All posts tagged: karate

UPDATE: New Curriculum Implementation Schedule

Message from the International Yudanshakai Executive Council (IYEC)


Following up on our March 18th conference call, the USA Yudanshakai Executive Council (USAYEC) heard a pretty a consistent level of concern over the pace and timing for the implementation of JKR’s revised curriculum.

With that in mind, the USAYEC has updated the implementation schedule to help alleviate some of the pressure you and some of your students may be feeling.  Additionally, we are clarifying the language used in the new Manual around requirements for Shodan, Nidan and Sandan.

It is crucial that instructors understand that much of the new material is not yet required for examinations, but will become required over time.

Please download 17.04.15- New Curriculum Implementation Schedule and familiarize yourself with it, also noting the following:

  • For Shodan requirements, “Student’s choice” shall mean one of the four kata listed, NOT all four, with only one being performed.  This will reduce the course load for Shodan by 3 kata.
  • For Nidan requirements, the single “Student’s choice” kata shall be one of the 3 kata from the Shodan “Student’s choice” list that was not performed for Shodan.
  • For Sandan requirements, the two “Student’s choice” kata shall be the remaining 2 kata from the Shodan “Student’s choice” list that was were not performed for Shodan or Nidan.
  • The implementation schedule has been revised to significantly lengthen the implementation time line and to better stagger the rollout of new requirements so that they aren’t all hitting at once.  This will help alleviate pressure on current students on the cusp of black belt examinations, as well as on instructors who have not yet learned the new material in order to teach it.

The USAYEC feels that the approach described above, as well as the new time lines, should balance the need to deepen our curriculum with realistic goals for both instructors and their students.  However, we will continue to monitor your feedback and can make additional adjustments as required, so keep the conversation going – we want to hear from you!

If you have any questions or concerns about this information, feel free to contact me.

Best regards,

Vice Chairman – IYEC

Minako YamazakiUPDATE: New Curriculum Implementation Schedule
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April 2017 Newsletter

JKR Newsletter: April 2017

50th JKRi is just around the corner! Registration closes on May 1, 2017.  No crying on May 2nd about how you didn’t make the deadline. Sensei Mina will drink your tears and gain the superpowers she’s always wanted.

The weekend is gearing up to be an exciting event. It will be full of great knowledge to take back to your dojos to share with your students.  Come with an open mind, be ready to sweat, and go home invigorated!



JKR International is very proud to announce Sensei Michiko Matsumoto of JKR Northern California – Eishinkan Dojo has been appointed executive assistant to Kaicho Yamazaki. She will serve as the translator for official documents and communication to and from JKR Japan Headquarters.

This is an incredible responsibility, but Sensei Michiko has already proven invaluable with her overnight translations of our JKR standards and protocol for Soke Konishi.

Congratulations, Sensei Michiko!


Attention Dojo Chos

Last day to submit orders for pick up during JKRi is April 15, 2017.  Due to the insanity of this year’s event orders placed after April 15th or during the event will not be ready for pick up.  Orders placed by April 15th will be ready for pick up on May 4th.

Dan Certificates from previous years will also be available for pick up for dojo chos on May 4th.

Please have dan exam applications submitted by May 1st.  Please copy and paste this link to your students that will be testing:  Payment for exams will be collected on May 4th.

That was a lot of dates that were thrown out there.  Here is a recap:

April 15, 2017: Last day to submit orders for pick up

May 1, 2017: Last day to register and submit dan exams online (online only)

May 4, 2017: Pick up orders, dan certificates, and turn in dan exam fees



Minako YamazakiApril 2017 Newsletter
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OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE: Sensei Yamazaki Promoted to Kaicho of Japan Karate Do Ryobu-Kai

                                                                               FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Paul P. Belle Isle

Japan Karate Do Ryobu-Kai

(617) 600-8724

Sensei Kiyoshi Yamazaki Elevated to President of Japan Karate Do Ryobu-Kai

Renowned karate instructor assumes leadership of global martial arts organization

Garden Grove, CA:  Today, Japan Karate Do Ryobu-Kai (JKR), an international organization dedicated to instruction in traditional Japanese karate, announces that Sensei Kiyoshi Yamazaki has been elevated to the position of Kaicho, or President.  In this position, Sensei Yamazaki is responsible for leadership of all JKR schools throughout the world and the continued development of the organization.  It is extremely rare for a someone based outside of Japan to be promoted to such a position.Sensei Yamazaki Kiyoshi

Sensei Yamazaki has been actively assisting Sensei Yasuhiro Konishi II, son of JKR’s founder, in leading the organization for a number of years.  As Sensei Konishi has moved into retirement from active instruction, Sensei Yamazaki was his choice to take the reins of Japan Karate Do Ryobu-Kai.  Howard High, Chairman of JKR’s International Yudanshakai Executive Council said, “Sensei Yamazaki has worked tirelessly to spread the martial arts knowledge he has acquired throughout his life in JKR, as well as to expand and strengthen the organization.  His promotion to Kaicho is not only a demonstration of Sensei Konishi’s respect and confidence in Sensei Yamazaki, but a tremendous opportunity to position us for continued success.”

February 5, 2017 – Sensei Kiyoshi Yamazaki is officially awarded the title Kaicho of Japan Karate Do Ryobu-Kai by Madame Soke Konishi in the presence of the leadership of JKR Japan leadership.
Front row, L to R: Shohei Shimoyamada, Tokuyuki Yoneyama, Yoshio Yamada, Kaicho Kiyoshi Yamazaki, Madame Soke Hideko Konishi, Mikio Kikuchi, Ryuichi Yamagata, and Ryoji Sato of JKR; Masahiro Ide, CEO of Champ, Inc.
Back row, L to R: Housei Shinoda, Keita Atsumi, and Ikuo Wada of JKR.

Sensei Yamazaki emigrated from Japan in 1969 to share his martial arts knowledge with American students and establish JKR in the United States.  Since that time, he has become one of the most respected karate instructors in the world, working to promote traditional Japanese martial arts, and foster quality international competition as Technical Chairman for International Olympic Committee governing bodies like the USA National Karate Federation (USANKF), the Pan-American Karate Federation (PKF), and the World Karate Federation (WKF).


He is a highly sought-after instructor, not only because of the depth of his knowledge, but for his open, in-depth style, and he maintains a busy teaching and travel schedule.  Sensei Yamazaki holds 9th dan ranking in Shindo Jinen Ryu karate, as well as 8th dan ranking with the Japan Karate Federation (JKF).  He is the highest ranked JKR instructor overall, and the highest ranked JKF instructor residing outside of Japan.


About Japan Karate Do Ryobu-Kai (JKR): JKR has schools in more than 20 countries, and in 1935, became one of the first karate organizations to be officially recognized by the Japanese government.  Founded by Yasuhiro Konishi, Japan Karate-Do Ryobu-Kai teaches a style of traditional Japanese karate called Shindo Jinen Ryu.

Minako YamazakiOFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE: Sensei Yamazaki Promoted to Kaicho of Japan Karate Do Ryobu-Kai
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JKR Bahamas Earn the Best “Treat” on Halloween

On Saturday October 31st, 2015, 15 students from our dojo participated in a local tournament hosted by Sensei Basil Damianos of Holy Cross Goju Ryu Academy. All students were registered and participated in 2 events, kata and kumite. Those 15 students include:

  • Dave Griffen (White), 2nd & 2nd
  • Tyler Ndlovu (White), 2nd & 3rd
  • Danaya Coleby (Yellow), 3rd & 3rd
  • Khaden Johnson (Orange), 1st & 1st
  • Jaden Bethel (Orange), 2nd & 2nd
  • Alexander Butler (Green), 3rd & 3rd
  • Chianna Diggiss (Green), 1st & 1st
  • Robyn Evans (Green), 1st & 3rd
  • Aiden Johnson (Blue), 2nd in kata
  • Alexander Turner (Blue), 3rd & 3rd
  • Charles William Diggis (Red), 3rd & 1st
  • Duran Rolle (Red)
  • Jadyn Munnings (Brown), 1st & 2nd
  • William Knowles Brown, 3rd & 1st
  • Nathaniel Woodside (Black), 1st & 1st


I want to thank Sensei Evans for accompanying the students to this event. Without him, our participation would not have been possible.

Please join me in Congratulating these 15 students for doing such a wonderful job representing our school so well. I have since been contacted via social media by judges and scorekeepers from this event commending our students for their mature and organized behavior in public. This makes me very proud to know that our students conducted themselves accordingly. I understand the team spirit was very strong but was kept in order. The parental support was very strong and the coaching was unbelievably awesome.

I want to thank those parents who supported this event and ask for your continued support for future events.

To those students who like myself were unable to attend and participate, please know the dojo intends on putting on a similar tournament in the near future which will accommodate all.

Best Regards to our 15 champions. We certainly have something to celebrate!!!!

Sensei Chinyere Ijeoma-Chukwuka
N. P. Martial Arts & Fitness Centre
#1 Shirley Plaza
Shirley Street
P. O. Box N-4144
Nassau, Bahamas

Minako YamazakiJKR Bahamas Earn the Best “Treat” on Halloween
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My Most Memorable Seminar

My most memorable seminar with Sensei Yamazaki was during September the 5th, 6th and 7th (this week). It was the most memorable seminar as Sensei Yamazaki gave an inspirational speech. The inspirational speech motivated me to practice and improve my karate for his next visit and my oncoming karate career. Sensei also prepared us for our black belt grading (later on the week) which helped us a lot! I am excited and looking forward to see Sensei Yamazaki next year. Happy 75th Birthday Sensei Yamazaki!

Emily Grey
JKR Australia
Bundaberg Branch

Minako YamazakiMy Most Memorable Seminar
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Karate and Medicine

Karate has always been a big part of my life, and I became interested in it from a very young age. I began Japan Karate-Do Ryobu-Kai when I was in 4th grade and have loved it ever since.

I came into karate thinking that we would be chopping blocks and yelling kiais, but I have found that this sport is so much more than that. I am now a nidan level black belt and believe that this sport has played a big part in who I am today. Karate has taught me to be disciplined, focused, and to show lots of confidence no matter where I am. I also saw the example of my senseis at Woodside, who not only devoted so much of their time to teaching us, but regularly practiced themselves, always working to improve.

Now as a sempai I am able to teach others and learn new skills from a teaching point of view. I have gone through struggles as well as successes as I have progressed through the different belts, each time learning a new skill. With these essential skills, I was able to apply for a competitive med-school program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Part of the application process included ten interviews at ten minutes each and I can say that the experience of preparing and testing for the each belt level really helped me.

I am now currently enrolled in a 6-yr combined BA/MD medical program with UMKC and believe that without karate I would not have been able to be as confident or as disciplined in my studies in school.

Emma Connelly
University of Missouri | Kansas City
Undergraduate | 6 Year-med

Minako YamazakiKarate and Medicine
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JKR Hombu and Erbs Palsy Awareness Week

My student, Leilani, suffered a birth injury called Erb’s Palsy when she was born. It’s an injury to the complex set of nerves that control the fingers, hand, arm, and shoulders. Leilani’s physical therapist recommended karate to her mom because we use our entire body equally.

Erbs Palsy Awareness Week was Oct 18-25, 2015. We made a few fun videos and wore blue belts to show our support. Leilani is a fearless brown belt and a proud member of JKR.


Minako YamazakiJKR Hombu and Erbs Palsy Awareness Week
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Two Generations of Yamazaki Family Lead International Karate Group on Cultural, Educational and Martial Arts Tour of Japan

Hi, Everyone. Here’s a little #TBT (throw back Thursday). It’s been a year since the momentus “JKR Japan Gasshuku”. Here is an article written by one of the travelers, Sensei Paul Belle Isle – Branch Director of JKR New England, for JKFan Magazine.

– Mina Yamazaki

By Paul P. Belle Isle
August 1-10, 2014

(JAPAN) In early August, Japan Karate-Do Ryobu-Kai (JKR) Chief Instructor Kiyoshi Yamazaki (9th dan, JKR; 8th dan, Japan Karate Federation (JKF)) and his daughter, current top U.S. and international competitor Minako Yamazaki (5th dan, JKR), led a group of over 40 karateka and their family members from the United States, Australia and Great Britain on a cultural, educational and martial arts tour of Japan.

Yamazaki Sensei believes strongly in education as a foundation for effective karate training, and began laying the groundwork for the trip several years ago, so that participants would have time to plan and save for the journey. “I don’t think that anyone ever reaches a point where they have learned all there is to know,” he says, and for that reason, felt it was important for Western karateka to forge ties with Japan.

The international group began its tour in Tokyo, with training sessions over two days at Japan Karate Federation (JKF) headquarters. The first seminar was with former All-Japan Champion Sensei Masao Kagawa (8th dan, Japan Karate Shotorenmei), who focused on one of his signature kata, Sochin. Kagawa Sensei remains impressively athletic, and he gave several members of the JKR group individual attention.

The rest of the first day in Tokyo was spent sampling everything Japan’s capital has to offer. Some of the delegation visited the Dai Nippon Butokukai and Sengakuji Temple, while others toured Meiji Jingu and visited Edo Castle, or strolled through Shibuya Crossing and Ginza. The following day featured a seminar with former World Karate Federation (WKF) and Japan Karate Association (JKA) champion Toshihito Kokubun, who led the visitors through kumite exercises that emphasized proper distance, timing and the use of angles.

Japan Karate-Do Ryobu-Kai Soke Yasuhiro Konishi was also on hand to observe, and afterwards, posed for pictures with everyone. Finally, the travelers were honored with an appearance by JKF President Ryoichi Sasakawa, who made a short welcome speech, and greeted each of the JKR karateka individually.

The international group’s next stop was Shizuoka, making a quick and comfortable trip on Japan’s famous shinkansen. Minako Yamazaki spoke for the group when she said, “We would be in one area of Japan in the morning and on the other side of the country by late afternoon. I was really amazed with how reliable the transportation system was.” Once there, they met up with former WKF champion Takashi Katada, who today not only coaches the men’s and women’s karate teams at Yamanashi Gakuin University in Kofu, but is working to help grow YGU’s business education department. Sensei Katada joined the JKR members for the bus ride to YGU, traveling through beautiful hill country that was dotted with lakes.

Arriving at the university, the visitors took part in a joint training session with Katada Sensei’s students, working on kumite, kata and practical application, with Yamazaki Sensei stressing the need to balance the many aspects of karate. As he has said before, “It is very important that an instructor knows the difference between sport karate and self defense… Karate is several things at the same time: It is a great physical activity, a martial art, a self-defense method, and a great sport.”

Following that, the JKR group was treated to kata demonstrations of Chatan Yara no Kushanku by the Yamanashi Gakuin University women’s team, and Anan by the men. An iado demonstration by Takeru Sato, star of the hit Rurouni Kenshin movies, closed out the athletic portion of the day, and everyone adjourned to a reception featuring remarks from members of the university faculty and administration, good Japanese food, and an opportunity for the YGU students to mingle with their foreign guests. The day concluded with a stop at Mount Fuji to visit one of Japan’s most important sites, before returning to Shizuoka.

From there, the Americans, Australians and Brits moved on to Kyoto. No training was scheduled to take place in Japan’s old capital, so this visit was a chance for the group to relax and take in some more of Japan’s rich history and culture. Many members of the group visited Kinkaku-ji, Ginkaku-Ji and Kiyomizu-dera Temples, and others also explored Fushimi Inari Temple, Nijo Castle, and the Kyoto Tanabata Festival. The highlight of Kyoto for many, however, was a visit to the Taizo-in Buddhist Temple, where a special program had been arranged for the JKR group.

The abbot of Taizo-in, Daikou Matsuyama, led the international visitors on a tour of the temple and its grounds, where they contemplated its famous gardens and viewed Josetsu’s masterpiece, Hyonenzu (“Catching a Catfish with a Gourd”), one of Japan’s oldest surviving ink paintings. The group then took part in a seated meditation session and dined on a delicious meal of vegetarian Japanese specialties prepared by temple chefs. Osaka, the last stop on the travelers’ itinerary, saw the group return to training, this time with two seminars at Yamazaki Sensei’s alma mater, Kindai University. In the morning, WKF medalist Kou Matsuhisa led a number of kumite drills, with current members of the school’s karate team training alongside the visitors, and finished with focused instruction on his signature technique, sasori-geri. Asked what she thought of Matsuhisa Sensei’s abilities, Sensei Anna Parkin of Great Britain (6th dan, JKR) said, simply, “Awesome. Just absolutely amazing.”

Following a short break for lunch, legendary 4-time world champion Sensei Atsuko Wakai (5th dan, JKF) provided instruction on Seipai kata, covering both the form and its bunkai. Her precision, technique and power remain exceptional, and the class was a high point for many. Sensei Paul Belle Isle of the United States (5th dan, JKR), noted, “Training with someone like Wakai Sensei, who, with all of her accomplishments, remains incredibly friendly and outgoing, is something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”

While in Osaka, members of the group also visited Sumiyoshi Taisha, Osaka Castle and other sites. Finally, just as Typhoon Halong began lashing southwestern Japan, the karateka from the U.S., U.K. and Australia held a celebration dinner at a soba restaurant the evening of August 9th, before departing for their home countries the next day. The group had grown closer to one another, closer to Japan, and closer to the roots of karate, and all agreed that their visit was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Sensei Howard High of the United States (7th dan, JKR) noted that the trip was beneficial for everyone involved, including their Japanese hosts: “Working with some of the greatest practitioners in the art of karate was invaluable to those of us who were able to participate in this tour. It was also invaluable for the Japanese karateka to train with our sensei, Kiyoshi Yamazaki, who provided insights into some of the deeper meanings of the art of karate. I was specifically impressed with the attentiveness of the students at Yamanashi Gakuin University when Yamazaki Sensei was instructing them in practical applications.” Simon Oliver of Great Britain (6th dan, JKR) agreed, and summed up his views thusly: “For us as a family, this visit to Japan was a perfect blend of spending quality time with like-minded friends and enjoying training with a varied and friendly mix of dojos and senseis. Making new friends and meeting old ones from when I lived in Japan was something that made this trip special. We visited famous and cultural locations that brought back many old memories – as well as created some great new ones. We can’t wait to go back!”

Minako YamazakiTwo Generations of Yamazaki Family Lead International Karate Group on Cultural, Educational and Martial Arts Tour of Japan
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