THE FIRST HAWAII ALL STARS VERSUS JAPAN KYOKUSHIN TOURNAMENT
The first Mas. Oyama’s Japan Kyokushin-Karate team versus the Hawaii All stars Tournament was held on April 4th this year at the Neal Blaisdell Center in Honolulu before a near capacity crowd of 6,000 spectators, who witnessed the tough Japan team defeat the Hawaii All Stars by a score of 6 wins, 2 ties and no losses.
The crowd was amazed at the spectacular sword defense demonstration by Shihans Shigeru and Yasuhiko Oyama, and were thrilled by the Sai exhibition performed by Sensei Miyuki Miura. Sensei Seiji Kanemura also did well as a last minute substitute for Joko Ninomiya who injured his finger in N.Y., and went on to defeat Hawaii All Star Shobukan stylist Richard Raymond. Also showing good skill and talent in the women’s self-defense movements were brown belts Barbara Lowe and Thrina Cabal, two of Mr. Lowe’s top female students. The tournament was fought on modified Kyokushin rulings. Fights being won by knock-out, wasaari or judges decision, but exponents being permitted to wear any protective equipment, except gloves, if desired. Needless to say, the members of the Japan team did not wear protectors in keeping with true Kyokushin philosophy.
The tournament, organized and sponsored by Branch-Chief Bobby Lowe 7th Dan, was well organized and publicized over the mass media causing much speculation on the outcome of the fights. Kancho Oyama also attended the Tournament as coach of the Japan team.
The tournament saw an impressive aray of athletes, Hawaii being represented by Rodney Dela Pena, the current Leeward Oahu Open Title Holder and former California Light Weight Champ; Greg Kauffman, a former East Coast Open Karate Champ; Bill the welter weight Tae-kwon-do Champ; Emanuel Pritchett of Butokukai Karate; Alan Ige from Tae-kwon-do; Mike Harvey of Okinawa Shorin Ryo; Richard Raymond, a 6th Dan in Shobukan Karate; and Edgar Battad, a winner of 4 major Hawaiian Karate Tournaments and rated as number one by the H.K.C. (Hawaiian Karate Congress).
All the Japan team were Kyokushin members, Takashi Azuma being the 6th place holder in Mas. Oyama’s First World Open Karate tournament; Tatsuo Nakamura and Toshio Noguchi being up and coming champions; Isao Kobayashi, of Tokyo Honbu, Teruo Aonuma of Hawaii, and Seiji Kanamura of N.Y., U.S.A., being qualified Kyokushin-Karate instructors; and the famed Sonny Chiba, Kyokushin-Karate-Ka and movie star, being the most popular entrant.
Unfortunately, the original teams were some what altered as Joko Ninomiya, 3rd place holder of the World Tournament and 2nd place holder in the 8th All Japan Tournament in 1976; Daigo Oishi, 4th place winner in the world tourney; Teddy Limoz, the Professional Karlte Associations Full-contact heavy weight Champ, and Ken Wallace, an All Taiwan Kung Fu exponent, were forced to withdraw on account of injuries sustained in earlier tournaments or in preparation.
Even so, the 2 teams presented were formidable indeed. The following report from the Honolulu Advertiser highlights the tournament, which will become an annual event from now on.
The record book will show the tournament as a win for the Japan team, but as far as Battad and several of the other Hawaii fighters are concerned it will probably be never forgotten.
They were really something’ said Batted who echoed what was on the mind of the majority.
Some people on this team won’t be able to walk tomorrow, it shows you what kind of fighters they are when you give them your best shot and they are ready for more’ said Battad. Battad gave several of his best before Toshio Noguchi nailed him with a roundhouse kick for a first round knockout.
Sonny Chiba, the Martial Arts movie star, was just as awesome in person, leveling a talented Greg Kauffman in the second round with a K.O. Prior to that Chiba executed a double kick off a front roll that he seemingly pulled out of his gi.
Richard Raymond, a 6th Dan in Shobukan who considered himself lucky to escape with a loss by descision at the hands of Seiji Kamemura, 5th Dan, called the tourney ‘the greatest thing that could happen to Karate Tournaments. It was a real tribute to the Oyama School’.
Emanuel Pritchett and Bill Shermer came the closest to wins for Hawaii, earning draws. Shermer went three overtimes with Teruo Aonuma to get his.A common point of amazement shared by Battad, Raymond and even boxer-turned-martial artist Teddy Lim- oz, was the Japan team’s ability to take punches. These guys can really take it’ said Limoz. Raymond marvelled that I hit my opponent with my best shot, a right, and his eyes blinked, but he did not even move!’
Shermer appeared headed for a win, taking his first round 5-0 the only fighter to score a shutout in any round, but lost a lot of effectiveness when Aonuma zeroed in on his legs.
That takes it out of you, you can’t move well after that and it all but takes away your legs’ said Battad.”The Results:
I. Emanuel Pritchett(Butokukai,Hawaii)
drew with Isao Kobayashi (Japan)
2.Tatsuo Nakamura (Japan)
Alan Ige (Taekwondo, Hawaii)
3.Bill Shermer (Taekwondo,Hawaii) drew with
4.Makoto Nakamura (Japan)
Mike Harvey (Okinawa Shorin Ryo,Hw)
5.Sonny Chiba (Japan)K.O.ed
Greg Kauffman (Hawaii, 2nd round)
6.Toshio Noguchi (Japan)K.O.ed
Edgar Battad (Okinawa Shorin Ryo,Hw)
7.Seiji Kanemura (Japan)
Richard Raymond (Shobukan, Hawaii)
8.Takashi Azuma (Japan)
Rodney Dela Pena (Ken Shukan,Hawaii)
Team Score: Japan 6