized as the Father of Canadian Karate-Do. Many have benefited so much from this great man and we will treasure many memories created by and shared with O'Sensei. He will be missed and we mourn his passing very deeply. Masami Tsuruoka Foundation is being formed and donations can be made through the Tsuruoka Karate Organization. A private funeral will be held by the family. A memorial will be held at a later date in Celebration of O'Sensei's life.

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.


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.


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.

December Black Belt Class

The December Black Belt Class was held at the U.S. Chito-kai Hombu dojo on December 6, 2014. Renshi Schmidt led the class with Black Belt kata and Kyoshi Beshears continued on with Bunkai for the kata. Many stayed afterwards to celebrate Okusan's birthday (12/4).

Mrs. Chitose (O'Sensei's wife)

On January 8th, 2015, Mrs. Chitose (O'Sensei's wife) passed away peacefully in Kumamoto City, Japan. She was 96 years old. The U.S. Chito-kai wishes to express our sincere condolences and sympathy to her family.

Kagami Biraki

Kagami Baraki was held at the Hombu dojo on Saturday, January 10th. In celebration of the new year, 28 members were in attendance representing several traditional karate styles. Hanshi Dwight Holly, Kyoshi Sherry Kembre, Kyoshi Jerry Beshears and Renshi Melvin Lewis were the teaching staff. Everyone walked away learning something from this great staff, made some new dojo friends and had some good laughs while partaking of the great food provided afterward.


By: Bill DiGrezio, Hombu 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 Hombu 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 Hombu, 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 Hombu dojo year after year to support the timeless tradition of Kangeiko. Osu!

February Black Belt Class

The February Black Belt Class was held at the U.S. Chito-kai Hombu dojo on February 7th, 2015. Paul Knecht from Yoseikan II focused on bunkai based on the movements of Ju-Ni-Waza. He explained that the term "basics" referring to the movements we were all taught as beginners should more properly be thought of as "foundational". Kyoshi Sherry (Dometrich) Kembre took over the second half of the class as we worked on Kusanku Dai in addition to Seisan and Chinto.

Hombu Visit

L to R: Kyoshi Nishime, Kyoshi Barbara Dometrich, Hanshi Rony Kluger,
Kyoshi Sherry (Dometrich) Kembre

Rony Kluger, Hanshi from Israel DNBK and Kyoshi Nishime from Cincinnati visited the U.S. Chito-Kai Headquarters on February 10, 2015.

Dojo Visits 2015

By: Don Schmidt, Renshi

The year 2015 began milder than the previous year, but nevertheless I transformed into a snowbird and headed south to sunny Florida. I look forward to returning for various reasons; one reason is that I get the opportunity to visit friends and dojo as I slowly return.

My first dojo visit on March 4, was at Sensei Gordon Levin"s dojo in Orlando where he continues to teach at the youth center. We also had a few minutes at the end of class to review advanced kata before the janitor started giving us hints that it was time for her (us) to leave. As you can see by the picture, his students are fighting machines.

I also spoke to Shihan James Acampora about training, but his youngest daughter was getting married on that Saturday. Shihan Jamie Brinkley was also busy with her own schedule.

My second stop was at Ft. Bragg to visit Shihan Pochinski"s dojo. His dojo is now located in the military"s hand-to-hand combat facility on the base which enables his students to utilize some of the amenities the facility offers, i.e. padded flooring, kicking apparatuses of all shapes, and other useful tools. Thus, his students are doing well with break falls and can punch and kick a bag whenever they get the urge. His students continue to impress me with their overall execution of Chito-Ryu karate.

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.

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.

April Black Belt Class

The April Black Belt Class was held at the U.S. Chito-kai Hombu dojo on April 11th, 2015. Shihan Bill Jansak warmed up the group followed by Renshi Gerald Meade taking the class through bunkai associated with Taikyoku-Ichi. For the last half of class, Renshi Eric Ford focused on Seisan, Chinto and Sochin.

Medical Edge: Karate Healing

Kyoshi Beshears recently gave an interview on Local 12 WKRC-TV regarding his battle with esophageal cancer. His doctors credit his amazing recovery to his decades of mental and physical conditioning through martial arts.

Click here for the full story.

Hanshi's Heroes

The 2015 Steady Strides Parkinson's 5K was a huge success for the Hanshi's Heroes team. Thanks to those that participated and the many others that donated money for this worthwhile cause. At race day, our team had moved up to 8th place among teams participating in the event. Of special note, Samantha Lingo finished 2nd in her age division with a time of 21:36.

U.S. Chito-kai Pays Tribute to Officer Sonny Kim (Sensei)

By: Don Schmidt, Renshi

Sensei Sonny Kim was murdered on Friday, June 19, 2015, while in the line of duty as a Cincinnati police officer. A tragic, sad, and most unfortunate loss to his family, friends, karate family, the city and many others. As Okusan mentioned in her email, he was a U.S. Chito-ryu practitioner for about a dozen years.

He joined the U.S. Chito-Kai as a ni-dan around 1985 after years of practicing Shotokan. In 1987, Sensei Kim was promoted to san-dan in Chito-ryu by Hanshi Dometrich. About 1988, Hanshi encouraged and supported Sensei Kim to fulfill his desire to be a Cincinnati police officer. In 1994, Hanshi Dometrich and O-sensei Tsuruoka promoted Sensei Kim to yon-dan in Chito-ryu. About 1997, Sensei Kim ended his affiliation with the U.S. Chito-Kai.

In most recent years, Sensei Kim attended Chito-ryu black belt classes, seminars and the DNBK Kagami Biraki training. During the January 9, 2011, Kagami Biraki training, he assisted in providing instruction.

Some U.S. Chito-Kai members attended a special training class on Wednesday June 24, 2015, in his honor which was hosted by his karate students. On Thursday, June 25, 2015, Okusan and several U.S. Chito-Kai members attended Sensei Kim"s visitation services. WCPO TV had extensive coverage for these events which can be viewed on their website or clicking on the videos below.


The Passing of Shojiro Sugiyama

From Kentaro Sugiyama: To my Facebook Friends and many Friends of Karate,

It is with a heavy heart that I must inform you of the passing of my father, Shojiro Sugiyama. My father, also simply known as "Sensei" among his students and many karate circles, quietly and peacefully passed away in his sleep on Thursday, June 25, 2015, at 1 AM, at his home in Skokie, Illinois. My mother and I were at his side. He was 85 years old.

Per Japanese custom and my father"s wishes, there was no funeral, ceremony, or memorial. He was cremated on Saturday and his remains were brought home on Tuesday. When the time comes, my mother wishes to be cremated, combined with my father"s remains, and have their ashes scattered in Lake Michigan.

If you knew my father, you would understand that he would not have wanted to draw attention to himself. Also, with Japanese culture, my mother does not wish to make an imposition on anyone regarding my father"s passing, preferring to keep it quiet and private, at least during the initial seven-day mourning period (shonanoka). Therefore, please, flowers or donations to charity are not necessary; however, your thoughts and prayers are most appreciated.

My mother and I would like to thank close friends of the family for their thoughts and support during this difficult time. We would also like to express our gratitude to my father"s numerous odeshisan, literally meaning "disciple", "adherent", "pupil", "follower", or "student", for their many, many years of patronage, support, and friendship. My father may not have expressed it openly, but he was very proud of his students and their many accomplishments in the field of Karate. I am sure that he was honored to have had the opportunity to instruct, and in return, be instructed in the many mysteries of life.

With deepest gratitude and blessings,

Kentaro Sugiyama



On Saturday, July 11th, the U.S. Chito-kai held its annual summer training at Big Bone Lick State Park in Boone County, Kentucky. Many karate brothers and sisters travelled from far and wide to participate. We were also lucky enough to have a few of our cousins from other styles join in as well. After the training, we were treated to a family style picnic in the nearby shelter. Thanks again to Okusan for all of the hard work she put into organizing another successful event. Thanks also go out to the Shochugeiko instructors and the many behind-the-scenes helpers without which the event would not be possible.

Audra State Park


The annual Audra State Park camp and seminar happened on August 8, 2015. There was a nice turn out and the training sessions went well. The day started with a warm-up and basics led by Shihan Drummond. Renshi Schmidt reviewed kata with the advanced students while Kyoshi Kembre worked with the Green Belts and Shihan Lingo worked with the Orange and yellow Belts. Later, Shihan Collis worked with everyone on Kumite concepts, and Renshi Schmidt ended with the bo kata Sakugawa No Kon Sho. During the seminar, Kyoshi Hawkins worked with Ik-kyu and Shodan candidates that are considering testing in front of the National Test Board in October. After the seminar and a cool-off in the river there was a cookout with excellent food and good conversations. If you missed out on attending this year, start making plans to attend next August. Shihan Drummond and Sesei Michael Messigner host a great seminar.

September Black Belt Class

After the summer break, black belt classes resumed on September 12th, 2015. There was a good turnout with representatives from the United States Chito-kai in addition to other schools/styles. The class started with a discussion about the secrets of karate backed by some excerpts from a few books. We then proceeded to run through deck drills and several kata with an emphasis on exercising those secrets. Much of the core part of the class focused on Potsai (with an effort to help out our guest Ni-kyu's) & Sanshiryu. We wrapped up the day working on a partner kata called Hagi Kuri that was learned at the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai's 2015 Kensho Kai.

October Black Belt Class

Black Belt class was held on Saturday October 3rd. The class was opened by Kyoshi Kembre and the warm up's were led by Jeff Thompson from Northern Ky Karate Club. Renshi Eric Ford taught the first session of kicking techniques on the punching bags and the makiwari with various stretching exercises to work on correct foot positioning. Renshi Gerald Meade had the second session of kokyu waza, breathing exercises to take the opponents center. He related Chito-ryu to Aikido techniques emphasizing the breathing.

National Test Board

The United States Chito Kai National testing was held on Friday night October 17, at the Yoseikan Hombu in Covington, Ky. The test board was comprised of: Kyoshi Lawrence Hawkins Jr. ESQ., Kyoshi Sherry Dometrich Kembre, Renshi Eric Ford, Renshi John Wellbrock and Shihan William Jansak. Renshi Don Schmidt ran the test and Shihan Shawna Lingo handled the paperwork. Those who tested were awarded the following ranks:
Guy Kaiser    Yoseikan Anderson Dojo    Ik-Kyu
Brian Cobb    Yoseikan Anderson Dojo    Ik-Kyu
Shawn Brown    Hombu Dojo    Ik-Kyu
Tasha Payne    Hombu Dojo    Sho Dan
Jake Solomon    Yoseikan Anderson Dojo    Sho Dan
Zach Locklear    Ft. Bragg Dojo    Sho Dan
Zach Bowling    Yoseikan Anderson Dojo    Sho Dan
Skip Collier    Yoseikan II Dojo    San Dan
Dr. Willie Elliot    Yoseikan II Dojo    Go Dan


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.

November Black Belt Class

On Saturday, November 7th, Black Belt Class was held at the Hombu Dojo. Thanks to all that participated in this splendid class. The class started off with Renshi Schmidt leading the class with Kihon Kata Ichi, Ni and San. These kata were introduced to us in 1979 by Chitose Sensei's son Waka when he visited the Hombu dojo. Kihon Kata Ichi is a green two kata, Kihon Kata Ni is a brown two kata and Kihon Kata San is a black three kata. These kata get more complicated as the rank increases. The class then went into kata application, taught by Kyoshi Jerry Beshears, looking for defense or attack that can relate to the kata in a natural posture.

Multiple Dojos Come Together To Celebrate Meiyo Hanshi's Birthday

On Saturday, December 5th, members of the hombu and Yoseikan Anderson dojos participated in the 10a Saturday morning class at the hombu to honor Meiyo Hanshi (Okusan) Barbara Dometrich's birthday (on Sunday). After the class, there was a celebration with pot-luck food and birthday cake.

December Black Belt Class

The December Black Belt Class was held on December 5th at the hombu dojo. Renshi John Wellbrock led the first segment going over a Gojo-ryu kata that has tai sabaki and many moves shared with Chito-ryu. Renshi Don Schmidt closed out the class going over hip snap. Afterward, several members from the hombu, Yoseikan II and Yosekan Anderson gathered to share some birthday cake and wish Meiyo Hanshi (Okusan) Barbara Dometrich a very happy birthday.