U.S. HISTORY (2021 - )

Happy New Year and More

Dear Karate Ka,
Please have a safe New Year, we will all be together again soon.
The year 2020 has been a very challenging one for multiple reasons and while we have not been able to have our national functions I am hopeful that we will be able to be together next year. The United States Chito-kai is functioning well with in person classes and Zoom session when needed. Please be assured that the organization is still in operation. We will send out information for upcoming national events when needed. Please check your email often.
This past September I underwent lower back surgery to relieve a pinched nerve. The lack of blood circulation to the nerve resulted in my having drop foot. My doctor's and therapist are hopeful that I will regain the ability to walk unassisted in a few months. They tell me it takes time, but you know how I am; I want it fixed yesterday.
Because of Covid-19 protocols we will not have Kagami Baraki in person this year. I have sent out a lesson plan that you may want to follow with a workout at your home. If you do please have someone take some pictures of you working out and send them to me. The workout is centered on Chito-ryu so our Shotokan friends please feel free to adapt it to meet your needs.
I would like to thank everyone who has helped out at the dojo and Shawna Lingo for taking me to and from my doctor and physical therapy appointments. Your help while I'm away is appreciated and for all of those who have kept in touch with me during this time.
Please stay healthy and safe and keep in touch. I look forward to getting together with my Chito-ryu and Shotokan family sometime next year. We will get through this together and with all of your dedication to learning karate we will persevere together. I do appreciate it when you respond to my emails so I know that you have received them, thank you.
Happy New Year,
Meiyo Hanshi (Okusan)

Kangeiko 2021

by Chris Brueckner
COVID-19 won't stop us from continuing the annual tradition started by Hanshi Dometrich over 39 years ago of holding a special training session on one of the coldest nights/mornings of the year. Kangeiko in the U.S. Chito-kai usually starts with a hearty dinner on Friday night, followed by a (very) few hours of sleep, then rigorous training starting around 3 a.m. and lasting well into the morning. The training then traditionally finishes with an outdoor run, warm tea and a hearty breakfast.
This year however, COVID-19 protocols prevented us from holding Kangeiko at the honbu, but not even a global pandemic could stop us from keeping this treasured tradition from occurring.
While Hanshi is no longer with us in the physical world, his spirit was with us across the geographically diverse locations in which 26 participants joined via Zoom from locations in the U.S. such as Florida, Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia and internationally from the U.K. and France.
The morning started off at 6 a.m. with warm-ups and kihon led by Sensei Bill DiGrezio. Sensei Matt Cowherd led the next section working on dachi no waza, seiken no migi hidari and shime no kata. The third of four sessions was led by Shihan Shawna Lingo who focused on the Kihon katas. We wrapped up the training with our "cleanup batter" Renshi Eric Ford. Did I mention Renshi Ford started off the morning talking about the lineup of instructors using a baseball analogy? If you've been to any class or clinic where Renshi Ford has been an instructor, I bet you can take a good guess what we focused on during his session. That's right, kicks! However, this time, there was a twist and while we did focus on 4 basic kicks on their own, Renshi Ford later combined them with a common tai sabaki drill that's usually performed with punches. By the end of the training, I was thankful we were targeting our imaginary opponent's knees and not something higher up.
Training wrapped up and I went to my front door to anxiously await my breakfast food delivery but alas it never arrived. In fact, I'm joking about that part, but wouldn't that have been something? Instead, I heated up some water and enjoyed a quiet cup of warm tea and thought back on Kangeiko 2021. While it was unfortunate that the traditional U.S. Chito-kai Kangeiko couldn't occur, it was heartening to see a full Zoom gallery and know that the spirit of the event couldn't be broken. Thank you to Renshi Ford, Shihan Lingo, Sensei DiGrezio and Sensei Cowherd for carrying the torch.