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Breaking News: Mitsuru Nagaki will be new Chief Instructor of JSKA

A few minutes ago, we received a press release from the JSKA Shihankai about the successor of Shihan Keigo Abe, who unfortunately passed away in December 2019. According to the announcement Mitsuru Nagaki will become new chief instructor of the JSKA. Find the full announcement bellow:

IMPORTANT NOTICE

Keigo Abe, Chief Instructor of our association, passed away at 6:45 on December 21, 2019 at the home of Mr. Mitsuru Nagaki in Matsuyama City, Ehime Prefecture.

Sensei Keigo Abe was born in Ehime Prefecture on October 28, 1938. He began practicing judo and karate as a boy and joined the Japan Karate Association upon entering the Engineering department at Nihon University in Tokyo. Many stories were born from his samurai appearance and brave fighting, and the Budokan was filled with his presence. He was also famous for raising so many famous karate-ka. Abe Sensei was also well known as a master of Iaido (the art of drawing swords) and was one of Japan’s leading sword collectors.

Following the breakup of the Japan Karate Association in 1990, he set his own ideal and established the Japan Shotokan Karate Association in 1999. From that point, he had been working hard to lead and teach around the world and together with instructors from many countries, he created today’s JSKA. When he was diagnosed with cancer in 2015, his doctor told him he could die at any time, but for him nothing changed, and he continued to be passionate about his karate to the end.

“May his soul rest in peace”.

In accordance with the wishes of Abe Sensei, Mr. Mitsuru Nagaki will take over as the chief instructor of the JSKA. It will be officially approved by the JSKA Shihankai Board during the 10th Karate World Championship in October 2020 In Lubeck, Germany.

Sensei NAGAKI Mitsuru, who was born in 1950 in Ehime Prefecture (The same prefecture as Abe Sensei), was regarded as having a promising future in judo, which he had worked hard on since his childhood. Later, when he entered the Nihon University, he studied karate under Abe Sensei’s guidance. Since then, he has devoted his life to karate. At present, he is an 8th dan, and with accuracy of technique, he is also a rare karate expert who can do both Kata and Kumite. His leadership is highly regarded in the world of karate, and Nagaki sensei has successively produced many world-class karate experts, including world champions. He also never fails to practice hard and is breaking an unprecedented record of winning 27 consecutive master class championships. In addition to his great achievements and earnest

His effort in karate, his spirit and attitude regarding the care of his elderly instructor, who despite being unrelated and without children, was welcomed to live in his home. Nagaki sensei and his family members took care of him as family until the end without telling anyone and this tells us all we need to know about him. I thank him from the bottom of my heart!

The 10th Karate World Championships, which will be held from the 15th-17th October 2020 in Lubeck, Germany, will be inmemorial of Keigo Abe, the founder of the JSKA and will mark the start of the JSKA under the leadership of Nagaki Mitsuru. We look forward to your participation.

Japan Shotokan Karate Association

Chairman, Yasuhisa Shiozaki

Former Minister of Health, National Diet”

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Breaking News: Keigo Abe passed away

Today, the message reached us that another pioneer and ambassador of Shotokan karate has passed away. According to the source Shihan Abe died at 6.45am this morning peacefully in his sleep.

Unfortunately, we do not have further information about the exact circumstances. We inquired at the JSKA HQ in Tokyo via email. However, the email was blocked. Therefore, we do not have an official confirmation. The source, who confirmed his passing, referred to family members with whom they were in contact. If you can provide further details please get in touch with us through email: theshotokantimes@gmail.com

With Keigo Abe passed another pioneer and ambassador of Shotokan. Born in October 1938 Shihan Abe started karate by age 15. He trained directly under Masatoshi Nakayama and received an excellent education in the JKA instructors program. After graduating the program in 1965 he became an important figure in the JKA Headquarters’ instructors group. He was appointed Director of Qualifications and became later Technical Director of the JKA.

In the turmoil of the 1990´s, in which internal conflicts dominated the JKA, he retired from his position and formed the Japan Shotokan Karate Association in 1999. Keigo Abe hold the rank of the 9 Dan. He passed with age 81.

The karate world mourns about the loss of Keigo Abe. Our deepest sympathies are now with his family and the bereaved. Our condolences also go to the JSKA community worldwide.

His successor will be Mitsuru Nagaki. The JSKA announced it on January 20, 2020.

“In accordance with the wishes of Abe Sensei, Mr. Mitsuru Nagaki will take over as the chief instructor of the JSKA. It will be officially approved by the JSKA Shihankai Board during the 10th Karate World Championship in October 2020 In Lubeck, Germany.”

Oss!

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Women of Shotokan: Holly Rye

Today, we are going to portrait Holly Rye in the Women of Shotokan section. Holly Rye is 33 years old and lives currently in Glasgow, Scotland. Originally from Kent, England, she has been doing Karate since 1994 and holds a 5th Dan. Let yourself become inspired by Holly´s incredible Karate biography. By Dr. Christian Tribowski

Portrait of Holly Rye

The picture shows Holly Rye during kata
Holly Rye doing kata

Dojo: Hokushin Martial Arts Academy

Additional information:

  • Assistant Chief Instructor of JSKA Scotland
  • Chairperson of JSKA Scotland
  • Instructor at Hokushin Martial Arts Academy
  • JSKA Scotland Team Member
  • JSKA World Champion 2014 (kata), 2016 (kata & kumite), 2018 (kata)
  • JSKA European Champion 2015 (kata), 2017 (kumite

What was the reason that you started Shotokan Karate?

Holly Rye: I started karate with a friend in primary school. Her brother was already training so I went along with them. I don’t remember why I wanted to start karate, I just know that I wanted to try it.

What do you like about Shotokan Karate?

Holly Rye: I like the fact that one simple technique can be so difficult to perfect. Knowing that maybe only 1 technique out of 100 will be how you want it allows for the constant pursuit of perfection.

I love the complexity of Shotokan kata; the smooth transitions from one technique to another, the variations in speed, the sheer power created by fighting an invisible opponent.

Learning the Japanese language and terminology alongside the techniques is challenging but I actually really enjoy it.

It doesn’t matter how old you are or what limitations you may have, Shotokan karate can be adapted and is therefore an activity that everyone can enjoy.

  • The picture shows Holly Rye training Oi-zuki.
  • The picture shows Holly Rye training Kizami-zuki.

Is there something you do not like? What is it?

Holly Rye: I dislike how I have been treated in the past because I am female. It doesn’t help that I look quite young and therefore I am often not taken seriously by those who do not know me.
I’ve had parents and students unwilling to speak to me, refusal to take instruction and I’ve been treated disrespectfully on courses by male partners. I know of many other female karateka who have had similar experiences. I hope that this attitude can be changed.

What has been your greatest and your worst experience so far related to Shotokan Karate?

Holly Rye: My greatest experience to date was winning my first individual world title. It was in kata at the JSKA World Championships in Italy, 2014 and the moment will forever be etched into my memories. It was a long path to get there and the outcome was worth every drop of sweat, every sore muscle and every repetition.

I have had many bad experiences in my past. One however that stands out happened maybe 10 years ago. A Japanese instructor came to teach a seminar. He encouraged everyone to ask questions. When I put my hand up and asked a question be loudly and rudely dismissed me in front of the whole group. I haven’t asked a question on a seminar since.

It is important to remember that karate is a journey so you cannot have the good without the bad.

  • The picture shows Holly Rye during shiai/jiyu jumite.
  • The picture shows Holly Rye during shiai/jiyu jumite.
  • The picture shows Holly Rye after wining a tournament.
  • The picture shows Holly Rye after wining a tournament.
  • The picture shows Holly Rye after wining a tournament.

What do you do when the training becomes challenging? Where do you get motivation from?

Holly Rye: When the training becomes physically challenging, I just try to push through. I’m very stubborn so I don’t like to give up. But also as the highest grade on the floor, as well as one of the instructors, I feel it is my duty to lead by example.

I must admit I love a mentally challenging class. I find these classes interesting and informative. I particularly enjoying seeing new techniques in different ways and having to reassess my own ideas about them.

How has Shotokan Karate changed you as a person?

Holly Rye: Karate has definitely improved my confidence. It is my job to teach large classes of students each day and speak to prospective students and parents on a regular basis. If I am not confident then it would all fall apart.
Teaching karate has also taught me patience and to understand that some people take longer to learn and to execute instructions than others do.

The picture shows Holly Rye in action.
Holly Rye with a strong oi-tsuki

How has Shotokan Karate influenced your life? Has it helped you overcome or deal with difficult situations in your life? Is it helping you on a daily basis with the challenges of life?

Holly Rye: I suffer from a condition called Ulcerative Colitis, a form of inflammatory bowel disease. One of the many side effects is fatigue. I have always refused to let it get the better of me, particularly when training for a competition. Because of this I have often forced myself to keep going, not wanting to ever use it as an excuse if I lost. I have actually won most of my titles during bouts of being quite unwell so it proves, at least to me, that if you want something badly enough you have to persevere and push through the barriers.

How has your Shotokan Karate changed over time?

Holly Rye: As a child I was only ever interested in the physical side of karate. As I got older, I became more interested in the how and the why.
I am now really interested in the mechanical side of karate, breaking a movement down to look at it piece by piece. I believe that you can only perform a technique properly if you fully understand what it is you are doing. My goal is to understand each karate technique in this way.

  • The picture shows Holly Rye during kata.
  • The picture shows Holly Rye during kata.
  • The picture shows Holly Rye during kata.
  • The picture shows Holly Rye during kata.

What are your personal Shotokan Karate short- and long-term goals?

Holly Rye: Short term I plan to continue with my competition career and hope that it remains a successful one. I intend to continue as long as my body is able to take the pressure of the training. A

Long term I plan to continue my training and one day grade to 6th dan. When the time comes to hang up the competition gi I will probably progress to refereeing.

How should Shotokan Karate evolve in the future?

Holly Rye: In my experience it seems many Shotokan instructors believe that if you have a large student base then you’re not teaching ‘real’ karate. Or that if you’re having a laugh or a joke you’re not working hard enough. I would love to see dojos lighten up a bit. Accept that you can have fun whilst still working hard. Understand that large numbers don’t equate to poor instruction, just good advertising. Traditional Shotokan karate should not be boring or frightening. Students should look forward to coming to class!
I’d also like to see the continued inclusion of students with different abilities and limitations. In our dojo we have students with varying needs (including Autism, ADHD, Downs Syndrome to name but a few). They train alongside, and are treated the same as, everyone else. 

The picture shows Holly Rye and friend from Japan doing smileys.

Would you recommend Shotokan Karate to your female friends? Why?

Holly Rye: Having seen so many women start karate and absolutely exceed their own expectations I’d encourage everyone to give at least one class a try.
The basic techniques of Shotokan karate are not too difficult to pick up, so even after your first class you will have learnt something useful.
 I know one woman who desperately wanted to give karate a go but didn’t even have the confidence to take off her coat. After a little encouragement she took her first class and a couple of years later she’s now a brown belt.
 Karate really is for everyone, just try and you’ll see!