Orlando Tai Kai 2001

by James L. Otter, Chief Instructor, Japan Karate-Do Itosu-Kai of Pittsburg, KS


Several Itosu-Kai members from Pittsburg, Kansas and Burlington, North Carolina attended and participated in the 2001 U.S. Federation of Toyama Ryu Batto Jutsu Tai Kai in Orlando, Florida on August 24th  & 25th . Participants included David Jones (North Carolina), Cassandra Stuckey (Kansas), Mike Wahl (Kansas), Richard Denton (Kansas), Bryan Crismas (Kansas) and James Otter (Kansas).

The Tai Kai was organized and coordinated by Bob Elder Sensei (East Coast Martial Arts) and his students from the U.S. Federation of Toyama Ryu Batto Jutsu Orlando dojo. Special guests from Japan, the U.S. and Canada included Ueki Sensei (Kaicho -Zen Nihon Batto-Do Renmei (All Japan Batto-Do Association)), Sakaeda Sensei (ZNBDR), Hataya Sensei and his son (Japan), Karl McClafferty Sensei (Texas), Kim Taylor Sensei (Canada), and Guy Power Sensei (California). The special guests conducted seminars on Thursday and Friday, demonstrated their sword art and served as chief officials for the tournament. Most of the instructors had several of their students in attendance.

The Pittsburg, Kansas group left Joplin, Missouri early (6:00 am) bound for St. Louis and then on to Orlando.  We arrived at the motel an hour before seminars, so we checked in and headed directly for Elder Sensei's dojo and our first seminar with Ueki Sensei.  The first seminar conducted by Ueki Sensei was a kata seminar focused on the eight chuden (middle) seitei katas. These were quite interesting and challenging kata considering the pace Ueki Sensei kept. The second seminar conducted by Ueki Sensei and Sakaeda Sensei was even more challenging. It was a tameshigiri seminar focused on Inazuma, Nami-Gaeshi and Dodan cutting patterns. We cut a lot of wara and received much needed personal instruction on the details of proper cutting. After completion of the seminars, we finally had a chance to go back to our motel and find some place to eat.  We needed to pick Jones Sempai up at the airport @ 9:00.  So we decided we had time to eat what else but ---SUSHI.  We really enjoyed the meal and left with a good feeling of fulfillment as well as knowing that would had contributed significantly to the local Orlando economy.  We finally picked up Jones Sempai and proceeded back to the motel. Friday evening our group spent some social time with Ueki Sensei and Sakaeda Sensei discussing numerous batto related topics. 

The Tai Kai began on Saturday morning with an official ceremony including a line up of all competing schools and an introduction of all dignitaries and officials. Everyone in our group signed up to compete in every event except Cassie. Since she was not eighteen years old they only allowed her to compete in kata.   The competition started with dodan cutting. Everyone did pretty well in dodan cutting considering it was the first time for most of us to cut competitively on double rolled wara. The next event was wakizashi tameshigiri in which one had to qualify by completing godan giri (five cuts) on a single wara. Only five competitors qualified to compete in the finals.  No one from our team qualified.  The next events were kata.  Richard, Cassie, Bryan and Mike all competed in Shodan and under kata. Dave and Jim competed in the Nidan/Sandan level. This was definitely the highlight of our team.  Richard Denton finished first and Cassie Stuckey finished second against 40+ competitors in the Shodan and under division.  In fact, our own team members ended up eliminating our other team members.  Mike Wahl and Bryan Crismas ended up against

Tai Kai (Continued on page 4)