S T R I K I N G P O S T
Victor Swinimer Sensei
November was a tough month. I said good bye to a good friend and a truly remarkable Sensei. Victor Swinimer Sensei was an Eighth-Dan and held the title of Hanshi in Uechi-Ryu karate-Do. Hanshi is the highest instructor certificate in any given style, and, only those who are true Masters of their art ever achieve this level.
Swinimer Sensei was a sought after instructor who shared his knowledge freely with those who were interested. He founded the Bridgewater Uechi-Ryu karate club in the late 80`s and he also taught quite frequently at Patty Young`s dojo in Kentville as well as other dojos in the province. He was often a guest instructor at “Summer Fest”a large Uechi summer camp held just outside of Boston Massachusetts.
Swinimer Sensei was known as a traditionalist and he believed in preserving the Uechi-Ryu katas as handed down from the Master, Kanbun Uechi. He always resisted fads and trends which were different from the traditional ways. Swinimer Sensei was a visionary in that he believed in giving his students every opportunity. In the early 2000`s he joined the Nova Scotia Karate Association and took part in clinics and camps in order to learn the WKF rules of competition. He knew that for his students to be successful they had to know the rules. He himself competed at the National level for a few years in the Masters division and was quite successful.
Thereafter, Swinimer Sensei became an official and helped to educate the Nova Scotia officials on how to judge the Uechi-Ryu katas. Today, due largely to his efforts, Uechi-Ryu karate-kas enjoy good success at provincial competitions. Much work still remains to be done, however, on the National level.
Over the last 5 years of his life, Swinimer Sensei sought to bring together the Uechi-Ryu community, which had become quite splintered over the years. He founded the N.S. Uechi-Ryu Association. He was also instrumental in founding the Canadian Uechi-Ryu Association. Swinimer sensei was frustrated with the limited participation in these organizations but he persevered. He became a top notch official on the National scene earning the Kumite Referee A and Kata Judge A designations. He continued to promote Uechi-Ryu at every opportunity.
Swinimer Sensei was very active in the NSKA; now called Karate Nova Scotia. He served as regional Director for the South Shore from the first year he joined the association until his passing. He rarely missed a meeting and he never missed a tournament. He was always willing to help in any way he could. He assisted the provincial team regularly by refereeing matches at practices. He hosted tournaments. He assisted David Griffin Sensei with regional Kata training and hosted a good number of the sessions. He was the co-chair of the Hall of Fame Committee.
Swinimer Sensei had friends all across Nova Scotia and indeed throughout North America. He was a respected and much loved member of our karate community. This caliber of individual cannot be replaced. The challenge must surely seem daunting for those who remain at Bridgewater Uechi-Ryu dojo. It will certainly be different but it can still be good. The greater Karate Nova Scotia community will assist them in any way they can to ensure that Swinimer Sensei`s legacy continues.
Rest in Peace Victor Swinimer Sensei,