Queen's University Karate Club

Mysteries of the Martial Art

The Queen's Journal Friday, February 10, 1978
Kenyukai Karate Studied at Queens
by Peter Carbone
If you have ever witnessed a karate workout, something that wasn't permitted in the past, you will probably remember rows of people in white, cotton gi (uniform) doing dangerous looking kicks and punches. Perhaps you couldn't understand some of the formal training or the meditation before the rigorous physical training. You would notice that the practice of this martial art fills the karateka (students of karate) with a great deal of enthusiasm. It also encourages the development of stamina, strength and, most importantly, physical fitness. The ancient, oriental martial art of karate is no longer a mystery nor a secret here at Queen's. Many of the common "ways of looking at karate" have been romanticized by the media. The karate practitioner has been turned into a super-man like Kwai-Chang Caine, of the once popular TV series "kung-fu", or Bruce Lee. Because of these Hollywood productions there are a tremendous number of popular misconceptions. Through this article 1 hope to place the art of karate in its proper perspective and to elaborate on the school of karate studied at Queens.

QJ 1978 Karate
'It is the way of the empty hand.'

Karate is the Japanese name for a method of unarmed combat. It is the way of the empty hand. Karate was conceived by the monks of the Shaolin temple in China. It spread to Japan where it became known as Shorin-ji Kenpo. It was further developed to include the art of weaponry. This involved training in the bo staff, the sai, and the famous nunchaku. The nunchaku are presently prohibited in Canada due to their effectiveness as weapons The karate of this early time was always practiced in great secrecy. Nowadays many police forces, most notably the Los Angeles Police Department, have made martial art training a part of basic police training.

They have also accepted many weapons, the nunchaku and a variation on the club. The Hong Kong Police have been using the sai for quite a while rather than a conventional billy club. One of the more recent and most practical methods of karate practiced today is called Kenkokan Karatedo in Japan and Kenyukai Karatedo in North America.

Shorinjiryu Kenyukai Karate was founded in 1946 by "Shihan" Kori Histaka and is presently the form studied at Queen's. Kenyukai Karate is becoming an internationally respected form of the martial arts. It is spread all across the eastern seaboard and is a practical composite of striking, kicking, punching, throwing, holding and choking techniques. The speed and strength that you may have heard about are not magical. Anyone can achieve them.

Karate is an accumulation, over a long period, of the ingenuity and wisdom of its founders. It is a result of regular practice of physical and spiritual discipline. Many proven techniques have been passed on to us so that we can achieve proficiency in karate.

Practical application of karate techniques are centered in Kumite, Kata and Shiai exercises.

Kumite is a pre-arranged fighting form executed by two or more Karateka. Kumite is unique to Shoriniiryu Kenyukai Karatedo. It serves to improve technique, endurance and timing, which are vital to the art.

The formal exercises of karate are called Kata and are common to all forms of karate. they are organized, patterned offensive/defensive techniques which serve to perfect karate form, power and movement. Kata requires a smooth flow from one technique to another. A Kata performance may be graded during a tournament competition.

Shiai, or free sparring, is the actual fighting contest between two karateka. The participants are free to use any techniques to land a "killing" blow. Specially designed fibreglass protectors are worn by fighters as protection from strong blows. This makes this style of karate realistic and useful for self-defense. All Shiai competitions are closely refereed to eliminate the possibility of injury.

Karate is practiced in a training hall called a dojo. The karate gi (uniform) consists of a light-weight, loose fitting top and pants. All students of karate wear a belt, which is the sign of their rank. Below black belt the "kyu" or levels correspond to white belt (novice), yellow, orange, junior green, senior green and brown. Shodan is black belt and there are 10 degrees or dans of black belt, 10th dan representing complete mastery of the system both physically and mentally. There are very few 10th dans alive today.

Kenyukai Karate considers the psychological aspect of the art. As the student strengthens his body, he also gains confidence and self-respect. He is better able to cope effectively with dangerous situations.

A maturity develops which eliminates the tendency towards brawling since the student knows his ability to fight well.

QJ 1978 Karate
'One need not be an expert.'

Karate is unquestionably the most violent of all of the martial arts, and also one of the most effective. One need not be an expert to be able to effectively use karate for self-defense. Any training would be invaluable in a confrontation.

The Queen's University Karate Club has been in existence since 1972. Presently the style is taught by Sensei (instructor) Gary Vieanneau (2nd dan) and Sensei Ken Fuller (1st dan). Both men are certified black belts in this style. They received their ranks from Sensei Shigeru lshino in Montreal. Sensei lshino is head of the style in Canada.

This year the club numbers about 30 Queen's students (about 20% girls). The classes are taught with a recreational flavour. However, all training is related to self-defense and physical fitness. The classes are quite rigorous but not excessive. The Sensei runs a pattenred class with opportunity for promotion every term.

In the past, some of our members have competed successfully in tournament competition. Sensei Vieannea has a rather lengthy tournament record and is able to provide experienced guidance to any members interested in competing.

The club has association with another Kingston branch and with the head of the style in Montreal. The members have a strong voice in the club's policy. An elected executive consisting of a president (Peter Carbone), Vice-President (Jim MacKinnon), Treasurer (Jane McCarthy) and Secretary (Dave Morley) are chosen to run the club and hore instructors.

The Karate Club meets every Monday and Wednesday from 9:30 pm and Saturday at 12:30pm in the combatives room of the PhysEd Centre. Anyone is welcome to drop in and watch a workout. To find out about the Queen's club or to find out about karate in general you can talk to any of the executive after a workout.

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