In June, 2006, I traveled to Kasukabe and Tsukuba
City, in Japan, to join the Ryusei Embukai, attend
a clinic by Sakamoto-Sensei and train with Okashita-Sensei
I was accompanied by two of my senior students, Warren
Tresidder and David Waterman.
On June 24, we were invited to witness a demonstration
of technique by Sakamoto-Sensei, which was held as
a special occasion the day before the Ryusei Embukai
at Kasukabe Budokan. Only a few patrons of the dojo
and senior students were invited to attend, and I count
myself most fortunate to have been invited to witness
this remarkable demonstration.
Before the 2006 Embukai at
the Kasukabe Budokan in Japan, Sakamoto-Sensei gave
special demonstration of his technique, displaying
his mastery of of todi Gung Fu.
Sakamoto-Sensei dressed in traditional Okinawan martial
arts attire for part of the demonstratio, and changed
to his karate dogi for his concluding kata. The demonstration
of todi lasted for approximately one hour, with Sakamoto-Sensei
performing these kata:
Kai no Te
I took this order from the program, and have only identified the names as translated.
It was difficult to mark the transition from one kata to the next, as Sakamoto-Sensei
appeared to flow immediately into the next form, while at others he retired
to change or get a bo.
I was awed as I witnessed the complexity of his footwork, hand motions and
breathing. I have seen DVD of a previous and similar demonstration in Canada,
and I felt that Sakamoto-Sensei has developed his technique still further,
explored new elements of kata and was more intense overall.
If the point of the Embukai it was to offer a testimonial to Sakamoto-Sensei’s
development and understanding of todi, then I believe it was highly successful.
I have indeed moved towards that format in dan gradings in Australia as a result
of witnessing this demonstration. Apart from the performance of the required
curriculum, dan grades here are given scope to express in bunkai, Henshuho
or their own design, their understandings of Chitokai and its principles at
this point in their karate journey.
demonstrated their kobudo technique at the Embukai,
including bo versus sai kumite.
With extraordinarily complex hand and foot technique, and breathing, Sakamoto-Sensei
demonstrated his Gung Fu, but again as one who has not previously witnessed
the kata, I wasn’t sure whether Gung Fu was one kata or a summation
of his overall understanding of todi.
Once again I felt privileged to be able to have a training association with
Sakamoto-Sensei. His depth of research and rigorous pursuit of O-Sensei’s
technique has led to a marked and increasing gulf between what is presented
as Chito-Ryu today and the direction that Sakamoto-Sensei is taking.
I also participated in the actual Ryusei Embukai. It was enlightening to be
a part of this demonstration. Watching the kata and demonstrations of the
Ryusei members, I could see more clearly the emphases that Sakamoto-Sensei
places on particular aspects of what I had understood to be Chito-Ryu. His
students had very strong, deeply rooted stances and a very good understanding
of breathing technique. Demonstrations of ki development; Henshuho done in
pairs, similar to pushing hands; drunken kata; powerful eku and bo demonstrations;
and a beautiful demonstration of the animal qualities in conflict drawn from
Bassai and Rohai, indicated that his and Okashita’s students have a
clear direction in pursuit of todi.
Following the embukai and clinic by Sakamoto-Sensei, we journeyed to Tsukuba
by way of Nikko (an immensely enjoyable detour) and trained for one week
with Okashita-Sensei. His technique is excellent and he is a patient teacher.
Sakamoto-Sensei’s direction is difficult to follow due to the gulf
between his level and my own, but through Okashita-Sensei I believe that
I have a glimmer of the direction I need to take. One can only train hard
daily, enjoy the journey and see where it takes us.
— Brian Hayes, 6th Dan Renshi, Australian Chitokai Karate Association