Kia Ora Everyone,
The Gassukku was an amazing experience to be part of this year and thanks to IOGKFNZ I was able to attend and enjoy with members from all over Oceania.
The Gasshukku began on Thursday with a guided tour of Rotorua for Higaonna Sensei. Sensei Brian McGhie, Sensei Robin Hood and myself walked in the redwoods and introduced our native flora, had eye training trying to differentiate between the green and blue lake, -we agreed that both looked green, cultural buffet at Te Puia witnessing Maori culture, natural geysers and what kind of visit would it be if we didn’t see kiwis – our eye training was obviously effective…, the kiwi corner. (for those that don’t know the kiwi corner also alludes to a very legendary place created by our seniors in San Diego) We ate hangi, traditional Maori food, before we headed to the Hot spas, our mission to introduce some cultural aspects of Aotearoa and let Higaonna Sensei recover and relax before the Gasshukku. The Gasshukku began with a bang, continued with a bang and ended with a bang. Some 170 New Zealand and Australians gathered to train with Higaonna Sensei and it was AWESOME. Higaonna Sensei is the true essence of Goju Ryu Karate-do and for the seniors who had great memories of him to the young and new members of IOGKFNZ were included in Higaonna Senseis instruction. A key point being the fundamentals of Goju Ryu, basics, good basics, better basics, more basics, strong basics, faster basics, conscious of basics, and repetition until our bodies act accordingly without thought. Higaonna Sensei gave a wealth of knowledge at this Gasshukku and I think that our seniors benefit will ultimately transcend into their dojo and trainings and inevitably through their good instruction, role model and hard trainings succeed in keeping the Goju philosophy thriving. There was basics, Kata, Chishi, self-defence, Kakie, Sanchin Shime.
Sadly, the loss of a Junior Shodan was felt by us all and we took time in our meditation to remember IOGKFNZ’s loss and her family and keep her spirit and memory alive in our training.
On a positive note, I would like to congratulate Steve Riley Sensei and Dave Reddaway Sensei who took their grading and passed. A shout out must go to the Auzzies who came across the ditch and made it an Oceanic Gasshukku. We hope to keep seeing them in the years to come. Hats off to Jen Senpai for organizing and making the Gasshukku run so smoothly. I personally had so much fun being back in Aotearoa, meeting up with many of my seniors and making new friends from around the country. Hanging out with Sensei McGhie and having the opportunity to spend that time and a bit of time with Rajesh Sensei and learn about IOGKFNZ’s history and old school days was fascinating and memorable. Thanks heaps. Sensei Tonk was also instrumental in helping me get from Okinawa back to Aotearoa- The IOGKFNZ family is Tumeke. There were cars made available during my stay, it really is primo to be part of a good thing.
Finally, a huge Thanks goes to Higaonna Sensei for making the trip out to New Zealand and being an inspiration to all those that come into his presence and participate in his trainings. This would never have happened without such a great Sensei.
I look forward to practicing and training with you all, here in our Honbu or in Aotearoa. Take care, train hard.
Te Whiti Seeds