In April, 2011 IOGKF Ukraine hosted World Chief Instructor, Master Morio Higaonna, World Vice Chief, Sensei Tetsuji Nakamura and IOGKF Okinawa senior instructor, Sensei Masukazu Kuramoto for the IOGKF Euro Asia Gasshuku. The event was well attended and well promoted was a great success...

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21 -  24 April,  Dnepropetrovsk hosted the Euro Asian seminar under the guidance of Sensei Morio Higaonna -  10 Dan chief instructor of IOGKF, with the participation of his best pupils: Kuramoto Sensei, 6th Dan and Nakamura Sensei,  6th Dan.

The Euro Asia Gasshuku was held for the first time in Ukraine, and the last visit of Sensei Morio Higaonna to the Ukraine was in 1997.

More than 200 people from the Ukraine, Denmark, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Poland, Moldova, Belarus, Russia, Georgia, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan came to this seminar.  Kherson Regional Federation of Traditional Okinawan Goju Ryu Karate also had 36 people take part in this grand event.

Sensei’s Morio Higaonna, Kuramoto and Nakamura were greeted at the airport when leaving the VIP area, welcomed by a large number of children in kimono’s performing Gekisai Dai Ichi. After that, the girls in Ukrainian national costumes presented each of the Sensei a bouquet of flowers under a storm of applause. After a brief interview, the delegation from Okinawa was taken to their hotel.

The next day, Sensei Morio Higaonna inaugurated a new dojo which we built in Dnepropetrovsk belonging to the Chief Instructor of the Ukraine Vasil'chuk Denis who was the chief organizer of the workshop.

The next day was the seminar, the first training session was for black belts, the second  session was a general one. Five hour heavy loads and unique information from the source of Okinawan Goju-ryu.

 All three Sensei always train themselves in full force without giving relaxation time.  You can tell when Higaonna Sensei (at 73 years of age) performs a fast movement and punches, gets into full splits and keeping up with him is still a challenge for the young!

So the three days of the workshop flowed similar. On the third was another unique event, in the evening a festival of martial arts was held. This was unique, because to see these artists live is a rare opportunity for those practicing Goju-ryu and even more so for people who do not train.

The festival was opened by a traditional lion dance to the east, after Sergei Badyuk, the athlete and actor many would have seen in the movie "Antikiller 3", demonstrated the breaking of boards. After was demonstrations from Wushu Masters and Kendo and then all went to the hosts of the festival - the Masters of Goju Ryu.

First the International team of black belt’s demonstrated Gekisai Dai Ichi, Sanchin and ryabotu with shells. Following in turn were representatives of Goju Ryu from Denmark, Belarus, Russia and Moldova. Chief instructor of Ukraine Vasil'chuk Denis showed Shisochin Kata and combat use and then on the mat were the main guests of the festival from Okinawa.

Denmark Demonstration by Sensei Torben and Sensei Jakob:

Sensei Nakamura demonstrated Sesan Kata and combat applications.

Sensei Kuramoto showed conditioning practice and Kakie techniques (pushing hands).

And following them, on the mat went World Chief Instructor of IOGKF, holder of 10th Dan and the living legend, Sensei Morio Higaonna demonstrated Suparimpei Kata - the last and most difficult Kata in Goju Ryu, with incredible speed and power in performance. Then he walked over to a specially pronounced granite stone and began to beat on him with his fists so hard that witnesses claimed that Stone was trying to crawl away, many impressionable newcomers looked away. Afterwards, the audience burst into thunderous applause.

On the day following , a grading for 45 contenders for black belts from 1st to 5th Dan took place. In the exam all the basic technique, Kata, Bunkai and Kumite were executed and at the end lots of squats, push ups and press ups, all 150 times each! All this after after four days of training and a 2.5 hour exam.

2 people did not pass the exam ... We congratulate those who passed this test and were given their new rank.

The same evening a Sayonara party was held at the Fitness Center in Pridneprovsky. It began with greetings and the announcement of exam results. After, all the Sensei were presented with souvenirs. Representatives of Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus and Russia all sang a song.

I want to say a big thank you to Sensei Morio Higaonna, Sensei Masakazu Kuramoto and Sensei Tetsuji Nakamura for this wonderful seminar. Thanks to the chief organizer of this festival Vasil'chuk Denis Cheif instructor of Ukraine for the excellent organization.

Thanks to everyone who came and who trained. A special thanks to the staff of the fitness center in Pridneprovsky for your warmth and comfort, and very tasty food that really gave strength!

Now I understand that I must write thank you all, but I am afraid that this space will not suffice.
So thank you, all!