This trip was my fourth return visit to my homeland since my departure
in 1965; previous visits were in 1974, 1985, 2000, and now 2009.
Almost 10 years between each visit, so naturally many things have
changed, but also many ways are the same….such as the Kiwi
friendship, hospitality, & enthusiasm. The country’s beautiful
landscape and climate especially during this time February-March
---school holidays over and low tourist season, meant easy travel
and no accommodation problems.
This trip was rather special in Budo terms as it goes back to 1981
in Okinawa when I first met Dennis May sensei from Okinawa Goju
Ryu with his New Zealand team participating in the International
Tournament, it was a most pleasant meeting, and then we (Michael
Söderkvist Kyokushin Karate sensei and I) left to continue
our Budo Tour of Japan-Okinawa-Malaysia
no further contact happened until 2008 when I received an email
from Dennis sensei to bring the circle together again, this gathered
momentum resulting in the trip to New Zealand, and a
wonderful experience during 2 months, several seminars and meetings
were arranged by Dennis sensei as well as travelling and accommodation,
allowing my son Jonathan and I to see parts of New Zealand we had
not been to before.
A special presentation at Kyoshi Dennis May 8th Dan New Zealand
Okinawa Goju Ryu Karate Henderson Dojo in Auckland was held and
was joined by Shihan Ken McLennan 5th Dan Kyokushin Karate and an
old friend and original member of the Napier Karate Club –the
first karate dojo in NZ, Ken is now 77 no longer active in karate
but showed great interest in budo as always. I also met Sensei Fred
Coulter 79 years – friend from the beginning of NZ karate
and the Napier dojo´s oldest member Gordon Larking 97 years
now and full of vigour and good health. Marvellous to meet these
friends after so many years have passed.
Also in the South Island I had the opportunity to meet several other
karate sensei who have contributed to development of karate in New
Zealand – Shihan Renzie Hanham Seido Karate, Shihan Bob Cahill
and Sensei Barry Knutson these together with the Sensei in the Auckland
area – Shihan Peter Turner, Sensei Aaron Barrett, in fact
all the Okinawa Goju Ryu Yudansha and students made me very welcome
and showed excellent attitude and development in true Budo way.
When in Dunedin I had
the opportunity together with Dennis Sensei to visit Sensei Jim
Scorgie and his wife Michiko´s large deer farm, also the hospitality
from Shihan Bob Cahill. Tony Crone whose son is a student of Dennis
Sensei invited me to his home in Wanaka drove me from Dunedin stayed
at his house for 4 days with some wonderful sightseeing in Wanaka,
Jacksons Bay, Arrowtown, and Queenstown.
Finally a meeting with the Shihan-Kai Directors of the New Zealand
Karate Federation – Bryan Davis Shihan Shito Ryu, Hiroshi
Fujimoto Shihan Goju Kai, Dennis May Shihan Okinawa Goju Ryu, Len
Monk Shihan Fushin Ryu, and Kevin Plaisted Shihan Okinawa Matsubayashi
Shorin Ryu when I was honoured by the induction into the Shihan-Kai
Hall of Fame as the 6th member.
The time went all too quickly after such a wonderful time together
visiting my sister and husband Sal & Alg, along with several
other family relations including my father’s sister Eve who
is 97 yrs, with remarkably good vigour. Several other visits to
old friends made this trip a most memorable one.Without being too
dramatic, it should however be mentioned that this was the first
time that Yoshinken/Taikiken has been introduced to New Zealand.
I suggest to all - visit Dennis sensei’s website at www.karatenz.com
Time went far too quickly as all things do when everything is so
enjoyable – thank you again
Dennis Sensei & family plus all the friends I made in NZ Okinawa
Goju Ryu Karate – you are not forgotten and sincerely hope
we will meet soon again.