S T R I K I N G P O S T — MARCH 2020
During these most difficult times with the Corona Virus, COVID-19,
reaking havoc all over the world, it has given me plenty of time to
reflect on my karate journey. Where I began, where I have been and
ultimately where I am headed.
Soke explained to me one time that it is important to remain true to
your original goal. “Why do you study/practice Chito-ryu karate Do?
Every now and then you need to re-assess keeping this goal in mind. In
the beginning the cycle is shorter, perhaps 4 or 6 months. The cycle
gets longer the more you train. 1 year, 2 years, 5 years etc. It gives you
a chance to “reset your compass” if you will, to check if you have gone
Everyone`s goal may be different. Become champion, improve mental
health, maintain/improve physical health, learn self defence, etc. My
goal is to learn as much as I can about my art and ultimately pass it on
to my students such that they may have the same opportunities that I
have had. Hopefully they will be able to achieve their goals under my
tutelage no matter what aspirations they may have. Furthermore, now
as Renshi, I have the added responsibility to promote and preserve
Chito-ryu karate Do and support Soke and the Sohonbu.
In the last few years, the International Chito-ryu Federation seems to
have taken on a different path with the introduction, or re-
introduction I should say, of Kobudo. Some have embraced it. Some
have not. It is definitely part of our heritage as O`Sensei was quite
adept at kobudo. My dear friend and mentor Michael Delaney Sensei
introduced me to kobudo many years ago. At that time, he explained
that if you practice karate and kobudo simultaneously, they will
complement each other. I believe this to be true. I don`t think it is an
either-or scenario. At Mukashi dojo we regularly practice kobudo as
taught by Higuchi Sensei.
Similarly, bogu kumite has not been wholeheartedly embraced
throughout the world Chito-ryu community. Especially here in the
West, most dojos practice World Karate Federation (WKF) kumite.
Good or bad, this practice does not promote Chito-ryu, or our unique
form of kumite which is bogu. Personally, having been a National WKF
referee for the past 20 years, I feel that the bogu kumite is superior to
the WKF method, and I feel that in the not too distant future the WKF
kumite will greatly resemble Bogu in that judges will be calling penalties
and participants will be wearing head gear. At any rate, if we are to
promote the art of Chito-ryu, we should be hosting regular
competitions which feature bogu kumite.
Considering these two issues and keeping in line with my own personal
goals, I am going to make efforts to promote Chito-ryu by promoting
kobudo in my dojo and including it in our annual tournament “The
Yarmouth Cup”. As well I have a plan to resurrect the Cole Cup. This will
be an annual Chito-ryu tournament that will feature bogu kumite as
well as kata and kobudo.
Hopefully the serious situation we are in at present with the Corona
Virus will be under control soon, and things can get back to some
semblance of “normal”. Until then, stay safe and keep your training up!
Milton J Bourque