The Newsletter Taira Masaji Sensei's  Okinawa Gojuryu Kenkyukai
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June 2014 Newsletter

Welcome to the Okinawa Gojuryu Kenkyukai Newsletter for June 2014

This was going to be a May newsletter, but too much travel got in the way. I know you'll all feel sorry for me heading off to the US and Paris for seminars with Taira sensei. Tragic, I know. 

The next seminar is in Lithuania with Airaras Engelaitis (I can't go), then New York with Chuck Nuccio 

And we have the first of our Dojo and Instructor Profiles: Glenn Cunningham Sensei's Staten Island Kouketsu Dojo, and a short one for Tanka Ramos and John & Nancly Eccles.


France Seminar 2014

Brendan Murray.

This year I decided to make the trip to Paris to train with Taira Sensei, at the seminars run by Nirina and Vero Rakatozafiminahy and Pascal Duroux. It was an opportunity to catch up with our European members, people that couldn't make it to Okinawa last year, and to see how it is all done in France.  I took one of my students with me, Lynley Nesbit, for her first European excursion. Since I had gone so far, for a change I took a bit more time and explored Paris. Usually I travel the world and see the dojo and the bars, and forget to take my camera out of my bag. The camera got a workout. If you've been to Paris - lucky you, and you'll be bored by the history and the culture. If you haven't ---- go! 

Taira sensei arrived Tuesday morning, as did we, so Nirina et al met us at the airport. We went to a cafe near the site of the Bastille.   I'd been told before that Parisians are rude, the waiters are ignorant, and nobody would speak English. Apart from that one waiter at that first cafe nothing could be more wrong. My Parisian hosts even said they'd never go there again, the waiter was awful. Though I don't think he was much worse than the ones at home. 

For the next 7 days it was training - sessions at Pascal's small dojo in Paris under a pretty cool sword shop, nice mats, good space. Taira sensei concentrated on kata and a little bunkai. Evenings were at Nirina and Vero's dojo in Vanves, which was great to see - you want to know how others teach.    That was the pattern for Tue, Wed and the last Monday before Taira Sensei left. 

The seminar was Thu - Sunday, with a dinner in Paris on Thursday night and the welcome party on Saturday night. Not sure about the Welcome on Saturday - Sunday was a very slow day in the dojo!  Taira sensei was on form, working on a variety of open close drills, largely modelled on his approach to the Tensho or end-of-Sanseiru hand motions --- outside/outside, inside/outside, inside/inside. It was all very confusing for some, and at least a little confusing for most.  Ashi waza got a good run as well.

On Friday afternoon a grading was run and the quality was great. It was good to watch and be part of a grading for shodan, nidan and sandan. The kata were good, the  focus was good, and the bunkai good and well practiced. Taira sensei's only criticism  was that the bunkai were too elaborate, repeating his desire to see simple and clean Kihon Bunkai for gradings. Everyone passed of course.

Taira sensei left Tuesday morning, so we spent the next couple of days in Museums and Art Galleries. And Disneyland.  I loved Paris, everyone was nice and welcoming, and the Parisians all seemed like very nice people.  A highlight was a bar that Freddy Lsseure found in  Malikoff that had a nice selection of Belgian beer. I don't think I actually had ANY French beer while I was there - maybe next time. 


Dojo Profile: Staten Island Kouketsu Dojo

About the Staten Island Kouketsu Dojo

Our mission and teaching philosophy

The mission of the Staten Island Kouketsu Dojo is to develop and discipline the human spirit. This discipline must be self-imposed in order for it to be meaningful; however external discipline is required in order to learn internal discipline. The method of training and practice is the same - constant repetition of both solo and partner exercises. The actual movements are secondary to the spirit or approach of the student.

The goal of this Dojo is not the attainment of a particular belt or fighting skill but rather the process of learning itself, everything else is a by-product of the training. In martial arts we frequently speak of the practice of our arts as the Way or “Do” - a term that symbolizes process.

The martial arts represent the means to the end - the process or the path. It is not physical prowess at the art that is important but rather mental attitude and state of mind while engaged in the art. This Dojo along with your hard work and training will show you the way.

Our tradition

We teach Okinawan Goju-ryu Karate-Jutsu. Goju-ryu (剛柔流), (Japanese for "hard-soft style") is one of the main traditional Okinawan styles of karate, featuring a combination of hard and soft techniques. Both principles, hard and soft, come from the famous martial arts book Bubishi (Chinese: wu bei ji), used by Okinawan masters during the 19th and 20th centuries. Go which means hard, refers to closed hand techniques or straight linear attacks; Ju which means soft, refers to open hand techniques and circular movements.

Our roots

We teach Okinawan Gojuryu Karate-Jutsu. This Dojo is one of the first Shibu of the Okinawa Goju Ryu Kenkyukai.

A good teacher whose name will become known throughout the world, is one who has gone through many years of difficult training, suffered through and overcome difficult living conditions, and yet does not boast about it. He must always let this example filter down to others and guide them on their path.

Sensei Glenn Cunningham

Glenn Cunningham, married 17 years with triplets, is a retired NYPD Second Grade Detective with 20 years experiance working in Homicide Investigation, Computer Crimes, Kidnapping, Hostage Negotiations, City Wide Gangs, Street Robberies, Narcotics and International Terrorism and has received the prestigious NYPD Medal of Valor.

He has studied the martial arts for over 33 years and is the owner of the Kouketsu Dojo, a branch of the Masaji Taira Sensei's Okinawa Gojuryu Kenkyukai. Cunningham Sensei was graded by Miyazato Sensei in Sept.1999 to Roku-Dan (6th Dan) and in 2008 he was promoted to Kyoshi Nana-Dan (7th Dan) by the Jundokan grading board members. In 2012 Taira Sensei replaced the Kouketsu Dojo Shibucho with his own from the Kenkyukai along with Kyoshi Nana-Dan ranking.

Sensei Tanka Ramos

At the recent New Jersey seminar Wilson Tanka Ramos was accepted as a Shibucho of the Okinawa Gojuryu Kenkyukai.

Tanka sensei is from Connecticut and has a long history of martial arts training, beginning way back in 1963 when he took up Judo. He moved quickly to karate, then Choo Duk Kwan while in the army.   He achieved 1st dan in JKA  Karate and Chun Doo Kwan. After the army he Kung Fu and a few varieties of Goju Ryu Karate - Nisei Goju Ryu and Chinese Goju Association.

He eventually joined Chuck Merriman sensei's organisation and now, after many seminars and training opportunities has chosen to train with Taira Sensei.

John & Nancy Eccles

John Eccles Sensei was accepted as a Shibucho and promoted to Godan at the New Jersey Seminar. They have both been training in Taira sensei's methods with Chuck Nuccio Sensei of Pleanantvile, New York.
John provided the following short bio:

John Eccles began his training in Okinawan Goju-Ryu when he joined the Mt. Kisco, New York dojo of Master Seikichi Toguchi's Shorei-Kan organization in 1973. He was fortunate enough to have taken direct training with Master Toguchi but was taught more extensively by Toguchi's students Sensei Toshio Tamano and Sensei Kazkuni Miyagi among others.  In the late 90's John began taking instruction with Sensei Kowloon Ong in both Okinawan Goju-Ryu and Matayoshi kobudo.

Nancy Eccles began her training in Okinawan Goju-Ryu in 2005. Nancy had already been training in Tang Soo Do for ten years achieving the rank of Nidan and senior instructor.

 John and Nancy both have had extensive tournament experience and have competed at both a regional and national level. In 2006 they founded their "Shoshin Dojo" in Glasco N.Y. It is the only school teaching traditional Okinawa Goju-Ryu and kobudo in the Hudson Valley area. 

Upcoming Seminars

  • Lithuania 18-20 July. Aivaras Engalaitis
  • San Diego August. Paul Enfield
  • New York August. Chuck Nuccio
  • Dunedin New Zealand 31 Oct - 2 Nov. Brendan Murray 
  • Brisbane Australia 8/9 Nov. Sinn Chew
  • Gold Coast, Australia 14-15 March 2015 Damien Martin
  • Melbourne, Australia 21-22 March 2015 Pete Keogh
  • Iowa 24-24 May 2015 Brian Loterbauer
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