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Winter Madness


With the coming of winter, Ryusei karateka in both Japan and North America went a little nuts. We started going outside to test our spirit and bodies with "snow training." The madness started in November when Ryusei yudansha in Ontario, Canada, took to backyard training with the first snowfall. We were one-upped by Jean Lauzon and Chantal Lepage of Quebec, who trained in snow in their gis and bare feet. Not to be outdone, Sakamoto-Sensei and other Japanese Ryusei yudansha went one step further, training outside without shoes or gi tops.

On New Year's day, many of us on both continents practiced Shihohai kata outdoors. Translating as "Salute to Four Sides," the kata Shihohai is a special ceremonial kata. It is performed to open demonstrations and, especially, on New Year's Day. The kata opens with punches in four directions÷a salute to the four quarters. In doing this, according to Sakamoto-Sensei, the kata pays homage to the practice of the Emperor of Japan, who on New Year's Day performs a ritual that is also called Shihohai. In it the emperor does reverence in the directions of various shrines and imperial tombs and offers prayers for the well-being of the nation. For more information on the background of this kata, go to http://www.chitoryu.ca/cottreau/kata.html#Shihohai

And enjoy some of our pictures of winter training:

David Martin and Matt Mannerow practise kumite after the first snowfall in Barrie, Ontario, Canada.

Peter Giffen  doing open-hand Niseishi kata.


Chantal Lepage  and Jean Lauzon practise outdoors, without shoes, in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada.

Sakamoto-Sensei and Sakai-Sensei perform Sanchin in a Japanese winter.

Sakamoto-Sensei meditates under a cold waterfall on New Year's Day.