2023 36th Annual IKKU Summer Camp – Highlight 1

Soke Joseph Ruiz performing the ceremonial Tsuba Presentation for Renshi Sensei John Malcom

Tsuba Presentation for Renshi Sensei John Malcom

June 10, 2023, marked a special day for the IKKU as a Tsuba Presentation for Renshi Sensei John Malcom, Sr. Instructor of the Carolina Karate Kai took place. After bowing in for an annual IKKU Summer Camp session, Soke Ruiz performed the ceremonial act of presenting and mounting a Tsuba onto the Renshi Sensei Obi. Soke has mentioned his tradition of Tsuba Presentations in the past, but here is a quick review. Soke only awards Tsuba periodically, and these generally are awarded to senior-level Yudansha, 3rd Dan and up, whom Soke considers his personal students of Karate.

This marks a humbling step in one’s martial arts journey with the IKKU. Rensei Sensei John Malcom is being accepted as one of Soke Ruiz’s High-Dan Students.

A few words of introduction regarding Tsuba. A tsuba is a hand guard that is mounted on a Katana between the cutting edge of the blade and the Tsuka (handle of the weapon). Its primary function is to keep the user’s hand from sliding up and onto the blade of the sword, to protect the hand from an opponent’s blade, to counterbalance the weight of the blade, and to some degree to communicate the social standing, beliefs, and tastes of its owner.

The Ceremonial Tsuba from Soke and the IKKU represent the trust between Soke and the Students as well as the protection that Soke provides to all his students. The Ceremonial Tsuba also represents the balance that the IKKU helps to instill in its students. Mind, Body, and Spirit along with proper traditional foundations in all our arts help to bring peace, protection, and balance into one’s life.

During the ceremony, Soke will remove one’s Obi from around the waist and then mount a Tsuba over the Obi, and then retie the Obi with the Tsuba in place. The Tsuba is then worn in a rear-facing position from that time forward. If you see someone wearing a Tsuba during class or in a clinic, then you will certainly now understand that the Tsuba was earned and awarded by Soke Ruiz himself. This isn’t a fashion statement but instead, a badge of honor with a rich history instilled in this time-honored tradition.

A big congratulations go out to Renshi Sensei John Malcom on his Tsuba Award. OSU!

Additional IKKU Information:

For information about joining the IKKU – International Karate Kobudo Union please visit our IKKU Registration Page. We welcome new members to our organization and have 6-10 scheduled events each year. This will allow you direct access to Soke Joseph Ruiz, founder of the IKKU, and other High Dan Instructors from the IKKU.

For a full listing of upcoming scheduled sessions please visit our Events Page. Here we showcase our upcoming Clinics, Camps, and other opportunities for engagement with the IKKU.

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