The 4th Kyokushin Karate Seminar, with special guest instructor Shihan Eduard (Eddy) Gabathuler 7th Dan, the national representative of IFK Switzerland, organized by Sensei Jonathan C. Hemond of Karate Laval, and sponsored by IFK Canada, welcomed more than 75 participants and took place May 16th to 19th, 2019.
Shihan Gabathuler supervises nearly 21 IFK schools in Switzerland. IFK Switzerland has more than 700 members. He is active in senior knock-down competition at age 60 and fought in Japan in March 2019. Shihan Eddy travels around the world to share his vast knowledge about Kyokushin Karate. In addition to teaching the syllabus of Hanshi Steve Arneil and fighting techniques, he likes to put a lot of emphasis on the Katas and their Bunkai, literally meaning "analysis" or "disassembly", of kata, exercises of relaxation and endurance. Not to mention his pleasure to teach various self defense techniques of Kansetsu-Waza , or joint-locks”to control adversaries.
Part of the journey to Canada of Shihan Eddy Gabathuler was to do a review of the IFK Syllabus with the Canadian students. Note: Hanshi Arneil recognized the issue with remembering all the requirements for each rank and developed a systematic grading syllabus for the IFK. With each grade, you are exposed to more techniques, and kata obviously, with increasing complexity.
The belt testing lasted for more than 6 hours and all aspects of the syllabus were demonstrated by each student from the 3rd kyu level to the 3rd dan. The movements were to be performed on both the left and right side and repeated constantly in different positions and movements.
The first class started with children aged 5 to 10. Kihon techniques (basics) as well as renraku (fighting sequences) made up most of this class. The children also learned break-fall techniques, to learn how to fall without getting hurt.
The second class was devoted to adults. Warm-up techniques and learning the mechanics of the body. He demonstrated some techniques of taikiken or Ikken. Taikiken is a Japanese martial art, greatly inspired by Yi Quan, a Chinese system of martial arts. Taikiken was founded by Kenichi Sawai and one of his most famous students was the founder of Kyokushin, Mas Oyama, who incorporated elements of Taikiken into Kyoushin. Please Note, there is no link between taiji quan (Tai Chi) and taikiken: taiki”, is to differentiate it from “taiji” (tai chi). They are completely different martial arts.
Shihan Eddy emphasized the importance of details and how to execute techniques properly. He told us that the reason he continues to practice and teach karate at age 60 is that he always exercises flexibility, relaxation and muscle building at every class since he was 15 years old. .
Shihan Eddy's first class, early in the afternoon, was a referee course for knockdown tournaments. Chart, diagrams and terminology were the main themes of this course. A theoretical and physical practice on judging and refereeing.
Friday evening was children’s class, which began with a warm-up session, followed by the practice of the 10th Kyu kihon movements. He insisted on the concept of distance with sliding of the foot on the ground. Then, he trained with the renrakus and a series of combat sequences executed on the training shields. He practiced somersaults, rolls, which were appreciated by the children.
Then, after a short rest, the first two-hour part of the belt test began. During this time, participants began by demonstrating all Kihon movements from the white belt to green belt.
During the first class on Saturday morning, Shihan Eddy taught moving within the basic positions. He then did a review of the three taikyoku kata.
The next class for adults was part of testing, from noon to 4:15PM. The atmosphere was at its peak and we felt the focus of each student participant.
One of the distinguishing features of belt testing, according to Kyokushin's syllabus, is that with each new belt pass, you must demonstrate that you are proficient in all levels, up to the level for which you are presenting, and not only the technical aspect of the belt that you grading for. For example, 3rd dan candidates had to pass the technical exams from the previous 12 levels (10th kyu to 2nd dan) before passing their level (3rd dan). Shihan Eddy explained to us that the underlying reason is that when you reach black belt levels, you are not only a karateka, but also a teacher and model for the lower belts. If you cannot master all the techniques and katas of previous rankings, you probably should not go to the next belt. At any time, Shihan Eddy Gabathuler asked the participants to explain certain movements or demonstrate them in front of the class. They had to be able to name them in Japanese and explain the operation to the other participating students.
In addition to demonstrating the17 hand techniques and 21 leg techniques, created by Hanshi Steve Arneil as warm up exercises and now used throughout the IFK and other Kyokushin groups as a dynamic stretch and to develop strong limbs, the participants performed all the kata, including in ura, endurance and stamina exercises, as well as 10 fights and tameshiwari (breaking boards).
During this seminar and belt testing under the supervision of Shihan Eddy Gabathuler, we were proud to graduate students from various IFK Canada dojos to the rank of 3rd kyu including: Denis Bouthillier, Stéphane Thibault, Marc Gaudreau, Melissa Hulme and Annie Auclair. 2nd kyu rank: Natália Aragao, Geneviève Glissen and Djugurta Mezine. Ann-Laure Germain at the rank of 1st kyu.
Not to mention the new black belt graduates including: Senpai Ève Marie Lessard (1st dan), Senpai Claudine Forget (1st dan), Senpai Étienne Gagné (1st dan), Senpai Élie Chassé (2nd dan), Senpai Jérôme Dextraze Chassé (2nd dan ), Sensei Alexandre Roy (3rd dan).
We congratulate them all for their exemplary determination during this great event. They managed to stay the course until the end with incredible perseverance.
Following their participation in this testing, some students also received their official IFK certificates and belts handed out by Sensei Steve Fogarasi , IFK Canada President and Country Representative: Senpai Eddy Fraga (1st dan), Senpai Christian Charbonneau (1st dan), Sensei Denis Lyrette and Sensei Sylvain D'astous (3rd dan).
A special event was also the promotion and awarding the 6th Dan for Shihan Real Gagnon and Shihan Gaetan Sauve by Sensei Steve.
On Saturday evening all participants enjoyed a buffet, provided by Traiteur DV.
The last day consisted of 3 classes. One tonfa class for children, another for adults and the last class in the evening was a bunkai and waza, or applications for self-defense.
One of Shihan Eddy's specialties in weapons is tonfa. As a police officer in Switzerland he knows how to handle the tonfa not only in the dojo, but in the reality of the street, through police work or anti-riot tactics. Shihan Eddy was in Virginia at the FBI headquarters last year, where he trained FBI agents and the riot squad with the PR-24 (the name given to tonfa by the police). He demonstrated to everyone at the seminar how to use tonfas as a basic technique and as a technique to control an individual, as practiced by police forces around the world. Participants loved this practice.
Thank you to IFK Canada Vice-president Sensei Jonathan C. Hémond for organizing this event, as well as other who contributed, including Oleg Vainshtein of Contact Kicks (CKMA) Toronto and Senpai Marco Lavoie, Rimouski Karate Center, for photos taken during this event.
Thank you to Sempai Mici Fogarasi , IFK Canada Secretary General for all the work done to complete the applications and memberships.
Also a huge thank you to Shihan Mike Monaco from the USA IFK and the students who participated at the seminar.
For French report, please click here.
More photos from the event can be seen here