We recently interviewed the representative of Kyokushin Karate, Kenichi Yoshida. Kyokushin Karate has been in Australia for a solid 40 years and currently has around 10,000 students.
Both the office and Dojo are located in Bondi Junction and is used exclusively for its 500 students ranging from ages from 5 to 80 years old for practice and training. Even though they have a large number of students, the ones who compete in tournaments are usually between 20 – 30 years old. Admirably, some of these students have already achieved their black belt.
We were very lucky and thrilled to have a chance to see how they trained during the interview.
Q: What brings you the most joy about teaching karate?
A: Some people have found an interest in Japan through karate, which could influence some to go to Japan to train and further gain a deeper and cultural understanding of the martial art.
Q: Why do you think Australians start doing karate?
A: Karate has many benefits, people do it to get healthy, to get stronger and for self-defence. At first I find most people take up karate to develop physical strength, however, the longer you train, the more likely you are to also build a strong mentality.
Although you learn to protect yourself in karate we also put great emphasis on integrity—not to abuse one’s strengths. In order to improve in the art of karate you must improve both your mental and physical strengths.
Q: Can we assume that if you start karate now you’ll lose weight by summer?
A: Yes, it’s possible! A person who is not used to exercising can lose around 4 to 5 kgs in the first 1 or 2 months, therefore your summer body will be ready by then. Some even lose 1.5kg in the first lesson if you work hard enough!
Q: For you, which part of your body are you confident in?
A: I’m confident with my whole body. For example, I use my arms to block attacks so I have to make sure that there conditioned enough to handle attacks.
Wow! I had to use both my hands to completely wrap around his arm! The thickness of his arms are also amazing and it feels extremely strong. If you had these arms, you can definitely defend against any kind of attack!
Q: Please tell us what part of the performance would be most appealing to the audience this coming Matsuri.
A: At this year’s Matsuri, we’ll live up to tradition and break a baseball bat again this year. There will also be a presentation on the practical use of Kyokushin Karate. The audience can look forward to a powerful fight demonstration as well. I believe that our demonstrations will undoubtedly attract many to the Matsuri this year!
Q: What are the performers looking forward to at the Matsuri?
A: As a performer, I believe that you should perform with your all regardless of the size of the audience. To have the honour of having your presence there gives us strength to perform even better. I expect that this Matsuri will definitely attract a lot of attention.
Q: What are the future goals for the Kyokushin Karate?
A: For the younger performers, I hope performing at the Matsuri will give them an unforgettable experience. The energy they receive from performing in front of a large audience will help them not only flourish as a martial artist, but also as a human being. On top of that, through the passion and love for martial arts from the public, I deeply believe that this can become the bridge between Australia and Japan.
Q: What does Matsuri mean to you, Mr. Yoshida?
A: One word: Harmony. If we can put our daily regiment on display at the Matsuri and let the people be moved by our performance, it will help local Australians to further grasp the beauty of the Japanese culture. This mutual cultural understanding may then serve as a foundation for a more harmonious global community.
Recently, we interviewed Mr Yoshida and he explained to us that Karate is actually a link between the two cultures: Australia and Japan. We are glad that there are people like Mr. Yoshida who are participating in the Matsuri. The karate performers in this year’s Matsuri are going to show a more practical performance of karate compared to previous years so don’t miss out!
In the meantime, we will also bring to you interviews from other performers. Stay tuned!
Interviewers: Miho Tojiki, Mei Hayasaka
Translator: Jimmy Lindeck