November 19, 2008

19th World Karate Championships

(L to R) Richard, Wessel, and David in front of the Nippon Budokan.

Wessel and I were lucky enough to go to the 19th World Karate Championships, an all-styles tournament. We were able to see the best fighters watch them fight and study their moves as well as see them take the stand and receive their medals. For me, it was less of a show and a bit more about studying kumite.

I noticed how much some fighters attack in comparison to the most successful fighters, and how they only attack when they have a sure target or know their opponent well enough to win in an exchange of attacks. It was also fun to cheer for my country and I got a few Japanese fans next to me to start shouting "CANADA!".

Wessel and I have gone to a lot karate related events and we’re starting to get noticed more often at events. We're also starting to notice who is more active than others or who is famous in the karate community. I hope to continue this sport when I go back to Canada and hopefully make a good name for myself someday too. Attending all of these events has probably helped me in doing so.

- David

November 19, 2008

More karate, karate, karate.

Wessel (R) with 2008 World Karate Championship double gold medalist, Rafael Aghayev (Azerbaijan, left).

On November 16, Dave and I went to the 19th World Karate Championships in the Nippon Budokan and were able the see the best fighters in the world. We were very lucky to get a chance to go, since the championship is held all over the world and it is only the second time it’s the tournament has been held in Japan.

We arrived at the Budokan around 8:30am and went home around 7:30pm. It was a really long day, but really cool.

A thing that I really liked about the tournament was that the competitors were sitting on the normal seats. Dave and I just sat down somewhere and apparently we were sitting very close to a famous karate competitor from Azerbaijan. A lot of people went to him to take pictures and get autographs. I had no idea who he was, so at first I didn’t do anything.

When I saw him fight I understood what makes in so good. After he got into the finals for -70 kilograms and beat a famous Japanese fighter in semi-finals, I asked him to sign my happy elephant notebook (which I use to study my kanji and math). After he won the finals for -70kg I got a really great picture with him.

It was a really cool day and I'm so glad that I went!


November 19, 2008

Jason's knee

Jason with his dad at the airport.

Hi everyone. It's Jason Davidson writing to you from Melbourne, Australia. I have been back in Melbourne since Thursday November, 6, 2008 for a knee operation. I flew out of Japan on the Wednesday before and arrived into Melbourne on the following morning. I went straight from the airport to a private hospital and that afternoon I underwent surgery on my right knee.

My injury happened the previous week during training when I tried to dribble my opponent. My boot stuck into the ground with my full weight on my knee and experienced a crunch when I turned. I knew immediately something was wrong as I twisted my knee. Usually I run out the pain, but this time I knew instantly it was a lot more serious as the pain persisted and it became unbearable.

I have had a niggling knee problem for a while and my coaches and doctor were aware of it. So when I fronted them with this new injury and explained what had happened they immediately knew I had done something more serious to it as well.

Once I arrived at the hospital I was introduced to knee specialist Mr David Young who wanted to see the MRI scans taken from Japan. I was told that I had seriously torn and damaged my internal meniscus (cartilage in the knee) which needed surgery straight away.The operation went for an hour and I had to stay in hospital recovering for a week. Mr Young has told me that the surgery went smoothly and he removed my cartilage and also explained that I was required to stay on crutches and have no weight on my knee for another 3 weeks and then start my rehabilitation for another 6 to 8 weeks before seeing him again.

Hopefully I can get back into the same peak condition as I was in before this injury occurred within that time. My father chose to have my operation in Melbourne with Mr Young, who is the National Football Team and Australian Olympic Team surgeon and he has also operated on both my father's knee's in the past. He knows my and our family history and we wanted Mr Young do the operation as we feel he is one of the best knee surgeons in Australia. Another reason for having the operation here in Melbourne is that he offered to operate straight away and I have my family supporting me during this difficult time and my rehabilitation would be less stressful.

I am not stepping on the leg at the moment but my knee feels very weak and strange. My rehabilitation will require swimming, exercises and build up to walking to running and a lot of weight training to build the muscle tissue around my knee over time. I expect to be well and truly ready to return in the new year which is what Mr Young has predicted if all goes well.

I am so frustrated now that I am not playing and training now, as it is a huge part of my life style in Tokyo, but I also understand that injuries are part of the game and to keep focussed and positive for when I return on the field, the most important thing now is to have a proper rehabilitation program in place and work hard on it.

I have also sent some photo's of me arriving in Melbourne with my dad and some shots of me in hospital before and after the operation as well as some pic's of my knee!!

Jason Davidson

Jason post-operation.

Jason's knee after the surgery.

November 19, 2008

Karate Karate Karate

L to R: David, Richard, Oliva Sensei, Lawrence, and Wessel.

On November 9, the really famous karate coach Antonio Oliva Seba Sensei held two kumite (fighting) seminars somewhere in Saitama, the prefecture north Tokyo. There was a morning session for kids and an afternoon session for adults. Richard organized it and Dave and I had a chance to go to both of them.

Some athletes from the Hungarian team and a really good fighter from Latvia (who got second place in the junior world championships and is the same age as Dave and me) helped Oliva Sensei to explain his teachings.

They are here in Japan because the week after the seminar the world championships were held.
We trained all day long with short breaks in between and I really learned a lot. Not any new awesome kick techniques or anything, but more about karate, myself and the things you should keep an eye out for while sparring.


November 19, 2008

David at Antonio Oliva Sensei's Kumite Seminar

In my month full of Karate, I was able to attend my first karate seminar, hosted by Oliva Sensei, one of the greatest kumite coaches in the world. I took a lot from it- a few new drills and some key pointers to remember during kumite that were especially important for me.

I really needed this seminar, considering kumite isn’t really my strong point. It was also really great to see some of the people that Wessel and I have already met from past tournaments, as well as being able to meet people from the Shiramizu karate club, the dojo affiliated with the internship program Richard runs.

I think that was one of the best parts of the seminar for me was getting a chance to fight other people. So far I have only really done kumite against the others in my club, and because the Seiritsu club isn’t that big, it’s hard to get a lot of variation. Besides karate, I got to see the country side of Japan. Overall it was a pretty good day.


November 10, 2008

All Soccer, All Weekend

A Seiritsu student carries some of the team's gear to the game.

Hi everyone its Ryosuke again. Today is our first day back to school since our three day weekend. Even though school was off, we had soccer games on two of the three days we had off.

This weekend's schedule was quite hard because we played some of the best teams in Japan. Our first game was against Ryukei Kashiwa which is last year's National High School Champion. This is the team that won the Inter-High tournament.

The next day was training and we had to make sure that we were in good condition for our next and more important game, which was against the youth team Omiya Artija. Against this team we were supposed to be playing the B-team, but because we had won our last two games against them, they decided to bring in half of their A-team.

These guys were huge and basically adults. Not one player in our team was that big and there were about five or six of them bigger than all of us. After the exhausting ninety minute game, we lost and it was time to face the wrath of the coaches... or so I thought. But our coach was in a good mood and in the end, all was well.

Hopefully we win our next game so that we don’t even have to worry about the coaches mood.

Ryousuke Yano

November 10, 2008

A Weekend With The Seiritsu Karate Club

(L to R)- Rui, Yuka, and Yukiko strut their stuff in Team Kata.

One of the many kumite matches throughout the day.

The entire club (and their trophies) at the end of the Kita-ku Tournamnt.

Hey everyone, it’s been a while since the last update. This time around I’ll be talking about the recent karate tournaments that the Seiritsu karate club have been participating in.

I went to a total of 3 tournaments in the past two weeks, all of them in Tokyo. Two official tournaments and one city tournament. The karate club attended all three and did fairly well.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from a karate tournament, other than seeing a lot of dogis and black belts. I was surprised to see that there are a few kata [predetermined move sets, where the competitor has to execute a series of techniques with utmost precision.] that were much more popular than others. I got to see some kata that really left me in awe, as well as some kumite [sparring] that literally made my jaw drop.

A few things did shock me besides the actual event were the energetic, always ready and always helping competitors doing everything from preparing to cleaning at the end. These type of things would rarely happen in Quebec...

The tournaments made me to want to train a lot harder than usual; it gave me a certain hunger to do karate, more so than before. Since the first tournament I’ve been waking up as early as 5:30 AM and heading to the school dojo for an hour of morning practice. So I’ve been getting 3 hours a day... (Counting the 2 hours I do after school.)

Besides that, the tournaments were good for the bonding of the club. Wessel and I got to talk with the team a lot more, help out and make some jokes here and there as the weeks went by. Since the first tournament, I think we’ve been getting closer as friends and as a unit.

I should also add that some of our club members won some awards from these competitions. Congratulations to Yuka, for getting Top 8 in individual women's kumite and then 4th in another individual women’s kumite the following week. I’d also like to congratulate Ryota-Sempai, Shun-Sempai and Carl for their winnings in the Kita-ku (North-region of Tokyo) tournament as well.

Anyhow, that’s all for this time. Thanks for reading everyone.


November 10, 2008

3 Day Weekend

The team gathers after a practice.

Hey everyone its Dylan again.

It is Tuesday now and I have just finished a 3 day weekend. Monday was a public holiday but instead of having a day off, we had a game. On Saturday we traveled two hours by bus to Maebashi Gakuen. This is one of the best high school soccer teams in Japan and unfortunately Seiritsu lost 1-0 from a goal that came in the second half.

On Sunday we had a game at our home ground against Yokohama FC which is a second division J-League club. This team was very good at keeping the ball as their first touch was very good but unfortunately for them, they did not have the strength or speed and we beat them 4-0. On Monday we played against Ryukei Kashiwa which is also one of the best high schools in Japan and, as a matter of fact, Ryukei Kashiwa won the National High School Soccer competition in 2007. But this year they were not so lucky and have already been knocked out of the Tokyo competition in a game that went to penalties.

This meant that all the 3rd years from Ryukei left the school as they have nothing left to stay for (ed- Third year students often take their last 6 months off from club activities to focus on studying for university entrance exams). So the Seiritsu B-1 team (1st years) played against the best of the 1st and 2nd years from Ryukei. It was a tight game but they were a lot more physically stronger and bigger than us and we went down 2-1.

Despite all that, I had a great 3 day weekend and I cant wait until the next!

By Dylan Windust

November 10, 2008

Poom & Oden

Hmmm...... what to pick...

Hi everyone, this is Poom.

This time I'm writing about what I like from Japanese convenience stores. It’s a bit different from my country’s convenience store. In Japan every convenience stores must have a restroom inside but in Thailand, some do not. The most interesting for me in convenience store is oden. Oden is a popular Japanese dish where various foods are cooked in a broth. It is even tastier if you eat in while it's hot and put some karashi (mustard) on it.

Most of 7-Eleven stores in Japan sell oden. It's kept simmering in the big pot, waiting for customers to buy some. First time I saw, I was impressed by the way the convenience store sell oden to customers. Customers can choose whatever they want to eat and pay the price by what was picked from the pot. Everything looks delicious!! First time I tasted it, it was very nice, especially because I ate it while it still hot.

I always go buy some oden if I feel hungry at home because it’s easy and delicious. I hope everyone gets a chance to try some oden.


November 10, 2008

Wessel's New Toy

Wess' got mail!

Oss! This is Wessel (oras the Japanese say it; besseru). A lot happened this month. I got a new phone and now I’m mailing a lot of my new Japanese friends almost everyday.

One thing I really like about this is because it’s cheap. It’s only 300 yen ($3/ 2.40 euros) a month for unlimited emailing and SMS text messaging. In Holland it would cost me a lot more and I wouldn’t really use it anyways.

For me talking in Japanese is still difficult. I can ask questions, but I don’t really understand the answers. But when I’m emailing, I have more time to look up words. This way I also learn a lot.
It’s also good for reading and writing. I don’t really have problems with hiragana (Japanese alphabet) and katakana (Japanese alphabet for foreign words and names) anymore and I’m actually learning new kanji (Chinese characters).

I’m glad I’m finally part of the Japanese phone community (literally everyone here has one) and I wish it was like this in Holland as well.



November 10, 2008

Back to Australia

Jason and his bandages.

Hi everyone, I've had a very busy schedule since my last blog.

Everything was going well until two Fridays ago, when I injured my knee quite severely. I am returned back to Australia last Wednesday (Nov 5) to get an operation on my knee. I will also be doing my rehab in Australia so it might be a while till my next blog.

It was very bad timing for me to get injured because, as you might know, we have one of the most important games of this year this following Saturday. Although I will not play, I hope that my teammates can pull off a victory and make it to the Tokyo finals. If they make the finals and win, then they will go to the Nationals. If the make that then I will be able to rejoin the team and hopefully get some game time. For the meantime, I am just worrying about getting through the operation and having a good a speedy recovery.

That’s all from me this time around. I will be heading home to Australia tomorrow so it might be a while till my next blog.

Jason Davidson



about Seiritsu

Seiritsu Gakuen is a private co-educational high school created in 1925 and it is located in Tokyo, Japan.

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