First of all, I would like to acknowledge that August 15 was the anniversary of the passing of Asai Tetsuhiko, a superb Karateka whose genius has created a worldwide following and whose legacy lives on in a wonderful new generation of Asai-ryu Karateka such as Andre Bertel Sensei and of course many others around the world. It's really impossible to overestimate Asai Sensei's impact on Shotokan Karate technically with his beautiful, flowing, dynamic and practically useful Karate. After mentioning Andre Bertel as a key part of the future of faithfully transmitting, rather than copying and miming his Karate and repackaging diluted elements, I would like to turn this blog over to another key part of transmitting the Karate of another master- Mikio Yahara.
So after a little to do with a hell of a lot, let's turn to another element of the future: Ibuki Tawara Sensei, who working with other excellent Sensei such as Bryan Dukas and Sid Tadrist Senseis (and of course Masamichi Otsuka Sensei), will play a key role in transmitting Yahara Karate.
Those of you who read this blog and are familiar with the KWF can't fail to know about Ibuki Tawara (Tawara Sensei) who is currently a kenshusei under Yahara Sensei (YS)
Well it is resoundingly agreed on by people who know far more about Karate than me and who are still training week in, week out at the KWF ShotoKan that Tawara Sensei is already developing into an awesome Karateka, even though he is only in his mid-20s. It's often said that you don't have to be a great Karateka to be a great teacher, and I thoroughly agree with that.
But it also helps IF you can really walk the walk as well as talk the talk. Right?
I first got to know a young bloke called Ibuki back about 5 years ago when he first started training at the KWF Honbu taking time out of Kokushikan University, where he was in the Karate Club. Remind you of someone?
Anyway, Yuko and I were genuinely impressed by this very
pleasant, modest, polite and clearly intelligent young man who had superb Karate. Don't misunderstand me for a minute. He's as tough as nails and can turn it on in an instant if he needs to.
It is no exaggeration to say that Tawara Sensei was born to be a Karateka- his uncle is Shihan Tawara, who is a superb Karateka from Nagano-ken who is just about the most modest guy you'll ever meet, and a super role model. About four years ago we were driving back across town from Nihonbashi with Kawasaki Sensei after a meal with YS and I asked Ibuki what his first memories were- he has no memories of before being a dojo!
It is also no exaggeration that everyone who trains with Tawara Sensei say that his Karate has grown from being superb to frightening, which is the result of week-in, week-out private training and teaching as a Kenshusei under YS. Not to be too harsh, it does seem that speed is more important than power as the pressure to accumulate plastic trophies and win competition gradually dilutes Shotokan. So when Tawara Sensei first came to KWF, his Karate was a bit sporty, if anything. It's safe to say that YS has beaten all this out of him!
Tawara Sensei wears his skills well. He has already developed the gravitas and maturity to command respect through his bearing and attitude and his super Karate.
But the other major thing about Tawara Sensei's attitude is that it's essentially positive. He wants to teach and to learn as much as possible. He is setting up is own KWF training sessions under the KWF and now I am 100% certain he will grow into being a brilliant teacher.
In pursuit of dealing with teaching and networking in today's technical environment, he has started his own blog in English. Don't expect any Pulitzer prize winning analysis of x, y, and z yet. But if any of you have an interest in being trained by this exemplary young Sensei, please do what you can to support him.
So as far as the future of Yahara Karate is concerned in the international dimension, Ibuki Tawara Sensei and Bryan Dukas Sensei and Sid Tadrist Sensei, the latter two being non-Japanese who train regularly with YS and really understand his Karate, are the way forward. I'd also like to point out that there are some wonderful people that I haven't mentioned in various countries around the world.
Anyway....back to writing about reentry capsule technologies and the International Space Station. Great!