IOGKF USA Gasshuku with Nakamura Sensei

By: Sensei Steve Duz – IOGKF USA

IOGKF World Vice-Chief Instructor, Sensei Tetsuji Nakamura, was the head instructor for the IOGKF San Diego Gasshuku that was held in January. In the three days Nakamura Sensei covered a large part of the IOGKF curriculum and left lasting impressions on everyone present...

I first met Sensei Nakamura in 1991 when I entered Honbu Dojo in San Marcos, California.  I was a Kyu belt and very nervous to train with Sensei Higaonna.  I wanted to show my new command of etiquette and the Japanese language. Entering the dojo, I bowed and said “Arigato Gosaimashita” in a loud and clear voice.  Sensei Nakamura, seated next to the door, found this very humorous and laughed and laughed.  Oops!...I should of said “Onegai shimasu.” I was embarrassed and humored by my own nervousness.  Sensei Nakamura just arrived from Japan to assist with the classes.  He wasn’t very familiar with English, but he knew bad Japanese.

Sensei Nakamura taught at Honbu dojo until 1994.  In that time my etiquette had improved and Sensei became fluent in English.   In that short time I had the pleasure of watching Sensei Nakamura at many, many tournaments around Southern California.  I would stay through the black belt divisions just to watch Sensei perform Kata (usually Sesan) and kumite.  I have always been in awe of his abilities.  All of us know his Kata is spectacular.  The kumite was equally spectacular.  With his background in Judo it was very common to see his opponent thrown to the ground.  It was truly exciting to watch.

As the years rolled forward, I now have a dojo in San Diego, California (since 2000).   A very dedicated group of Karate-ka has been established.  In 2004 five participants went to the World Budosai in Okinawa, in 2008 we had 18 participants for the same event (our dojo has less than 75 students).  As we have striven to become more adept at Karate, the world has become more accessible to us.

In January we had the pleasure of hosting Sensei Nakamura at our dojo.  I was in fear of all that could go wrong. In retrospect I can’t believe how well things went. The hotel, dinners, transportation and training could not have been better.

His plane landed by 12:30pm on Friday.  We had time for lunch and Sensei checked into the hotel.  By 4:00 Sensei was teaching the kids class.  The adult black belts had an hour of special training before all of the adults joined us at 7:00.  The hours went by fast. Training was over at 9:00.  That would be midnight in Toronto, Canada.  Sensei didn’t seem effected by his long day of travel.

Saturday started with a kids class, then 2 hours for the adults, followed by a black belt grading. We had a couple hours to freshen up before dinner.

Sunday started with a Sandan and above class followed by an adult class.  We had enough time to have dinner at a nice restaurant overlooking the San Diego Bay before Sensei was back at the airport at 6pm.

The weekend went by so fast.  The adults got 9 hours of training and the kids got 3 hours.  I am still in disbelief over the amount of information that can be shared in such a short amount of time.  Sensei demonstrated Kata for both the adult and kids classes.  I felt sorry for the adults that didn’t have the foresight to observe the kids classes.

As an instructor I am in awe of the ability Sensei has in explaining and guiding every student in each class.  He was able to share so much knowledge on the technical aspects of the Kata.  Sensei took our training a huge step further. We worked on some very profound concepts on generating power and speed.  His adeptness at performing Kata/Karate is matched by his ability to explain himself - he uses both words and movement amazingly.

I was in awe in the 90’s.  I am still in awe, only about 10 notches higher…