2016 IKKU 30th Anniversary Summer Camp

2016 IKKU Kobudo Group Picture

2016 IKKU Kobudo Group Picture

The 2016 IKKU 30th Anniversary Summer Camp came and went in what feels like a blink of the eye. Where did all the time go? With up to 7 hours worth of workouts each day it seemed up front that there would be plenty of time to learn everything camp had to offer. Camp certainly didn’t disappoint and by the end I was humbled yet again to understand that there is never ample time to learn it all. So it’s back to the dojo for all of us to make sure that our time wasn’t for naught.

The Camp ran from the check in date of Wednesday June 8 and completed on Sunday June 12. There were a Total of 9 Dojos represented with a grand total of approximately 45 camp participants. Participants traveled from as far away as Wisconsin, Maine, North Carolina and Florida to attend this special anniversary camp. Sessions included both Empty Hand and Kobudo while the focus of the camp was definitely centered around the topic of Kobudo. By all measures it was a great success and ranks up there as one of the best IKKU summer camps ever.

Soke Ruiz discussing the finer points of Kotosu-Ha Kobudo Lineage with Renshi Sensei Barbara Hughes

Soke Ruiz discussing the finer points of Kotosu-Ha Kobudo Lineage with Renshi Sensei Barbara Hughes

The 2016 Camp Theme was “Camp Koga” with a focus on Soke Joseph Ruiz’s Kobudo. Participants that were not already ranked in Kotosu-Ha Kobudo had the opportunity to test in front of Soke Joseph Ruiz. There were 8 individuals that took advantage of this opportunity to test with the appropriate promotions ensuing during the Saturday night banquet. Those that tested performed Kobudo Basics, Kata and Bunkai to round out the testing requirements. Participants had to perform on an individual basis in front of Soke Joseph Ruiz with Hanshi Ron Downton assisting. As mentioned previously Bunkai is always a part of testing and Yes it was against a live armed attacker.

Soke Joseph Ruiz learned his Koga-Ryu Kobudo style through previous masters, Kiyoshi Aihara and Kanki Izumikawa while training in Hawaii and Japan. Soke Ruiz was the Kobudo Director in the NKJU – National Karate Jiu Jitsu Union between the years 1974-1985 and spread his knowledge to all active practitioners during camps, seminars and weekly training classes in the dojo. When he later founded the IKKU – International Karate Kobudo Union in 1986 he continued to share his knowledge and still continues through to the current date. Soke Ruiz is considered to be the foremost expert on Koga-Ryu Kobudo in the United States. The Koga-Ryu Kobudo Style has since transformed into what we train today as Kotosu-Ha Kobudo.

During an early session at camp Soke Ruiz also taught a new empty hand Kata to all the participants. With a nickname of Mr. Kata and with over 200 in his repertoire he seems to always have a kata that no one has learned previously. Tsuru Tsuki No Kata was taught to the group and honed during the duration of the camp. The translation of the kata means Strike of the Crane and it’s clearly evident based on many of the crane-like movements and stances. This is a beautiful form that was shared by Soke and new to everyone attending camp.

Awards, special recognitions and promotions are all possible during this Annual martial arts extravaganza.  Congratulations are due to all the award winners and those that received special recognition as well as rank promotions during the week. Camp Awards as usual are voted on by peers of the IKKU with 5 Categories of Awards being given out during the annual Saturday night banquet dinner. Individual recognitions and promotions come from Soke Joseph Ruiz himself and only when the applicable time has occurred and earned. And finally but not lastly we need to recognize Kyoshi-Sei Larry Griffin, the IKKU Camp Director for pulling off yet another excellent camp for all of us to enjoy. Kyoshi-Sei Griffin does an excellent job of helping with the bigger picture of all of our events and helps to keep the finer points in check as well. We would be lost without Kyoshi-Sei’s leadership and involvement.

In my mind the annual summer camp, especially this special 30th Anniversary Camp equates to what football fans know as the Super Bowl. The weeks events included tailgating, cookouts, individuals breaking bread together and all around friendships both old and new being forged. This is a great way to get together with other like minded individuals and learn from some of the best martial artist around. Saturday night proved to be exceptional after an inspiring banquet diner and awards ceremony. Old memorabilia including Gis, Photographs, T-Shirts and Annual Yearbooks were on display for all participants to view. It was truly an awesome experience as an after party activity to round out the week.

We’ll have to wait another year until we get together for this annual tradition of traditional knowledge sharing and camaraderie to occur again with this type of magnitude. But in the meantime we have plenty of new techniques and kata to work to fill our spare time. We still have several remaining opportunities to get together for the remainder of 2016 so please be sure to check our Events Page for the latest information on upcoming opportunities to train together. Until we gather again, OSU!

Here are the individuals recognized at camp:

Ray Howard – Tsuba presentation

Kim Blue & Steve Pruett – Promoted to Sichidan, 7th Dan, Kyoshi title

Mark Howard & Michael Downton – Promoted to Rokudan, 6th Dan, Shihan-Dai title

Camp Awards:

Barb Hughes – SOKE AWARD, Most Outstanding Karateka

Nadine Oka – KYOSHI AWARD, Most Outstanding Kobudo

Hunter Cormelison – SHIHAN DAI AWARD, Most Outstanding Kyu

Nadine Oka – JACK JACKSON AWARD, Most Outstanding Renshi

Scott Quint – BRUCE WURTZ AWARD, Most Outstanding Yudansha

Kobudo Promotions:

Barbara Hughes – Shodan/Black Belt

Connie Bond – Ikkyu/Brown Belt

Laurie Kazilionis – Ikkyu/Brown Belt

Ray Howard – Ikkyu/Brown Belt

Scotty Knight – Ikkyu/Brown Belt

Tim Covington – Sankyu/Blue Belt

Scott Quint – Sankyu/Blue Belt

Duncan Quint – Sankyu/Blue Belt