I first met Soke in 1986 at the Canadian National Championships in Toronto. Soke and Michael Delaney Sensei performed a demonstration at the tournament. A few weeks later I hosted Soke and his advisor, Tashiro Sensei, in Yarmouth. At that time, we had just moved our club to Yarmouth from Amiraults Hill. We changed the name of the club to Mukashi School of karate and the visiting Senseis officially opened the new dojo at the Youth Centre in Yarmouth. Since that time Soke has guided me on the Chito-ryu path. He was a very different kind of instructor than Higashi Sensei or Delaney Sensei. He was not shy about demonstrating techniques or kata. He always seemed to know what you “needed” to work on to improve your karate, and this was not necessarily what you wanted to work on. I recall in early 2000 he came to NS and we had a huge clinic in the Halifax area with senior instructors from all the Atlantic provinces in attendance. We spent the entire first morning of the clinic going over seisan- dachi. This was certainly an eye opener for me where, I said to myself, I have been practicing Chito-ryu for nearly 25 years and apparently, I still have not learned the most basic stance.
Since 2008, after the Higashi group left ICKF, I came to know Soke on a much more personal level. I have made several trips to the Honbu dojo in Kumamoto, Japan, and have spent a fair amount of time training directly with Soke or on my own trying to implement his teachings into my karate. He explained to me some fundamental truths that have helped to shape my training and development in Chito-ryu. I always found him to be open and accessible and he spent a great deal of time answering my many questions. One of the things I appreciated the most was the fact that the information never changed. Gone were the days of seemingly constant changes in the way a technique or kata was performed. I think perhaps this was due to previous senseis own personal evolution and understanding.
Soke is without a doubt the most exceptional karate man I have ever had the good fortune to train with. I feel that my technique has come a long way since 2008, however, from observing Soke`s technique, I can see I have a long way to go yet. My wish is that Soke remains healthy for many years to come so that I may continue to train with him for many years.