The world Budosai is a prestigious Karate event in the arts homeland of Okinawa ever four years. The brain child of the International Okinawan Goju-ryu Karate-do Federation (IOGKF), the event is lead by legendary Karate master, Sensei Morio Higaonna.

The Australian Okinawan Goju-ryu Karate-do Federation (AOGKF) lead by it’s chief instructor, Sensei Joe Roses, took a team of over 55 members to Okinawa to experience all that the island had to offer.

Before this, a small group of Australian members lead by executive committee members, Sensei Kevin Nash and Sensei David Lambert, visited Tokyo on the way to Okinawa. Never missing an opportunity to train some twenty plus AOGKF members spent a day training at the Shiki Karate Dojo of Sensei Joseph Tait, who in turn organised world famous master, Sensei Kazuo Terauchi to instruct.

AOGKF members were well aware of Terauchi Sensei’s tough and physical training style and they were not disappointed. When the team hit the 200 push up mark (after a few hundred shiko dachi punches), many were wondering if Terauchi Sensei was going to ever stop counting. But before they knew it, every one was sharing a cold drink (or sake) at what was called the ‘survivors party’.

Sensei Kevin and Sensei David presented Australian team tops to both Terauchi Sensei and Sensei Joseph for their efforts in organising the Gasshuku. They also present a small gift to Wakako Tait for organising all of the teams accommodation in Shiki.

If the team through Tokyo was hot, they were quickly enlightened as to how wrong they were when they exited Naha airport in Okinawa. Seeing that the accommodation for our teams were close to the centre of town, Sensei Lambert decided to take everyone to see the famous Higaonna Dojo before checking in. Lugging their suitcases up the steep hill to the Higaonna Dojo saw the sweat pouring out of everyone and helped them to quickly understand the importance of always having water with you. All the temperate was 36 degrees, most smart phones were saying it ‘felt like’ 47 degrees.

The team enjoyed sight seeing opportunities at the Okinawan aquarium, Shuri Castle, chinese gardens and of course the rehab bar in between the weeks training.

Registration began on the Monday and it was clear that the Budosai event was going to be something special when over 1,100 people burst through the doors. AOGKF members helped out at the event with Sensei Lambert assisting in the process and Sensei Roses utilising his multi-lingual skills and acting as a Spanish translator for some time. Despite the massive numbers the day ran very smoothly.

Training began the next day with black belt training for 3rd Dan and above up first. Each day began the same, with the rank required for entry increasing each morning. The final day saw a very small group of 7th Dan and above training directly under Supreme Master Morio Higaonna. Sensei Joe Roses (Australian Chief Instructor) was a part of the highly dedicated group.

Following this, every day the entire Gasshuku group of 1,100 people would come together in the main arena for a group warm up and basics session. Over the course of the week these sessions were lead by Sensei Morio Higaonna, Sensei Tetsuji Nakamura, Sensei Ernie Molyneux and Sensei Henrik Larsen.

These sessions seem to fly by, as did the following group sessions. Three grade specific group classes were held each day after the morning sessions with some of the world’s best instructors rotating around.

Sensei David Lambert was fortunate enough to be invited once again to instruct at the junior Gasshuku component of the Budosai where around 60 kids and teenagers were waiting for him each day.

All the classes were of a high technical standard and AOGKF members seemed to enjoy them greatly.

Wednesday saw AOGKF chairman, Sensei Kevin Nash, enter the closed off grading examination room to test for 6th Dan. Sensei Joe Roses was also granted access to the strictly closed arena to view the testing. We are happy to report Sensei Kevin was one of a few who achieved the prestigious rank he tested for. Congratulations again Sensei Kevin!

The real surprise came at the country photos, where we discovered Australia had the 5th largest country in attendance at the event! This was a real milestone for our country and congratulations and thank you to all the Australian’s who traveled to support this event! Sensei Joe Roses (Australian Chief Instructor) noted how in previous years Australia had not even made the top 15 countries in attendance at this event and that it was great to see that Goju-ryu Karate had developed so well in Australia from the 2012 Budosai to this event.

A masters demonstration was also held and the main arena was packed with spectators from IOGKF and the general public. It is estimated some 2500 – 3000 people were in attendance. The demonstrations began with all black belts performing Sanchin Kata. Over 1000 black belts were presented demonstrating with our own Sensei Joe Roses being in the front row, due to his extensive experience and dedication to IOGKF and Higaonna Sensei.

Following this Sensei David Lambert was invited to be involved in the Okinawa Honbu Dojo demonstrations where performed on the Take (Bamboo bundle) and with two chishi’s (stone weighted lever). Sensei Lambert and long time friend Eric Higaonna (son of Master Higaonna) also teamed up again to perform a demonstration of Goju-ryu free and ground fighting.

At the conclusion of the Budosai event all the Australian’s present sang together at the Sayonara party with much joy and affection. The AOGKF team retired back to their ‘local’ the Rehab bar where they celebrated the success of this trip late into the night.

On behalf of Sensei Joe Roses and the AOGKF Executive Committee, we thank all those members and their families and friends who traveled to Okinawa to support the world Budosai. We cannot thank you enough for your support, trust and faith in us and the AOGKF.

The next major event for the AOGKF is the 2016 National Gasshuku and Championships which will be held in Orange, NSW from November 5-6. Sensei Joe, Sensei Kevin and Sensei David hope to see you all there!