This weekend, April 20 to 22, the Shotokan Karate Club will host Sensei Teruyuki Okazaki, a world renowned master of the martial art.
p. Okazaki is the last student of Gichen Funakoshi, the original founder of Shokotan Karate. During his visit to the College, he will impart teaching and training methods that hail directly from Japan.
p. Okazaki has a ninth-degree black belt in Shotokan Karate, which signifies the highest possible level of achievement in the martial art. He is also the author of “Perfection of Character” — a book on the basic principles of karate — and an administrator of the International Shotokan Karate Federation.
p. Although he calls Philadelphia home, Okazaki is an international traveler and teaches Shokotan Karate around the world. “We are very lucky to have him here as often as we do,” sophomore Patrick Allen, president of the Shotokan Karate Club, said.
p. Allen has trained under Okazaki, who makes annual visits to the College each fall, winter and spring due to his close friendship with Steve Pohle, the club’s sensei. His visit presents an opportune time for students of karate to test into a higher belt level.
p. “It is really awesome to be able to say that you were certified by one of the world masters, especially for people testing for their black belt,” Allen said. “It is also extremely beneficial for your training. Not only that, but Okazaki is just a remarkable person. He embodies the mental health, self-image and respect that are ideals of Shotokan karate and of Japanese culture.”
p. He also said that as a master of Shotokan Karate, Okazaki has “basically flawless form,” and that for a 75-year-old man, he appears “faster, more flexible and stronger than most 20- to 25-year olds.”
p. Okazaki will be in Newport News Saturday and Sunday conducting clinics and dining with Shotokan students from around the region. He will be at the College Friday evening for a training session that the public is welcome to observe. It will include kata (fighting multiple imaginary opponents), sparing (against an actual opponent) and other demonstrations of Shotokan Karate techniques that in the past have attracted many alumni of the Shotokan Karate Club as well as local enthusiasts.
p. The location of Friday’s training session is yet to be determined, but will most likely be Adair Gymnasium or the Rec Center. Any student interested in attending or learning more about the Shotokan Karate Club should contact Allen at [email protected] or check out the club website at www.wm.edu/so/shotokan.