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Monday, 26 April 2010

Dubai, United Arab Emirates 2007

Once we had decided to visit Japan, we thought it would be a nice break if we stopped off in Dubai for two nights, there would only be four of us, as Barry was going to meet up with us in Kobe.
We arrived in Dubai at around 1.00am and took a taxi to our hotel, which was the Hallmark on Al Maktoum Street we checked in dropped our bags off and found a bar just down the street.
In the morning after breakfast we set off for the Dubai Creek where Mala negotiated a price for a dhow (boat) and the four of us set off for a picturesque glimpse of Dubai's trading heritage, later we arrived at the Burj Al Arab but because we didnt have a booking, we had to go next door for lunch, this stop over was a really good experience and something that i would not have wanted to miss.
The following day was less hectic but that evening we did find the best buffet that i have ever experienced, thus ending a great stop over.
So now all thoughts were on Japan and what that would hold for us.

PHOTOS Mick and I on the Dubai Creek.
Lunch at a very nice hotel with Brian Batey, Mick Clark, Mala Young and Chris Dawson

Saturday, 24 April 2010

The Relaxing Side of Japan

While we were in Japan we were fortunate to visit several none judo sites, such as the very moving A-Bomb Dome at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, where the first atomic bomb was dropped in 1945,in complete contrast we saw the fabulous Golden Pavilion in Kyoto which was built 1358-1408.
Himeji Castle was so impressive, as you can see from the photo taken by Brian Batey.
Our big life saver was The Old England in Kobe, where we found the best fish n chips and cold beer also in Kobe was the Kobe Tower at Harbour Land, one of my favourite places.
Photos, Harbour Land, Kobe, Barry McSherry and I
The Old England Restaurant, Kobe.
Himeji Castle, Himeji.
Golden Pavilion, Kyoto.
Peace Dome, Hiroshima

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Japan Visit Continued, 2007

While we were in Japan we really tried to fit so much in between our training schedule.
On our second day in Tokyo we went off in different directions. It was a hot sunny morning, when i made my way by train to the Imperial Palace, the reason i chose this location was to see the Nippon Budokan ( Martial Arts Hall, ) which was built for the 1964 Summer Olympic Games judo events, it was here that Master Michigami saw his student Anton Geesink defeat Akio Kaminaga to win the 1964 Olympic Gold Medal in the Open Division,the All Japan Judo Championships are also held at the Budokan.
After leaving this tranquil place via Hibiya Park, i found the Sumida River and followed it's path for a few miles, before returning back to the Kodokan ending a long but interesting day.

Photo, Nippon Budokan, Tokyo, Japan.
Sumida River Walk, Tokyo

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Japan Judo Masters Kata Championship

Yamasaki Sensei had invited us to the Japan Judo Masters Kata Competition at the Budokan in Himeji, as he was judging he asked Akitoshi Sogabe to pick us up at our hotel and take us to Himeji, Sogabe Sensei is the Japanese Womans Olympic Team, Judo Coach.
It was Friday 19th October, with very heavy rain for our journey to Himeji which took over an hour, when we arrived at the Budokan, Hiromi Noguchi 7th Dan President of the Judo Masters Association introduced himself to us and also invited us to enter the Kata Competition the following year.
We were privileged to watch superb display's of Nage no Kata, Kime no Kata, Ju no Kata and Itsutsu no Kata.
The next day we returned to the Budokan to watch the shiai competition, in which Akitoshi Sogabe won a silver medal in the mens u81k event.
Photo from the Budokan, Himeji, Japan.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Butokukai, Kyoto Japan

When I decided to visit Japan the Butokukai was my main point of interest. Up until the end of World War II, the Butokukai was the special training college for the Martial Arts Society in Japan. Two of the worlds greatest judoka Haku Michigami and Kenshiro Abbe were both students there having also attended the Busen.
From July 1978 through to July 1986 I trained under Michigami Sensei 9th Dan at his summer judo courses in Bordeaux, France, also attending one course in 1985 when he came to England. I was also fortunate to see Kenshiro Abbe and Bill Wood perform Kime no Kata at the British Judo Council National Championship and display at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square,London on Saturday 1st December 1962.
When we arrived at the Butokukai Kyoto it was an ambition realised just to walk in the footsteps of these great men and to imagine what it must have been like all of those years ago.

Top Photo, Chris Dawson at the Monumental Stone of the Martial Arts School (Busen)
Other Photos, Entrance to The Budo Centre, Kyoto, Japan.
Butokuden Brian Batey, Barry McSherry, Mick Clark, Malcolm Young and Chris Dawson.

Dojo at at Butokuden

Monday, 5 April 2010

What a coincidence this was ! ! !

While we were in Japan it had been our intention to visit the Kodokan in Tokyo, so much so that Brian Batey had organised Japan Rail Passes for us at a cost of £118 each, this turned out to be a very good deal. Yamasaki Sensei organised the visit for us. We left Shin Kobe station early morning on the Shinkansen (Bullet Train) an experience in itself. When we arrived at the Kodokan we were met by a young 4th Dan who took us in for registration then into the Kodokan Judo Museum, we spent quite a while in here as there was so much history to see including Jigoro Kano's training gi photo's and artifacts.
Shunsuke Yamasaki had booked our rooms which were single and very basic but at £17 pppn we were very greatful.
We made our way up to floor 7F and entered the main dojo, there was no tuition available so the others got straight into some randori and I mixed in with some very old Japanese judoka who were practising kata. After about thirty minutes that came to an end and I made my way back to where the others were, as i approached them I heard an English voice saying "hello Chris" as I turned to my great suprise and pleasure, it was Stephen Blower whom I had not seen since we competed against each other in London some 25 years previously, what a coincidence that we should both be in this dojo half way around the world on the same evening. Steve had been living in Japan for about 13 years and had infact married a Japanese lady, anyway we had about ten minutes randori and then I had the same with Steve's friend James Barringer who was originally from Totonto Canada. Barry McSherry had also been at the same championship as a junior that Steve and I had last seen each other all those years ago. When we finished our session, we all went off to a restaurant in the Roppongi district to end a really memorable evening.

PHOTO, Stephen Blower and I, October 2007, at the Kodokan.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Bushido Judo Kwai Senior Members in Japan

October 2007 and five Bushido Judo Kwai senior members arrived in Japan, this was the first time that any of our members had been to the homeland of judo.
Chris Dawson, Barry McSherry, Malcolm Young, Mick Clarke and Brian Batey had received an invitation to train at the dojo of Professor Shunsuke Yamasaki 7th Dan at Konan University, Kobe, Japan.
We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express, Shin Kobe and on our first morning we were met by Kizuki San who guided us around the Japanese rail system to our final destination.
Yamasaki Sensei was pleased to see us and made us very welcome, as did all of his students, what we did'nt know until just a week or two before we left England, was that Shunsuke Yamasaki had attended Newcastle University for about a year, sixteen years priviously, and had lived in Cullercoats, North Tyneside, he was also very good friends with two very well respected local judoka - John Gallon and Charles Oughton, with whom he had trained with when they were in Japan in the sixties.
I first trained with Charles at the Hokojun Judo Club in 1961 and with John at his dojo in the mid seventies, with all of this background we were treated almost like family. Photo, Malclom Young 3rd Dan, Brian Batey 1st Dan, Yamasaki Sensei 7th Dan, Chris Dawson 6th Dan, Barry McSherry 4th Dan and Mick Clark 1st Dan.
Photo, Akitoshi Sogabe 5th Dan and Chris Dawson.
Photo, Konan Judo Squad.
BUSHIDO JUDO KWAI was founded 3rd May 1976