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News Archives

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Dec. 15/08 - Last Gradings Of The Year And Some Unfinished Business

Before the dojo closed for the Christmas break, Sensei decided to grade a few more of our kids.  In our beginner kids class, Matt C. and Phillip D. were tested and promoted to 9th Kyu.  Congratulations to both of them.  That left only some "unfinished business" in the advanced kids class.

Sensei had originally planned to grade Stella M., Isaiah M. and Philippe R. back in November, but Stella injured her wrist (not during karate, but in gym class at school) prior to the scheduled night of their grading.  In lieu of proceeding with the grading on their own that evening, Isaiah and Philippe asked Sensei to delay their grading until Stella recovered so they could all be graded together!  When Sensei announced their decision at the end of that class, the dojo erupted in spontaneous applause by all who were present that night.  It was an unselfish gesture which impressed everyone, most of all Stella's mom who was so moved that she wrote a letter to Sensei and asked that we post it on our website.  Isaiah's and Philippe's parents are no doubt very proud of them, as are Sensei and the rest of West Island Karate.  So on this December evening, all three of them were finally graded...together.  They all did an awesome job and were awarded their 3rd Kyu...together.  Way to go guys!  Congratulations to all of you.  Osu!

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Dec. 13/08 - Dojo Family Christmas Party

West Island Karate's annual Family Christmas Party is becoming quite the event!  This year was no different.  It featured a delicious potluck supper (thanks to everyone who brought something to share), cool background music (courtesy of Rosalie's iPod...thanks Rosalie!), another appearance from live band the Kohais, dancing, videos of our recent Halloween Training and the 3rd I.K.O. Matsushima World Open in Japan including Sempai Alex's fight (courtesy of Karate Dad Productions  ), and a surprise visit from Sempai Santa complete with gifts for all the kids (or at least for those who trained hard all year according to a very jet-lagged Sensei John :-)).  Whew!  It was great fun to say the least and a nice way to celebrate another outstanding year at West Island Karate with our extended dojo family.

On behalf of Sensei, many thanks to all the volunteers (in particular Laurie L.) who gave of their time during this busy holiday season to organize another awesome party!  Thanks also to Susie and Alex H. for once again loaning us their projector so we could show the videos.  Your humble webmaster would also like to pass along a personal note of gratitude to my band Timeless (posing as the Kohais for this event only) who once again volunteered to rock out our party (trust me...it's a nice change of pace from playing wedding gigs all year :-)).  Thank you to everyone for listening and dancing along to our music (I apologize if the volume got a little out of hand...my band doesn't get out much...we'll keep it down next time :-)).

Happy holidays to you and all of your families.  May the New Year bring continued health and prosperity.  Osu!

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Nov. 29/08 - The 3rd I.K.O. Matsushima World Open


The 3rd I.K.O. Matsushima World Open Kyokushin Karate Tournament had finally arrived.  A small group from West Island Karate (including your humble webmaster) accompanied Sempai Alex to Isesaki, Japan, to watch her compete and to lend our support.  Others cheered her on through messages they left for her in our Guestbook.  She told me later that she had decided to do this immediately after Sempai Jimmy fought at the same tournament in 2004.  Alex was all of 14 years old then.  Despite her youth, she committed to doing whatever it took to reach her goal.  Besides the countless hours of grueling training (many of them over and beyond her regular karate classes) for the past four years, she also scraped together the money through a variety of jobs to pay for much of the trip herself.  Alex accomplished all this while keeping up her school work, assisting and teaching classes at the dojo, and somehow finding the time to learn Japanese as well!

Her many years of diligent preparation were immediately obvious from the first moments of the fight as she battled her taller, heavier South African opponent.  Sempai Alex fought hard and took the match into an extension round, but in the end, it wasn't quite enough as the judges awarded the decision to her adversary.  Regardless of the outcome, we couldn't be more proud of Alex!  Her debut in Japan was a very auspicious one and she definitely left her mark on the World Open (as well as on her opponent's sternum :-)).  Click here to read about her fight and the days leading up to it in a short blog that I compiled while we were in Japan.  Better yet, click the photo at left above to watch the video of her fight.  Outstanding job Alex!

And as you may have no doubt heard through the West Island Karate rumour mill by now :-), Sensei John surprised Alex the day after her fight by announcing that she would be graded for her Shodan while in Japan!  She certainly earned it and you'll be happy to know that Alex passed her grading with flying colours (we've come to expect no less from her by now).  Click the photo at right above to see her dad's pictures of her black belt grading (that would be our very own Rickster shown above holding the green pads for Alex at her grading) at the I.K.O. Matsushima honbu (headquarters) in Japan.  Omedetou gozaimashita (congratulations) Sempai Alex...well done!  You are a true inspiration to all of us at West Island Karate.  OSU!

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Nov. 25/08 - West Island Karate's Mascot

Meet the newest member of Sensei and Sempai Nancy's family and our official West Island Karate mascot...DEXTER!  Part Whippet and part Labrador, he's already made an appearance at the dojo (although you may not have known because he was quietly hiding out in Sensei's office :-)).  He's very friendly, great with kids and rarely barks.  Isn't he a cutey?  Expect to see him at the dojo every now and then.  Welcome to the West Island Karate family Dexter!  Osu!

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Nov. 19/08 - Higher Belts Get Graded

Tonight Sensei turned his attention to eight of our higher belts as he graded them for their next Kyu.  It was a long night.  For those who stayed to assist or to simply watch the grading, they witnessed a physical and mental ordeal designed to challenge the spirit of even the most prepared karateka.  After Sempai Patsy led the class through the usual warm-up, Sensei put the eight higher belts through an additional strength and conditioning test.  I'll spare you the gory details, suffice to say that it was grueling.  Sensei then proceeded to test their katas and left no stone unturned, including having the higher belts perform multiple katas consecutively (some in ura) without a pause.  Even bo katas were tested (fortunately no ceiling fans were damaged in the process :-)).  Finally they were required to fight for the appropriate amount of time, depending on the level for which they were being graded.  Needless to say, they were pushed to the limit during the kumite portion of the test, but all of them were up to the task.  Approximately three short hours later :-), they were awarded what they had thoroughly earned through their training and the evening's grading.  Omedetou gozaimashita (congratulations) to Kimm C. (1st Kyu), James A. (1st Kyu), Annie (1st Kyu), Nathan L. (1st Kyu), Peter L. (2nd Kyu), Denis M. (2nd Kyu), Yannick J. (5th Kyu) and Peter (5th Kyu).  Osu!

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Nov. 12/08 - More Kid and Adult Gradings

Sensei conducted some challenging gradings in several classes today and all the karateka involved were up to the challenge.  Many congratulations to Kevin G. (6th Kyu), Azeb M-W. (6th Kyu), Meryem G. (6th Kyu), Dante M. (7th Kyu), Damian R. (7th Kyu), Magnus R. (7th Kyu), Stephane R. (7th Kyu), Kirstie M. (8th Kyu), Emily K. (8th Kyu), Steve R. (8th Kyu) and Kevin W. (8th Kyu).  Osu!

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Nov. 11/08 - Two More Orange Belts

West Island Karate is getting more colourful these days as two more students were graded and received their orange belts.  Congratulations to Andrew A. (10th Kyu) and Lucas S. (10th Kyu)!  Keep up the good work guys.  Osu!

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Nov. 11/08 - Four Teens Complete Their Grading

Four teens finally completed their grading by successfully passing the kumite portion of their test on this evening.  Their grading began about a week ago when Sensei thoroughly tested their recognition of Japanese terminology, their ability to combine basic movements (stances, blocks, strikes, kicks) on demand, and their relative mastery of the katas they should know given their level.  Congratulations to Andrew H. (4th Kyu), Andy T. (8th Kyu), Miriam B. (8th Kyu) and Cynthia B. (8th Kyu).  Osu!

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Oct. 29/08 - The Family That Grades Together

Well you know what they say about the family that grades together (actually I have no idea, but it seemed like a good way to start this entry :-)).  In any case, on this particular evening Yves B., his wife Nancy S. and their son Alex B. all completed their grading for their yellow belts (6th Kyu) by passing the kumite portion of the test.  Sensei John had started the grading the previous night, but ran out of time, having already tested their knowledge of terminology (in Japanese of course), their ability to perform various combinations of movements on demand, and their grasp of the necessary katas by having them demonstrate.  It was challenging to say the least, but Sensei insists that all his karateka have a thorough knowledge, both theoretical and practical, of Kyokushin Karate.  Many congratulations to Yves, Nancy and Alex.  Well done.  Osu!

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Oct. 26/08 - Brown & Black Belt Kata Class

After the sugar-rush from the Halloween Training wore off, Sensei held one of his special kata classes exclusively for West Island Karate's brown and black belts.  To no one's surprise, he put a heavy emphasis on proper technique, attention to the minutest of details, and awareness of the possible applications for the movements within each kata.  Sensei also pointed out how kihonkata, and kumite are inextricably linked - a basic tenet of Kyokushin Karate.  It was a fascinating lesson for this particular webmaster/kohai who was fortunate enough to be able to witness our higher belts in action (always a fun and inspiring experience) as well as take a few photos of the class to share with you.  Stay tuned to our Photo Gallery for the pictures from this special class...coming soon.

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Oct. 24/08 - Trick or Treat!

On this date, inmate #04191971 (Sensei John) was granted temporary parole from West Island Karate's maximum security facility in Beaconsfield, Quebec.  As part of the conditions of his release, Sensei performed community service by hosting West Island Karate's annual Halloween Training that very evening.  During the training, he was accosted by witches, pirates, ghosts, ghouls, ninjas, superheroes, ballerinas, Cleopatra, Charlie Chaplin, and yes...even a talking banana!  Undaunted, Sensei led them all through a fun training under the watchful eyes of his parole officers, Sempai Patsy (the human pumpkin) and Sempai Manon (the cavewoman), as well as the warden, Sempai Nancy (in disguise as a nun).  At the end of the training, the kids were rewarded with a bounty of candy and a good time was had by all...except for Sensei who was led away in handcuffs back to the dojo.  Check out the awesome photos of our Halloween Training courtesy of David Boily (thanks so much Dave)!  We also have a fun video of the Halloween Training from Karate Dad Productions (i.e.  your humble webmaster :-)).  Trick or treat!

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Oct. 9/08 - Five Kids Get Their Orange Belts

In front of a packed dojo consisting of their fellow students and many parents, five white belts in our beginner kids class were graded by Sensei for their 10th Kyu.  Despite all the spectators, they controlled their nerves admirably as they were asked (in Japanese) to demonstrate a wide variety of basic stances, blocks, hand strikes and kicks.  Finally Sensei asked them to perform Taikyoku Ichi, the first kata which all beginning students must learn.  All of them did very well and earned themselves some spanking new orange belts.  Congratulations to Sina Y., Gary A., Catherine R., Nima Y. and Michael A.  Osu!

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Oct. 2/08 - Three Gradings

Sensei conducted a surprise grading of a trio of students on this Thursday evening.  In preparation, Sempai Alain put the class through his usual vigorous warm-up and then took the students through some katas, testing their knowledge of Japanese terminology in the process.  Finally the students being graded were required to do some spirited fighting for a period of time appropriate for their level.  Many congratulations to Robert B. (6th Kyu), Chris T. (7th Kyu) and Gabriella M. (10th Kyu).  Osu!

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Sept. 21/08 - Beach Training 2008

West Island Karate bid adieu to the summer of 2008 by once again attending the Beach Training with Shihan Roman in Old Orchard Beach, Maine.  The 3rd edition of this annual event featured the best weather yet as we trained all weekend under sunny skies and moderate temperatures.  With assistance from Sensei John, Sensei Paul, Sensei Steve, Sensei Ron, Sensei Bertrand (Seishin Karate) and Sensei Dimitri (Shihan Roman Dojo), Shihan Roman led us through some challenging warm-ups (everything is more challenging in the sand :-)), kihon and kata practice, self-defense maneuvers, bo katas and even some fun, one-legged "jousting" (Kyokushin style of course :-)).  And like last year, Sensei Ron shared his vast knowledge and history of the bokken with us before teaching us some basic movements with this fascinating weapon.  It was another memorable weekend of Kyokushin training in the sand and surf.  Training in a dojo just can't compare, so if you missed out, do join us next year...you won't regret it.  Many thanks to Shihan Roman and all the Senseis for their time and energy, and a special thank you to Sensei Ron for organizing the candy store excursion for the kids as well as the group dinner Saturday evening.  Domo arigato gozaimashita (thank you very much)!  Osu!  Stay tuned to our Photo Gallery for lots of beach training pics like the one above...coming soon.

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Sept. 15/08 - Witold and Vlad's Excellent Adventure

With no shortage of fighters to choose from on this particular evening, Sensei decided to conduct a belt passage for Witold and Vlad.  According to Sensei, both performed well and fought hard, earning their orange belts (10th Kyu) in the process.  Congratulations guys...well done.  Osu!

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Aug. 25/08 - The Weekend To End Breast Cancer Walk


Earlier this summer, West Island Karate hosted a car wash to help Sempai Yves' wife, Linda (seen holding up her badge in the first photo above), raise enough money to participate in this year's Weekend To End Breast Cancer Walk.  Well she made it and subsequently sent Sensei an e-mail with some pictures of her adventure to thank all those who helped her achieve her goal.  It looks and sounds like she had the experience of a lifetime!  Many congratulations to Linda from everyone here at the dojo!  Here's Linda's note:

The Weekend to End Breast Cancer!!!

1 60 km walk
2 very hot humid days
1 sore knee
2 little blisters
2250 walkers and 6 million dollars raised!!!

What a weekend!!!!

Full of laughs, hard work and heartfelt tears. A wonderful humbling memory making experience.

Thank you to all at the Dojo for all the help at the car wash.  Thank you for the support and the use of your parking lot!  Looking forward to the "2009 Weekend to End Breast Cancer"!


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Aug. 8/08 - Get Well Soon Alex!

As some of you might know, Alex H. (one of our students) tore a ligament in his knee while fighting in the Kanreikai tournament back in May of this year.  Fortunately his wife Susie informs us that the surgery to repair his knee went very well and he is recovering nicely.  In fact, Alex's recovery has been SO "speedy" that he is actually partaking of his favourite hobby and competing in a car race this weekend (much to Susie's dismay)!  What could possibly possess a man to race cars while dealing with serious post-operative knee pain you ask?  Well I think the photo above (taken at one of his previous races) answers that question.  'Nuff said. :-)  Get well soon Alex!  We miss you at the dojo.  Osu!  (p.s.  Can you get us an autograph from Nicole at your next race?  Thanks...appreciate it big guy!)

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July 25/08 - Summer Gradings

The summer of 2008 has been filled with numerous gradings in the kid, teen and adult classes since early May.   As appropriate for each student's level, Sensei John thoroughly tested their grasp of various techniques, knowledge of karate terminology in Japanese, relative mastery of katas, and finally their stamina and spirit via kumite.  Anyone who has been through one of Sensei's gradings knows they have truly earned their next belt level.  Many congratulations to all of the karateka below!  Osu!  Click here to determine the belt colour corresponding to each Kyu (level).

July 10

  • Kasper C. (10th Kyu)

July 9

  • Marilyn M. (8th Kyu)

July 8

  • Rosalie G. (6th Kyu)
  • Adele R. (7th Kyu)

June 14

  • Logan M. (8th Kyu)

June 11

  • Mateusz C. (10th Kyu)

June 7

  • Nicholas F. (8th Kyu)
  • Ronnie L. (8th Kyu)

May 29

  • Susie G. (4th Kyu)
  • Michele M. (5th Kyu)
  • Serge M. (5th Kyu)
  • Suzanne L. (5th Kyu)
  • Keiko H. (6th Kyu)
  • Lucinda H. (6th Kyu)
  • Stephane R. (8th Kyu)
  • Muhammed S. (8th Kyu)
  • Mike W. (8th Kyu)
  • Natasha R. (8th Kyu)
  • Steve H. (8th Kyu)
  • Gabriella O. (8th Kyu)
  • Elvira R. (8th Kyu)
  • Thomas R. (8th Kyu)
  • Michael V. (8th Kyu)
  • Rick K. (8th Kyu)
  • John L. (8th Kyu)
  • David B. (8th Kyu)
  • Gillian S. (8th Kyu)
  • Dante M. (8th Kyu)
  • Steve R. (9th Kyu)
  • Stephanie S. (9th Kyu)
  • Anne Marie L. (10th Kyu)

May 28

  • Muriel C. (1st Kyu)
  • Louise B. (1st Kyu)
  • Manon L. (1st Kyu)
  • Alexandra K. (1st Kyu)
  • Emily W. (1st Kyu)
  • Maria C. (2nd Kyu)
  • Nathan L. (2nd Kyu)
  • Matthew H. (4th Kyu)
  • Michael H. (4th Kyu)
  • Philippe R. (4th Kyu)
  • Alexandre R. (4th Kyu)
  • Julien C. (4th Kyu)
  • Dominique C. (4th Kyu)
  • Marie Claude C. (4th Kyu)
  • Dariun Y. (4th Kyu)
  • Duncan B. (5th Kyu)
  • David G. (5th Kyu)
  • Zacharia D. (6th Kyu)
  • Matthew T. (7th Kyu)
  • Christine S. (9th Kyu)
  • Elena C. (9th Kyu)
  • Emmet A. (9th Kyu)
  • Emily K. (9th Kyu)

May 26

  • Evan P. (9th Kyu)
  • Kaela O. (9th Kyu)
  • Tristan M. (9th Kyu)
  • Connor A. (9th Kyu)
  • Griffin A. (9th Kyu)

May 24

  • Charlotte D. (9th Kyu)
  • Tristan S. (9th Kyu)
  • Zack B. (9th Kyu)
  • Johnathan D. (9th Kyu)
  • Daniel F. (9th Kyu)
  • Noa B. (9th Kyu)
  • Andy T. (9th Kyu)
  • Thomas R. (9th Kyu)
  • Matthew C. (9th Kyu)
  • Wyatt D. (9th Kyu)
  • Jenna Z. (9th Kyu)
  • Julien C. (9th Kyu)

May 14

  • Marie R. (10th Kyu)
  • Jociline D. (10th Kyu)
  • Liam D. (10th Kyu)
  • Lisanne S. (10th Kyu)
  • Zoe S. (10th Kyu)

May 10

  • Benjamin G. (10th Kyu)

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July 7/08 - Congratulations to Sempai Patsy & Sempai Nancy


Sempai Patsy (above left) and Sempai Nancy (above right) were awarded their Nidan belts (2nd dan black belts) by Sensei John today.  They were graded by Shihan Roman back in early March and passed what was generally considered one of the toughest and most comprehensive black belt gradings by Shihan to date.  Omedetou gozaimashita (congratulations) Sempai Patsy and Sempai Nancy!  Osu!

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June 28/08 - Best Wishes Elena

West Island Karate would like to extend our best wishes to Elena C. who is leaving us to return to her native homeland of Spain.  Elena is a foreign exchange student who chose to take up karate at our dojo while studying in Canada.  Good luck Elena!  Osu!

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June 21/08 - Car Wash

West Island Karate has always believed in giving back to the community.  This year we rolled up our dogi sleeves and held a car wash in the dojo parking lot to help Sempai Yves' wife, Linda Bracken, achieve her goal of participating in this year's Weekend to End Breast Cancer Walk.  Together with her own team of volunteers, we raised almost $1100 for breast cancer research (all proceeds will go directly to the Jewish General Hospital here in Montreal).  But as sometimes happens at our car washes, the soaping and rinsing got a little out of hand and the odd skirmish broke out!  Click on the car wash sign above to see what else got washed!  :-)

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May 24/08 - Grading at St-Lazare Dojo

A week after our tournament, Sensei Paul conducted a grading of his students at the St-Lazare dojo with the help of Sempai Natasha (partially hidden in the back row above...click here for a better picture of Sempai Natasha standing to the right of Sempai Nancy in her very fashionable West Island Karate sweatshirt :-)).  Sempai Victor and some students from the Beaconsfield dojo also came out to lend a hand and support the students being tested.  It was a very demanding grading with equal emphasis placed on physical conditioning, knowledge of katas and spirited sparring.  As expected, all of the students being graded passed with flying colours.  Congratulations to all of them!  Osu!

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May 17/08 - Matsushima Canadian Championships

On this Saturday, we once again held our annual tournament, the Matsushima Canadian Championships (known formerly as the Matsushima Challenge).  The name change reflects the fact that our tournament was the first and remains the premier event of its kind in Canada which is exclusively for junior karate students only (i.e.  kids 4 to 17 years of age).  As always, the skill level of the participants was very high and on obvious display during the kata and kumite portions of the competition.  Since its inception in 2001, we have hosted not only students from numerous Quebec dojos, but from all over Canada and the United States.  This year we were pleased to welcome competitors from as far away as Aruba and Transylvania (Romania)!  We were also honoured to have Shihan Roman Szyrajew and Shihan Réal De Repentigny in attendance.  In particular, Shihan Roman (pictured above shaking hands with Sosai Masutatsu Oyama, the founder of Kyokushin Karate) was presented with a bronze statuette of a bull to recognize his 40 years of study, devotion to, and teaching of Kyokushin Karate (the bull is a reference to Sosai's documented and very dangerous fights with live bulls to demonstrate his incredible karate skill and power).  Sensei John and West Island Karate would like to thank all the competitors, their parents, Shihan Roman, Shihan Réal, all the Senseis and Sempais who gave of their time to assist as judges, and all our volunteers for helping us make the 2008 edition of the Matsushima Canadian Championships another great event which was enjoyed by all.  We look forward to seeing you again next year!  OSU!  Stay tuned to our Videos page for some clips from this year's tournament (coming soon). 

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May 13/08 - Farewell Hilary, Serge, Kevin & Alan


It was a sad week as we were forced to bid farewell to Hilary, her husband Serge, and her two boys Kevin and Alan.  They have been with the dojo for almost 8 years, but have chosen to move on to bigger and better things.  Everyone here at West Island Karate wishes Hilary and her family the very best - you will all be sorely missed!  Here are a few words from Sensei John about them:


For those of you who don't know, Hilary, and by extension Kevin and Alan, will be leaving the dojo family.  While the boys are off to the University of Waterloo, Hilary and her husband Serge are moving permanently to their cottage and leaving the city life behind.  Hilary has been with us almost from the very beginning, first as a mom and then eventually as a karate-ka.  Even after moving from Beaconsfield to downtown Montreal five years ago, Hilary has always driven to the dojo at least five times a week to bring in Kevin and Alan, and/or to train for herself.  Hilary has always trained hard, has never been one for excuses, and was always ready to go up against the likes of Sempai Tony.

Many of you know her as the brown belt from the morning class and evening advanced class, but Hilary has always been involved with and played an important part of the dojo's activities...from Halloween and Christmas parties, to garage sales and carwashes, and to our annual tournament where she, along with Serge, have always done a tremendous job in helping to organize and run the tournament.  Even now with all of the chaos of her move at home, she is reminding me and checking that I have done certain things for the tournament.  I have met many people from tournaments and those who have heard of our reputation as a dojo who tell me that I have a great dojo or that I must be doing something really well to have such a good dojo.  The first thing that I tell them is that I am extremely fortunate to have such good people surrounding me - people such as Hilary and her family.  If not for people like her, the dojo and I would not be where we are today.

John Kalaidopoulos, Sensei
West Island Kyokushin Karate

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May 10/08 - Three Kid Promotions

Three of our younger karateka were graded today by Sensei and all three earned their orange belts.  Congratulations to Luke, Anne Margret and Boo (gotta love that name :-))!  Osu...well done!

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May 10/08 - Pierrefonds Dojo Promotions

Congratulations to Julie and Tyler for being graded to 10th Kyu (orange belt) by Sempai Patsy, head instructor of our Pierrefonds dojo.  Sempai Patsy would like to say that she is very proud of both of them and hopes they will continue to be good karateka and follow the Kyokushin spirit!  Osu!

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May 3/08 - World Kanreikai Tournament 2008

West Island Karate once again supported the annual World Kanreikai Tournament by bringing a large contingent of almost 70 competitors to participate this year!  Consisting primarily of students from our Beaconsfield and Pierrefonds dojos, our team demonstrated the precise katas, spirited kumite and honourable sportsmanship for which West Island Karate is known.  Everyone from our youngest karateka, to our five intrepid "we-might-be-having-our-midlife-crisis" senior fighters :-), to our full knockdown fighters (Sempai Alex, Sempai Jimmy and Yannick) did very well.  Unfortunately we were not able to get a photo of our entire team together, hence the photo of our seniors above (thanks to Sempai Louise for the picture).  Many thanks to Sensei John, Sempai Patsy and all of our other Sempais (in particular to Sempai Alain...the overseer of our notoriously challenging, advanced teen classes) for their time and energy.  They ensure that all our kids are well prepared - not just for this tournament - but for each and every tournament.  Also on behalf of "The Five Samurai" (Sensei's nickname for this year's group of senior fighters :-)), a very special thank you goes out to Sempai Alex who generously gave of her time to train us.  She put us on a 12 week regimen of extra training classes which she euphemistically referred to as "Sunday School" (trust me...they were a LOT tougher than the name implies :-)).  Lastly, congratulations and thank you to Sensei Cordiero of Kanreikai Karate for putting on another well organized event which was memorable for all who attended.  Osu!  Click on the photo above to see Rickster's awesome photos of this year's Kanreikai tournament and keep an eye out for some related videos coming soon.

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Apr. 19/08 - AIKK Tournament 2008 in Rimouski

R-O-A-D-T-R-I-P!  With three large cars packed with a Sensei, two Sempais, kids, parents, dvds, junk food and GPS's (one of which spoke in Japanese...I kid you not), we headed east for the AIKK's annual tournament in Rimouski.  It was a beautiful sunny day which made for a very scenic drive along the St-Lawrence.  We managed to avoid stopping at the dodgy-looking, roadside Monster Truck / Dinosaur museum just after Quebec City :-), so we made it to Rimouski in excellent time.  Arriving on the Friday afternoon at the hotel where the tournament was taking place, we even had time for some last minute, pre-tournament training in the hotel pool and hot tub (because that's just how dedicated our West Island Karate kids and parents are :-)).  After a nice group dinner and a good night's rest, our younger karateka, Duncan, Maria, Em, Niko, Michael, Matthew, Andrew and Rosalie (who had already left when we took the group photo above unfortunately) strutted their stuff for the daytime kata and semi-knockdown competitions.  The evening competition featured Sempai Alex and Kimm in semi-knockdown matches on the big center ring under dramatic lighting.  With some excellent ringside support and coaching from Sensei John and Sempai Nancy (and Sempai Alex during the day), all of our kids did great.  We also took the opportunity to celebrate Sensei's birthday!  Much to his chagrin, he had to weather the onslaught of a rousing version of "Happy Birthday" sung by all the kids and parents in the hotel restaurant (for which he promised to make us pay in class :-)).  Yup, a very fun weekend....can't wait for the next West Island Karate R-O-A-D-T-R-I-P!  Check back soon for videos from the 2008 AIKK Tournament.

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Apr. 14/08 - Shihan Sylvain Lessard

We are sad to report that Shihan Sylvain Lessard (6th Dan) of the AIKK passed away last month after a protracted battle with cancer.  He hosted the AIKK tournament in Rimouski that our dojo attended for the very first time last April and to which we will be returning this weekend to compete once more.  West Island Karate would like to extend our sincerest condolences to his family, friends and students.  Osu!

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Apr. 10/08 - Spring Promotions

With the arrival of spring (yay!) came more gradings by Sensei today.  Perhaps because of spring fever, everyone seemed to be feeling their oats on this evening (in particular Sempai Yves :-)), so the kumite portion of the grading was especially "spirited".  Through it all, the three adult white belts who were tested hung tough.  Congratulations to MelanieVince and James for earning their 10th Kyu.  Just prior to that, in the beginner kids class, little Marley was promoted to 10th Kyu as well.  Well done Marley!  Finally a few weeks earlier, Sensei also graded Kevin G and Averie T to 7th Kyu.  Congratulations to all of you.  Osu!

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Apr. 5/08 - IFK Tournament 2008

On this beautiful sunny Saturday, signs of spring were finally beginning to emerge!  And as has been the case for the past few years around this time, West Island Karate brought a team to the annual IFK tournament in Laval.  It came as no surprise that our team as a whole did very well.  Sensei John along with Sempais Patsy, NancyAlain and Alex seemed very gratified with the fruits of their students' hard work and training.  The detailed technique, focus and limitless heart which are the hallmarks of West Island Karate were clearly in evidence in all of our students' katas and kumite matches, and the results spoke for themselves.  A hearty congratulations to our entire team!  We would also like to thank Shihan Daniel Gauthier for once again welcoming us to his tournament.  Osu!  Stay tuned to our videos section for footage from the tournament (coming soon).

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Mar. 29/08 - Ring Warriors 2008


This year's Ring Warriors tournament in Moncton, New Brunswick, featured a full-contact knockdown event in the evening as usual.  What wasn't "usual" was that our own intrepid Rickster (pictured above with his youngest daughter Kelly) decided to compete in his first full-contact tournament ever!  As many of you already know, Rickster is a very talented photographer in his spare time and has contributed many of the photos you see on our website.  Despite being only a 9th Kyu in rank, Rick decided to step in relatively late to substitute for one of our fighters who could not compete due to injury.  The event was a "Ring Wars" style competition in which each participant fought one match consisting of three 2 minute rounds in a boxing ring...a very challenging format even for the most experienced of Kyokushin fighters.  Given the short time in which he had to prepare, Rick did extremely well and fought valiantly until the middle of the second round when he was forced to concede the match.  His oldest daughter, Sempai Alex, also competed but lost to a very experienced fighter who had competed at the World Cup in Maine back in 2002.  This was only Sempai Alex's second full knockdown competition (she won her first one) and she is gaining valuable experience with each competition.  It goes without saying that everyone at West Island Karate is very proud of both Rick and Sempai Alex for their courage and indomitable spirit!  OSU!

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Mar. 23/08 - Seminar with Shihan Marc

West Island Karate is honoured once again to welcome Shihan Marc Van Walleghem (Rokudan) for a visit!  Shihan Marc generally makes the trip from Belgium to Montreal only once a year, so training with him is a rare privilege.  Shihan's knowledge of Kyokushin karate is vast and stems from 35+ years of studying this martial art.  As anyone who has taken a class with Shihan Marc will attest, his lessons are fast-paced and challenging to say the least!  It's always a humbling experience, but with a little concentration and perseverance (ok...a LOT of concentration and perseverance :-)), the dividends to your karate training can be very significant.  On this Easter Sunday, Shihan Marc along with Shihan Roman (Nanadan) held a 5-hour seminar for a small but keen group of "brave souls" from our dojo (not pictured above is Sempai Lia who was in attendance for the morning portion of the seminar).  The experience was demanding, fun and very rewarding.  West Island Karate would like to thank both Shihan Marc and Shihan Roman for being so generous with their time, humour and knowledge.  Osu!

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Feb. 28/08 - More Promotions
Sensei graded three more of our adult students and they were subsequently awarded their orange belts (10th Kyu).  Congratulations to Anne, Stephanie and Gordon.  Well done!  Osu!

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Feb. 20/08 - Congratulations Harrison

Congratulations to Harrison for earning his 5th Kyu!  As expected, Sensei demanded a lot of him during the grading and Harrison was equal to the task.  Wear that green bar with pride Harrison.  Osu!

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Jan. 16/08 - Congratulations Yannick

Yannick J., who was a member of our Ring Wars team in November of 2007, was promoted to 6th Kyu tonight.  According to Sensei, Yannick fought practically everyone in the entire class on this evening and did a great job!  Congratulations Yannick!  Osu!

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Jan. 6/08 - New Year's Training

As per tradition at West Island Karate, Sensei John opened 2008 with our annual New Year's Training at the Kirkland Arena.  Sensei is nothing if not courteous, so upon noticing that all his karateka had donned freshly laundered dogis for the training, he decided not to sully them with unsightly sweat stains.  Consequently he took us through some very light stretching followed by a spirited Japanese sing-along for the remainder of the two hours so we wouldn't strain ourselves....N-O-T (just kidding Sensei :-))!!!  In actuality, Sensei John, Sensei Steve and all the Sempais took us through an extremely challenging and grueling (with a capital "G") training to ring in the New Year with an eye-opening and jarring reality check!  THAT'S the West Island Karate New Year's tradition!  Oh well, the holidays were nice while they lasted (sigh).  Happy New Year and all the best for 2008!  Osu!

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