|| Over the last
year, Ryusei Karate-Do Canada has seen some remarkable
growth. Until January, our organization had only one dojo
with a few members, Barrie Ryusei Karate. Then in January
2002, Peter Zehr and Matthew Mannerow, who used to belong
to the Canadian Chito-Ryu association, joined Ryusei Karate-Do.
Peter Zehr 4th dan, is the sensei of Matthew
Mannerow, 2nd dan. Together they run two schools
in Ontario: Grey-Bruce Wiarton and Grey-Bruce Desboro
Ryusei Karate Dojo. They have about 25 students, and I
have another 18 at my Barrie dojo.
The goals of Peter (who is a provincial police
officer) and Matt are to learn the Ryusei concepts, to
get a softer body in their techniques and to work on
their development of tanden breathing and ki. They are
not interested in tournament fighting but want to
concentrate on bunkai, kata study and practise with
partnersthe practical applications of karate. Peter
Zehr has had to use karate techniques to subdue
criminals a couple of times in his line of work.
Then last summer I was approached by Jean Lauzon and
his wife, Chantal Lepage, former Chito-Ryu members who
run a dojo in Sherbrooke, Quebec. They remembered
Sakamoto-Sensei from his visits in Canada and were
interested in learning more about the organization. They
traveled with their two children to my house in Barrie,
last August, to train and talk. Our sessions together
went very well and they asked to join Ryusei Karate-Do.
Jean Lauzon is a criminal psychologist who started in
judo and then switched to karate in 1992. He used to be
an assistant instructor under Jean-Noel Blanchette at
the University of Sherbrooke. With about 30 members, he
and Chantal run the Onna no Karatedo Dojo, which teaches
just women, of all ages. Chantal has a strong interest
in helping to stop violence against women, and also
gives special self-defence clinics to women's centers
and Crime Prevention programs to college girls.
Supervised by Jean, she is the primary instructor at the
dojoperhaps the only one of its kind in Canada. Jean
also instructs men in semi-private lessons.
Jean Lauzon and Chantal
Lepage with students after the first Ryusei grading
at the Onna no Karatedo
Dojo in Sherbrooke, Quebec.
Over the next year, Jean wants to really study the
Ryusei approach to kata and then to do his nidan
examination. He also wants to study Japanese language
more, to help with communications between our two
countries. For her part, Chantal also wants to study
Ryusei kata further and test for her shodan. She wants
to get her dojo and Ryusei karate better known to more
Quebec women, and help to reduce the incidence of
violence against females.
Over the past year, we have seen some other positive
developments in this country. Peter Zehr, Matt Mannerow
and I worked together to get the first printing of a
Canadian Ryusei certificate. Jean Lauzon then made
French certificate made for his province. Jean Lauzon
also led the way in a project to get the first Ryusei gi
crests made in North America.
In 2003, I want to make sure the Ryusei Web site
stays up to date. Sakamoto-Sensei and Jean Lauzon of
Quebec are currently working on Japanese and French
versions of the Web site. In the future, we should start
working on a technical manual to help our students learn
Overall, we have a very positive feeling about how
Ryusei karate is developing in our country. Our main
concern is to work together to understand Sakamoto-Sensei's
approach to karate. We are doing this by working out
together when we can, by studying videos of Sakamoto-Sensei
and Okashita-Sensei, and by trading information through
the Internet and by phone. For our growth and understanding,
I think it is important that we get a chance to work
out with Sakamoto-Sensei in person. We also think it
is important to use the expertise of Okashita-Sensei
and Sakai-Sensei as well. We would also like to be able
to send instructors to Japan to study Ryusei karate.
We intend to work closely with Roland Figgs-Sensei
and the Ryusei Karate-Do U.S.A. to understand Ryusei
karate and make it grow. Over this next year, we plan to
arrange a number of clinics, so that the Canadian
instructors, and Figgs-Shihan of the U.S. can get
together to work out and help one another. For my part,
I would like to go down at least once to the U.S. to
work out with Figgs-Shihan and his students.