THE JAPAN SUMMER CAMP 1980
There were approximately two hundred and eighty students who started the 1980 summer camp who were taught by Japan’s top instructors including famous people like Hiroshi Nanri, the chief instructor of this years camp, plus Keiji Sanpei, Sandan and second in last year’s “Open World Tournament”, also “baby face” Makoto Nakamura, the present World Champion. We were very honored to have these top Japanese instructors. Everybody was also looking forward to being taught by Mas Oyama.
The duration of the course was eleven days, and not the previous two weeks (two, one week courses) as last year. This had to be cancelled at the last mimute due to Kancho leaving Japan. But this did not stop many people from not attending. The foreigners among the 280 Japanese students were;
Michael Soderkvist (Sweden)
Charles Ecsterling (Holland)
Kin Pangelinan (Guam)
Jagat Gouchan (Nepal)
Terry Simmons (England)
Udaya Gouchan (Nepal)
David Henwood (England)
The summer camp started on July the 26th. The hottest time of the year in Japan. With temperatures rising to a maximum 36 degrees C. The weather on that day was quite cool.
On Saturday the 26, we assembled outside the Honbu Dojo in the park. Within thirty minutes the little park was completely overfull with nervous students.
Just standing there I could feel something was not quite right, I felt a strange quiteness which is very unusual when 280 people are together in one place. The reason being that most people train at ‘different times, or do not recognize each other without Karate suits on. I think everybody was a little bit apprehensive of the summer camp. After our names had been called out we went to the waiting convoy of coaches after boarding, we soon departed at approximately 10 o’clock.
The convoy of buses and excited Karate-ka started the 200 kilometre journey to our destination, Shizuoka-ken. The trip went unhindered with only two stops on the way to relieve the water works.
There was the feeling all the time that we did not really leave Tokyo. The houses and factories never really stopped until we reached the sea. Then even in the country we were so surprised to see the roads so smooth and in immaculate condition. When we were
travelling along the coastline it was a nice feeling to know we had left the concrete jungle and the industrial heart of the world behind. It was truly beautiful. The sun was dancing on the waves as they crashed down onto the smooth yellow sand.
We arrived at Shizuoka-ken which was a magnificent site with a lake in the back garden, which was totally surrounded by tall green trees. The gold fish in the lake were as big as Jaws. It was like suddenly walking into a dreamland.(Alice in Wonderland part two).
The first thing to do when we arrived was to unload from the bus the hundreds of bags, including the training weights, wood, bricks, and the punch bag. Afterwards everybody went inside to arrange the beds and who was going to sleep where.
In a few minutes we were outside in our gi’s ready for the first training session, walking along the road for three kilometers, there was no noise from the students everybody was very excited to eventually do some training. This year the same as last year we had a guide, translater Mr. K. Morita who was invaluable to us.
As I felt the sand between my toes and looking at the ocean I felt very good inside.
On the beach we started Kihon and strengthening exercises which we also performed in the sea, with the waves crashing down on us we had little chance to breath however we enjoy it especially when one big wave washed us all away in different directions.
After training everybody was more relaxed and could not stop talking to each other. In the evening dinner was served much to everybodys delight. We were a little disappointed because Mas Oyama has not arrived.
MICHAEL SODERKVIST, Nidan from Sweden. Michael is 25 years old, and has been studying Kyokushinkai for eight years. He enjoyed the summer camp very much. Michael is a very good technician of many kicks. He looked after the group with great attention. He will soon leave for home after being in Japan 11 months in this period he has achieved the following;
Shodan, Nidan, Branch Chief.
CHARLES ESTERLING. Charlie a Shodan from Holland came to Japan just for the summer camp and to meet Mas Oyama. He was very happy when Kancho gave him a big hug and said welcome to Tokyo. He loved all of the training, and will go back to Holland with a lot more ideas and ways to make his club in Holland a better one.
KIN PANGELINAN. Kin is from the island of Guam. He was graded Shodan by SANPEI and NAKAMURA’ This was Kins second summer camp. His personality and bad jokes made everybody laughed. He has fighting spirit that all the Japanese admired, and always he had the loudest “OUS” which could be heard back in Tokyo. And would-wake everybody up at 4.30 in the morning. He trained very hard and never gave up. See’ you next time.
JAGAT GOUCHAN is a 1st Kyu brown belt in Honbu. When he was in Nepal he was a Mathathon runner. Runner in the Himalayas. Jajat is 23 years old. Not only can Jagat run very fast but his legs are very flexible, which the Japanese admire, this enables to do beautiful kicks, and also not lacking in power. Jagat is training at Honbu and will continue to do so until he has the coverted black belt.
TERRY SIMMONS, an Englishman from London, Terry came to Japan last October, 1979 to study Kyokushinkai in Honbu, and has been graded to Brown Belt. He attended the course with great enthusiasm and trained like a madman. He showed keen interest in the Sumo and singing at the sayonara party. Terry really excelled himself at the running and sprinting, he was also glad for the opportunity to meet the instructors outside the Dojo. Terry will also continue to stay in Japan.
UDAYA GOUCHAN. A tall well built boy from Nepal and attends Honbus special class for big students. Udaya is also a long distance runner like Jagat. He came to Honbu four months ago. Udaya loved the summer camp very much, being glad to get out of the polluted air of the big city.
DAVID HENWOOD. 21 years old, from England, I was very grateful to be able to attend the summer camp. I could understand the Japanese spirit a lot more. The team work and the comradeship is what I really enjoyed. Plus being a country boy it was very good to see my friend the ocean again.
Bedtime was at ten thirty sharp. We were awakened at flaming 4.30 am in the early morning, and commenced training with a 6 kilometer run, which was extended everyday until we did 18 kilometers. Plus 30 sprints up a hill, that was a real killer. Each day we would see more and more people drop out from the running and go onto the injured list suffering from blisters, cramps, but never a lack of fighting spirit.
Jagat and Udaya with their history of running in the Himalayas in Nepal, never seized to amaze the Japanese with their running and sprinting capabilities, this also won Jagat 5 melons at the sayonara party.
The team of foreigners from all over the world was led by Michael Soderkvist from Sweden who taught with great care showing us many new techniques, and always pushed us when we were tired.
When Mas Oyama arrived at the camp there was an air of emergency. Especially from the Uchi Deshi. Always making sure everything was perfect for ‘the master of Karate. Whenever he spoke there was absolute silence from the students. Mas Oyama often gave a speech at night on Kyokushinkai and other styles of Martial Arts. Although we could not understand all of his words we could understand the lesson-he was teaching us. By using his hole body, talking with his heart we knew what he was saying. At times it was very frustrating, because we wanted to understand everything he said.
Mas Oyama was glad to see Kin again, who came last year, this time Kin came with the strong intention of taking Shodan. Last year he took I Kyu and this year Black Belt. With his fine spirit and attitude never to be defeated took the test and passed, he was the only foreigner, of this years camp to take a test.
Another foreigner who travelled a long way just for the summer camp and to train under Mas Oyama was Charles Esterling, a Shodan from Holland. Charlie was surprised at the lack of knowledge of Kata we had. For in Honbu we only learn Kata a few weeks before a test. But Charlie really enjoyed the Japanese fighting spirit and the food.
The food was delicious, there was always too much. The games on the beach were a favorite with everybody, we did really well this year, beating one Japanese team in the Sumo Tournament and being knocked in the next round by only one point. The relay race on the beach was also good fun but we never won. The games really brought everybody a little bit closer together.
Our spare time was from 7 o’clock to 10 o’clock when we had to be in bed. Much of this time was spent outside by the Lake talking, and exchanging ideas about Karate. It was also a good time to get to know each other.
We will never forget this chapter in our lives, for the Japanese were very kind to us, especially Mr. K. Morita our translater who helped to communicate, his head must still be confused.
The one thing everybody enjoyed, was each other.