Minnesota Itosu-Kai members were fortunate to host Shihan Fumio
Demura's annual visit to Winona, July 19-23. In addition to Shihan Demura, Itosu-Kai members traveled from California, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma,
Michigan and Pennsylvania to
participate in the event.  Denise Nguyen, Debi Bain and her son, Jared Bain, traveled from California with Shihan Demura. They arrived on Thursday. On Thursday evening,
Shihan presided over testing for adults and juniors at the Dojo. Ms. Nguyen joined the Minnesota
instructors in assisting with testing.  On Friday, Dan Picha coordinated a successful fishing trip for Shihan
Demura, Mr. Bill Stoner of
Pennsylvania, Debi Bain, Jared Bain, Denise Nguyen, and Anthony
Sorrentino of Michigan. Following the fishing trip, Dan hosted a dinner at his home. Friday evening, Shihan
Demura taught kata classes for all ranks at the Dojo. As always, his teaching brought a new level of
understanding to our practice of kata. After the kata classes, Shihan
Demura held referee training for black belts. Saturday morning began with red belt testing at the Dojo, followed by the Minnesota Itosu-Kai / Winona Family YMCA Karate-Do Tournament at the Winona Y. This year's tournament featured Batto-Do
competition in both kata and tameshegiri - this is the first time Batto competition has been held anywhere in Minnesota. Following the tournament, everyone cleaned up and gathered at the Winona Elks Club for the annual awards dinner. This year's guest of honor was District Court Judge Jeffery

Thompson, a long time practitioner of martial arts. The dinner was also attended by recently crowned Miss Winona, Gretchen Johnson. Judge Thompson gave an insightful speech on how daily practice of the martial arts, especially Tai Chi Chuan, have made a tremendous difference in his life. Shihan Demura spoke about Karate-Do as a way of Life, which means more than just competition and medals. He emphasized that Karate-Do training should give us strength in all areas of our lives, the strength that allows us to fall 7 times, and get up 8 times. Shihan also made several awards, including:
Grant Gehlhart - Sho Dan Ho (junior)
Brian Picha - Sho Dan Ho (junior)
Scott Picha - Sho Dan Ho (junior)
Shubham Debnath - Sho Dan (junior)
John Walsh III - Sho Dan (junior)
Richmond McCluer - Sho Dan - Toyama Ryu Batto-Do
Mike Wahl - referee training
Dave Evenson - referee training
Denise Nguyen - referee training
Mr. Speck presented the student of the year awards:
YMCA - Cody Evenson
Winona State University - Richard Schreiber
Dojo Junior - Amanda Poulin
Dojo Adult - Seth Johnson
Shihan Demura held kata training for black belts on Sunday morning,
followed by seminars in Karate-Do, Kobu-Do and Batto-Do. He was
assisted in the seminars by Richard Denton (KS), Bryan Crismas (KS), Jim Otter (KS), Dean Heinitz (KS),
Bill Stoner (PA), Mike Wahl (KS), Fritz Speck (MN). After the seminars, many of our out of state guests started their long trips home. Mr. Heinitz,  Mr. Stoner and their groups 

stayed an extra day. They joined Shihan Demura and many others at the Eagles Pavilion on Lake Winona for a picnic and barbecue. It was a lovely, warm evening full of good food, good friends and relaxation. On Monday, Tae Kwon Do instructor Rob Williams took Shihan Demura, Mr. McCluer, Jared Bain and Adam Johnson bass fishing. After a wild early morning thunderstorm, the day turned into a pleasant one, and everyone caught fish. Well, almost everyone - Adam had a few bites but failed to boat any fish! Monday evening, Shihan Demura taught a Karate-Do class at the Dojo. The price of admission for Karate students was - bring a friend! Over 60 people crowded the Dojo for an energetic class led by Shihan Demura! After the class, black belts and red belts gathered at Dave Evenson's home for chicken, burgers and some talk around the fire pit. On Tuesday, Shihan and our California guests were back to California, while the rest of us were back to our everyday routine. This year's event was an exciting and fulfilling one for all of us - and each year we realize how lucky we are to have the wisdom and guidance of Shihan Demura, as well as the assistance and support of all the
members of the Itosu-Kai family. Without the help given by all of the people from Kansas, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Oklahoma, Michigan, and California, we could never hold an event of this size. Our friendships within the Itosu-Kai family are an important part of our Karate-Do way of life. Together with Shihan Demua's guidance, these freindships help strengthen us on the path of Karate-Do as a lifetime practice.