10 Reasons why you should register to attend the IOGKF world Budosai

Every once in a while life throws rare opportunities your way. Whether we take them up or not is our decision to make.

The 2016 IOGKF world Budosai is one of those such opportunities. This event truly is a once in a life time opportunity, whether you have been to Okinawa before of not. The question is will you seize the chance to forge lifelong memories and take the trip martial artists all around the world will be talking about in decades to come? Early bird discounts for this unique event are soon coming to a close and if you are still scratching your head, unsure whether you take the chance, then let us help convince you with ten reasons (not in any particular order) as to why you should attend the world Budosai event!

1 – The Budosai is open to all martial artists

Any martial artist is welcome to attend the world budosai. By simply writing to your IOGKF country head (our country listings can be found by clicking here), you can organise an invitation to attend the world’s biggest traditional karate event.

With no competition, no egos and nothing to lose, we have the opportunity to learn from each other, share ideas and help strengthen martial arts on a global front. The idea of IOGKF has always been to come together and try to improve ourselves, rather than trying to defeat others. It is in this fashion that you have the chance help develop the martial arts community on a global scale.

2 – Sensei Morio Higaonna

He may be the person named as the most dangerous man in Japan in a real fight by legendary historian Don Dregor. He may be the person recognised by the Japanese government as a true master of Karate. He may have been the person to spread Okinawa Goju-ryu Karate to the four corners of the globe. But to millions across the world his is known by one name: ‘Sensei’.

Higaonna Sensei has been awarded the title of a living cultural treasure by the Okinawan government. Take a second to ask yourself how many official living cultural treasure you know? That will help you appreciate how special Higaonna Sensei is.


Now in his mid seventies, Sensei Morio Higaonna’s passion and commitment to Karate hasn’t ceased or wavered. As many people know Higaonna Sensei suffered a major health scare at the start of 2015, his doctors explained that he is a living miracle and that his strong martial arts spirit and determination helped him make a full recovery. Higaonna Sensei is now back in the Dojo every day, enjoying his training and feeling as strong as ever.

He and Sensei Tetsuji Nakamura (IOGKF world chief instructor), recently demonstrated in Tokyo at the Japan traditional martial arts associations annual gathering, where Higaonna Sensei proved he still have the power, the speed and most importantly the spirit of a true Karate master. He is really the last of the old school masters, living today in our modern times. You can watch the demonstration below.

Higaonna Sensei no longer travels outside of Japan and as he grows older, he will begin instructing less as he focuses more on his own practice. By the Budosai of 2020, Higaonna Sensei will be over 80 years old, so this may well be your last opportunity to train with this supreme master as he may choose not to instruct on major events by then. This in itself is a major reason to make the journey to the Budosai.


3 – Sensei Shuichi Aragaki

The founder of Goju-ryu Karate, Master Chojun Miyagi, has become a legendary figure for all martial artists. His picture and influence can be found in major martial arts centres all across the world, even some 60 plus years after his passing. Stories of his life and times have become legendary and his training methods almost mythical. But imagine if you could hear tales of Chojun Miyagi Sensei directly from someone who was there with him when he was training?

IOGKF can provide you with this opportunity in Master Shuichi Aragaki, IOGKF advisor and the last living student of Goju-ryu founder, Chojun Miyagi Sensei. He is now in his eighties, but through many past lectures, such as the one in the video below, has provided a direct link to his teacher for those attending past world Budosai events.

His stories are translated into English and other languages for the audience and as you saw above, Aragaki Sensei prides himself on still being able to walk the walk and often prefers demonstrating. Do not miss this rare opportunity to see the last living student of the legendary Chojun Miyagi.


4 – Unique Okinawan Culture

Karate is an Okinawan art and Japanese Karate is often considered something entirely different. Okinawa Karate, like most martial arts, has an underlying principle of peace. To put this in perspective Sensei Morio Higaonna recently explained to a number of his senior students in Okinawa this year, that most Japanese houses had a set of Katana (Samurai swords) as a show piece for visitors to see and were often seen a way of commanding respect. However in Okinawa they usually had an Okinawa form of guitar instead. They did not want to be fierce and almost intimidating, they would rather play music and have fun together.

The culture of Okinawa speaks volumes for how the fundamental principles of Karate have developed and is something you cannot really feel unless you are on the island and immersed within it. From a friendly ‘Konichi wa’ of a passer-by, to a wide grin from a local shop keeper, the beautiful people and their way of living will help you understand why the Okinawan people live so long and happy. As they say, seeing is believing. Check out Higaonna Sensei’s personal invitation video to the world Budosai and you will get a glimpse of how their warm kindness, Karate and Okinawa go hand in hand with one another.


5 – Okinawan History

Okinawa is the land time forgot about. However time is slowly catching up with it. Sensei Bakkies Laubscher (senior instructor and 9th Dan within IOGKF) commented in 2010 that when he first went to Okinawa in the seventies that there were many old beautiful Okinawan buildings and that slowly over the decades more and more of them are disappearing.

Like all places, Okinawa will eventually be completely modernised, however its history and development must be experienced by all serious martial artists. The mass adversity and triumphant accomplishments throughout the history of the Okinawa people is inspiring and must been seen to be believed.

From historical Shuri Castle to the monument for Master Miyagi and Master Kanryo Higaonna, you can really feel a connection with the martial arts masters and pioneers that have come before us like no other place in the world. An upcoming article will tell you all the best places to visit in Okinawa for these sites.


6 – The Training

The world Budosai is an event held every four years. Masters from Okinawa travel extensively every year to bring true traditional Karate to the world, but every fourth year it is time for the world to come back to Karate, in its homeland of Okinawa.

The World Budosai brings the best of East meets West with some of the worlds most talented and highest graded IOGKF instructors taking to the floor to share their knowledge. IOGKF has been long known for its high technical standard and knowledgeable senior instructors. Some of the best Japanese and Okinawan instructor such as Sensei Tetsuji Nakamura (IOGKF world Chief Instructor) and the legendary Sensei Kazuo Terauchi (8th Dan), amongst others, will teach alongside Master Higaonna. While special guests from across the world will included the likes of Sensei Bakkies Laubscher (who recently celebrated his 50th anniversary of Karate training), Sensei Ernie Molyneux, Sensei Henrik Larsen (both 8th Dan and Vice Chief instructors of IOGKF worldwide) and other world class senior instructors who have been dedicated students of effective traditional Karate and Master Higaonna for over 30 plus years. Their experience is unparalleled and the opportunity to have all of these fantastic instructors in one place at once is very rare indeed. Over 20 talented instructors have been confirmed for Budosai event and named by Master Higaonna himself.

Along with this, there is nothing like the feeling you get sweating alongside over one thousand dedicated martial artists during the all grades training sessions. The roar of thousands of kiai’s all at once is both deafening and exhilarating! Take a look at a highlights video from a past IOGKF World Budosai below.


7 – The Budosai is Child and Family friendly

Another major plus for the world Budosai is that is both suitable for children and families. A separate childrens only training camp runs daily featuring instruction for both senior instructors and some of the best children’s instructors within IOGKF. Children aged seven and up can experience the benefits of Karate in the arts birthplace, giving them an experience they can cherish for the rest of their lives.

Having the opportunity to have your entire family train during the morning and then play tourist and socialize of an afternoon and evening makes the Budosai event so much more special. Having your loved ones around you can give the opportunity to reap at the benefits of training in Okinawa while being able to take some vacation and holiday time with your family and friends.


8 – Socializing

Along with training there is one thing IOGKF does well, and that’s throw great parties. There are two social events options included during the world Budosai, the first of which is our Welcome party. This will give you an opportunity, no matter what your background is, to meet the senior instructors of IOGKF and other martial artists from around the world.

While our Sayonara Party at the end of the event gives everyone the chance to celebrate the week that was, strengthen our bonds one last time before we separate again and to let our hair down after what is always an incredible event! Most countries give an impromptu performance of something that demonstrates their culture and all attendees can enjoy and celebrate our diversity as we come together as a martial arts family. From dancing and singing, to Belly dancers and Elvis impersonators, anything could happen!


9 – Demonstrations

The final day of the Budosai event sees demonstrations being performed by the world most senior Karate instructors. A flurry of technically perfect Kata’s, execution of applications and effective self-defence performances provide a real motivational treat for all martial artists or the general public.

Master Higaonna has a goal of demonstrating true traditional Karate to world and proving that the real Karate of Okinawa is still alive and strong. This builds the excitement for this event even more as each high ranking performer will be at their best as they work toward making this goal a reality. This a rare opportunity to see ‘best of the best’ at their very best. Take a look at our world chief instructor in action against two opponents at the last world Budosai.


10 – The world famous Budokan

Budokan translates as martial arts hall or home. The Okinawan prefectural Budokan definitely earns its title by being the ultimate martial arts training destination. A three story mega structure for the martial arts, the entire building has been architecturally designed to look like the helmet of a Samurai. And as impressive as that may be, wait until you go inside.


A three story set up encompassing to large Dojo with some of the world’s best sprung timber floors and a third Dojo fully covered in tatami style mats awaits all practitioners. This is only outshone once again by the Budokan main arena. A massive sprung timber floor area including elevated seating, a stage, big screens and more. The Budokan is an experience in itself and a venue like no other.


So there you have it, 10 great reasons why you should make the journey to Okinawa and attend the 2016 IOGKF World Budosai. Early bird discounts specials are now available but end soon on April 30, 2016. To attend this once in a life time event and to visit the event registration site click here and start your martial arts journey today.



Coming May 2016, our next path to Okinawa 2016 article:

Useful tips for getting around Okinawa