2012 Shihan Tockar's New Year Message
Welcome back to the dojo after the year-end break.
I hope that you are well and rested, and ready for a good year of training. 2011 was an outstanding year for us, and I hope that 2012 will be even better.
The highlight of the 2011 year was of course the 10th World Open Karate Tournament in Tokyo. The World Tournament, under the auspices of the International Karate Organisation Kyokushinkaikan, is held every 4 years, and is undoubtedly the world’s premier karate event. The tournament follows the rules of the IKO, namely full-contact, no protective gear, no weight divisions. There is one champion, who is truly the world’s best knockdown fighter. Teams are carefully selected from all over the world, with only the very best being chosen to participate. We are very proud of the fact that Anthony Tockar was chosen as part of the 8-man South Pacific Team that was fully sponsored by the Japanese, while we are equally proud of the fact that Reece Henderson was chosen as a member of the 8-man South Pacific selection team that was partly sponsored by the Japanese. Both Anthony and Reece trained very hard for the tournament, with Anthony travelling overseas for 3 months to enhance his training. Anthony and Reece fought with great courage in the tournament, and acquitted themselves well. I was very proud of Anthony’s performance, and was proud also of the fact that I believe that Anthony and I are the only father and son to have participated in the World Tournament (it being so that I represented South Africa at the 1st World Tournament in 1975).
It was wonderful that about 20 of our members accompanied us to Japan, and took part in training with previous world champion, Hitoshi Kiyama, and attended the training camp at Mt. Mitsumine. It was an experience that will never be forgotten.
What was particularly pleasing is that at the Mt. Mitsumine camp Alex Karnasopoulos and Michael Stavila were graded to Sandan (3rd Dan), elevating them to “Sensei” rank. The criteria for receiving a high rank in the IKO are very high (I dare say far higher than in other groups and styles), and this makes the achievement of Alex and Michael all the more impressive. It is unfortunate that Michael has now returned to his home country of Ukraine, but we hope to see him back in the not too distant future.
Also participating in the World Tournament was Jorge Ibacache, a member of the Chilean national team, who has been training with us for the past 9 months. Jorge will probably have to return to Chile soon and we will miss him greatly. However, if there is anyone out there who can offer Jorge and his girlfriend, Monsarrat, a part-time job in Sydney while they continue studying English (they are both qualified veterinary surgeons, but are not qualified to work in Australia), we will be able to keep Jorge training with us. He is an excellent person and a fantastic karateka, and it would be great if we could have him remain with us.Another fine acquisition for the dojo in 2011 was Alex Molev, from Israel. Alex is a 2nd Dan of the highest quality and he has been a wonderful gain for the dojo. Alex has much international competition experience, and his ability and manner truly exemplifies the spirit of Kyokushin.
We now have an excellent group of seniors, and it is pleasing to see how the intermediate grades are improving and how the novice group is increasing. Remember that the best advertising is word-of-mouth, and I encourage you all to make every effort to introduce new members to the dojo – particularly at the beginning of the year.
The group that has been most impressive is the children and teenagers. Sensei Alex has done an amazing job, and numbers have doubled over the last year! I thank Alex and all those who have assisted her in achieving this fantastic result. We now have about 170 children training at the dojo, and hope to see this number increase to over 200 in the first term of 2012.
The Paddington dojo, under the direction of Sensei Lyle Abel, made its start in 2011, and I truly hope that 2012 will see this dojo take off. It is well-situated and well-appointed, and Sensei Lyle’s teaching is excellent, inventive and always interesting. Tell your friends, relatives, associates, etc about this dojo, and do not forget that at the Paddington dojo there are also classes in Yagyu Shingan Ryu ju-jutsu and swordsmanship conducted by the extraordinary Sempai Sarah Lappin, who also teaches Shintaido (a martial art designed to develop your ki) at the dojo.
Further west, at Mt. Druitt, our associate dojo, under the directorship of Sensei Darren Parrott and under the instruction of Sempai Steve Koshaba, is doing very well. Their membership has increased substantially and there are now about 60 or more students training with Steve. Sempei Steve did very well to be promoted at our year-end grading to 2nd Dan, and we hope that 2012 will see the Mt. Druitt students continue to do well in our tournaments and continue to grow in numbers.
2012 promises to be a great year for the dojo. I am presently in negotiations to have the head of our organization, the legendary Kancho Matsui, visit us and am tentatively looking at some time in May 2012. I hope to also have 3 of the very top Shihans in the IKO accompany Kancho to Australia and to conduct classes at our dojo – namely Shihan Kenny Uytenbogaardt of South Africa, Shihan Stuart Corrigal of Canada and Shihan Gorai of the USA. I am also hoping that some other famous Kyokushin karateka might be able to join us for the seminars – watch this space!
On 5, 6 & 7 October 2012 I hope to attend the North American & International Black Belt Conference at Banff in Canada (in the Rockies). This is a great event, with instruction from Kancho Matsui and other very senior teachers, and I suggest that all senior members of the dojo strongly consider joining me for the event. The Canadians have promised to look after us and to arrange sight- seeing, excursions, etc. Start saving now!
See you on the floor in 2012.