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Dec. 19/15 - Advanced Teen/Adult Gradings

For the last class of the year before closing the dojo down for the holidays, Sensei John conducted a grading of the advanced teens and adults.  Every aspect of their karate - their physical fitness, kihon technique, kata execution, kumite skills, endurance, and of course Kyokushin spirit - was tested accordingly.  It was evident from their performance that the advanced belts had been training hard and were well prepared.  They made Sensei proud as they amply demonstrated that they were ready, both physically and mentally, for the next level in their training.  Congratulations to all the candidates who successfully earned their next Kyu.  Osu!

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Dec. 16/15 - Beginner Teen/Adult Gradings

Towards the end of this evening's training, Sensei and the advanced belts joined the beginners on the ground floor of the dojo where Sempai Alain had already begun their grading.  It was obvious from how fatigued they were that Sempai Alain had thoroughly tested their physical fitness, kihon and kata.  Now it was time for them to fight against the advanced belts.  In short, they held their own and demonstrated the kind of Kyokushin spirit that Sensei demands and expects from his students.  Congratulations to all the candidates who successfully earned their next Kyu.  Well done.  Osu!

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Dec. 12/15 - Karaoke Holiday Party

It was finally time for what has become an annual tradition at West Island Karate/Karaté de L'Île...our KARAOKE HOLIDAY PARTY!  What better way to celebrate another awesome year at the dojo than by getting together with all of our students and their families and friends to eat, laugh, exchange stories, dance and of course SING.  After everyone partook of the bountiful, delicious potluck supper (the desserts this year were particularly tasty :-)), it was time for the show to start.  With full PA speakers, stage lights timed to the music, 5 microphones and over 1600 songs(!) to choose from, everyone wanted to get into the act.  People went up in large groups as well as solo to share their singing talents and many of the performances were impressive to say the least.  Particularly notable were one of the moms, Christine, as well as Sempai Victor who brought down the house with his acapella version of a rap song!  We even had a visit from our good friends Sensei Luciano and Sempai Marisa who joined Sensei John and others in a rousing rendition of Barry Manilow's "Copacabana" (many thanks to Paul Simard for the above photos).  In the end though, as always, this party wasn't about singing ability.  It was simply a time to let loose, to have fun and to enjoy the moment.  It was also a great opportunity to reflect on the events and accomplishments of the past year with our extended dojo family.  From all of us at West Island Karate/Karaté de L'Île, happy holidays and all the best for a healthy and prosperous New Year!

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Dec. 5/15 - Coupe des Samourais

After having the Coupe des Samourais cancelled last year due to circumstances beyond their control, it was nice to see the tournament being put on once again by Sensei Alexandre Haché of Kyokushin Karaté IDS.  This tournament features elite kata as well as semi-contact and full-contact kumite.  Each competitor in the kumite fights a "one-match", going against only one opponent for a maximum of 3 rounds in a best-2-out-of-3 format.  This year, Sensei John sent a team of seven from West Island Karate/Karaté de L'Île to compete in the kumite.  It was a varied team ranging from one of our young yellow belt students all the way to Sempai Kimm who had just returned from competing in Japan at the 11th World Karate Championship a month earlier.  The team had trained hard for this tournament and the resulting gains in their spirit and fighting technique were evident on the tatami.  Sensei was very proud of the entire team.  Perhaps going unnoticed in all of the excitement was a generous act of sportsmanship displayed by one of our brown belts, Nico.  He was paired up against a spirited, but much smaller opponent.  His opponent was an excellent fighter, but as is often the case, the differential in size and power is sometimes just too much to overcome.  During the break after winning the first round, Nico conferred with his coach, Sensei John.  Sensei simply said, "You know what you have to do".  Nico understood instantly and scaled back his attacks in the next round, allowing his opponent to initiate more often and come out of the tournament with a positive experience.  It is exactly that kind of maturity and sportsmanship that Sensei tries to foster in all of his students and it was nice to see the results of those life-lessons emerge at the appropriate moment.  It was another proud moment for Sensei and the entire dojo.  Many thanks to Sensei Haché and his team of volunteers for providing another wonderful tournament experience for our students.  Osu!  Click on the picture above and login to Facebook to see photos of our team in action (courtesy of your humble webmaster).  Join our West Island Karate/Karaté de L'Île Facebook group today to get the very latest news regarding dojo events and to access exclusive content not available on our website.

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Nov. 28/15 - Kids Gradings

On this last Saturday of November, Sensei John conducted gradings of the kids at all levels.  It took both floors of our new dojo, but we finally got through all the candidates that Sensei wanted to test by late afternoon.  As always, Sensei's gradings were very comprehensive.  Every aspect of his students' fitness, and knowledge and execution of kihon, kata and kumite was examined.  Most of all, their SPIRIT and ability to PERSERVERE when pushed to their limit (and often beyond) was severely tested.  Similar to any course in school, Sensei also takes into consideration their performance during regular classes prior to the grading.  If the students have been training diligently, then they stand a good chance of negotiating the grading successfully.  Having said that, the pressure and nerves that a student feels during a grading cannot be underestimated.  In particular on this day, the dojo was jam-packed with parents who were there to witness their child's progress and this rite of passage.  Even under the spotlight of that many eyes, our students performed admirably while being challenged (and encouraged) by Sensei and the Sempais.  Congratulations to all the candidates who earned their next Kyu.  Well done...Osu!  Click here and login to Facebook to see photos of the white to blue belt grading or here for photos of the yellow to brown belt grading (all photos courtesy of Sempai Anne-Marie...thanks so much Sempai).  Join our West Island Karate/Karaté de L'Île Facebook group today to get the very latest news regarding dojo events and to access exclusive content not available on our website.

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Oct. 30/15 - 11th World Karate Championship Shinkyokushinkai

The day had finally arrived!  On the evening of Friday, Oct. 30th (which was actually the morning of Oct. 31st in Japan), about 25 of us gathered at the dojo to watch the live stream of the 11th World Karate Championship (Shinkyokushinkai) in Japan.  In particular, we were there to support and cheer on our very own Sempai Kimm of West Island Karate/Karaté de L'Île and Sempai Benoit Porlier of Le Spirit Gym who were both representing Canada at this major sporting event - an event which only takes place every four years.  Indeed, this World Championship is the Olympics of Shinkyokushinkai.  Sempai Kimm was following in the footsteps of three others from our dojo who had gone to Japan in previous years to compete at a World Championship tournament, namely Sensei John in 2000, Sempai Jimmy in 2004, and Sempai Alex in 2008.  This was a proud moment for our dojo as well as the local Kyokushin community and we weren't about to miss it.  We set up a projector and big speakers in the dojo for our viewing party.  The large picture and big sound helped us get a sense of the exciting atmosphere at this huge world tournament which was happening in real-time on the other side of the globe.  207 of the best full-contact/knockdown fighters in the world (43 women and 164 men) from 90 different countries were going to battle for supremacy!  Sempai Kimm and Sempai Benoit had their work cut out for them as this tournament was an "open weight" event, meaning there were NO WEIGHT CATEGORIES.  After patiently watching all of the men's first round fights, we settled in for the start of the women's campaign for the championship title.  When it was Sempai Kimm's turn to climb the stairs up to the tatami, we were screaming words of encouragement at her as if we were actually sitting ringside (we couldn't help ourselves)! :-D  Sempai Kimm's opponent was a scrappy Sandan from Brazil named Djefini Rumie De Carvalho.  Sempai Kimm had a slight 5 cm height advantage, but the Brazilian outweighed her by 13 kilos (or about 28 and 1/2 pounds).  It was an extremely close, see-saw battle which required an extension to settle the matter.  In the end, the decision went to the Brazilian.  Still, it was a great fight and Sempai Kimm gave it everything she had.  We spoke to Sempai Kimm later that evening via Skype and she admitted that her nerves got the better of her, sapping her usually large reserves of energy during the extension.  And although she would never use it as an excuse, her jetlag from the 13 hour time difference must have been a significant factor as well.  An hour or so after Sempai Kimm's fight, it was Sempai Benoit's turn.  He had to face a tough Ukrainian opponent named Anatolii Zhuravel.  The latter had an 8 cm height advantage and outweighed Sempai Benoit by 10 kilos (22 pounds)...a significant challenge.  Sempai Benoit fought valiantly, but in the end, the decision went to the Ukrainian.  Regardless of the outcome, all of us at West Island Karate / Karate De L'Ile were VERY proud of both of them.  They represented Canada with honor and distinction.  Well done!  Omedetou gozaimashita (congratulations)!  Osu!  Click here and login to Facebook to see photos of Sempai Kimm's and Sempai Benoit's fights (courtesy of the WKO) which have been posted on our West Island Karate/Karaté de L'Île Facebook group.  Click here to see a few spectacular photos of the post-tournament training camp led by Kancho Kenji Midori at the foot of Mount Fuji (look carefully and you'll spot Sensei John amongst the several hundred karateka who attended the camp :-)).  Click the above photo to see a video of Sempai Kimm's and Sempai Benoit's journey to the World Championship (courtesy of your humble webmaster).  Sempai Kimm and Sempai Benoit were also humbled and very grateful for all the support and kind words of encouragement they received from the local Kyokushin community.  Many many thanks to everyone and a big OSU!

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Oct. 24/15 - Budo Giant Challenge

A large team from West Island Karate/Karaté De L'Île went to compete at our first tournament after the summer break, the Budo Giant Challenge.  Organized by our good friend, Sensei Hugo Perez, this tournament features kata and semi-contact kumite for kids and adults, as well as full-contact/knockdown for adults.  Our team represented the dojo admirably and made Sensei John proud by displaying the kind of Kyokushin spirit and sportsmanship for which our dojo is renown.  Many thanks to Hugo Sensei and his hard-working team of volunteers for providing a wonderful tournament experience for all involved.  Osu!  Click here and login to Facebook to see photos of the kids kata competition.  Click here to see photos of the kids kumite competition.  All photos by Sergei Bergen (thank you Sergei).

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Oct. 4/15 - Fundraising Seminar for Sempai Kimm and Sempai Benoit

The 11th World Karate Championship (Shinkyokushinkai) to be held in Tokyo, Japan is quickly approaching (it's at the end of the month).  Our own Sempai Kimm as well as Sempai Benoit Porlier of Spirit Gym are going to be the Canadian representatives at this prestigious tournament which is only held every four years.  The honor of representing their country in a world-level championship tournament is not lost on them and both have been training extremely hard, guided by their coaches, Sensei John and Shihan Maximiliano Ferraiolo, respectively.  Both Sensei John and Shihan Max have competed at a world championship in Japan (Sensei did it at the IKO Matsushima World Open in 2000 and Shihan Max did it at the 7th World Open Karate Tournament in 1999), so they both know from personal experience what kind of effort, commitment and sacrifices are required to get to that elite level.  Towards that end, a special kumite seminar was organized to help raise money for Sempai Kimm's and Sempai Benoit's training expenses and trip to Japan.  In return, both Sempai Kimm and Sempai Benoit would "pay it forward" and pass on a little of what they have learned as experienced full-contact/knockdown fighters.  The seminar took place at Tansei Dojo (Sensei Luciano's dojo) and was well attended by students of many different dojos.  It was great to see so many different organizations come together for a common cause to help build a united and stronger Kyokushin community in Quebec.  Their support was very much appreciated by all involved.  Enjoy the above promotional video for the seminar (courtesy of your humble webmaster).  Then click here to see all of the photos from the seminar (courtesy of "dtam"...arigato gozaimashita).  Best of luck Sempai Kimm and Sempai Benoit!  Go Team Canada Go!

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Oct. 3/15 - Black Belt Shinsa

The brown and black belts of WIK/KDL came together to support Sempai Annie as she was graded for her Nidan under the watchful eye of Sensei John.  Also joining us were Sensei Luciano Paparella, Sempai Marisa Leone, Sempai Alessia Paparella and Sempai Michael Perrone from Tansei Dojo.  This was the first black belt shinsa at our dojo since joining WKO Shinkyokushinkai, so this grading would incorporate the requirements of our new organization.  But as expected, Sensei John went above and beyond those requirements to ensure a rigorous and thorough examination of all of the elements which a karateka should possess at this level.  It was a long afternoon, but when all was said and done, Sempai Annie successfully negotiated her Nidan test.  Well done Annie Sempai...omedetou gozaimashita!  Many thanks to Sensei Luciano and his Sempais for participating in the grading.

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Sept. 27/15 - Brown/Black Belt Class

On this beautiful sunny September morning, Sensei John held one of his special classes for WIK/KDL brown and black belts.  This class allows Sensei to focus on the fine details of our technique as well as show us more advanced concepts.  Today we were happy to be joined by our good friends Sensei Luciano Paparella and Sempai Marisa Leone from Tansei Dojo.  Sensei John took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather and took us outside where we practiced kata in the park area adjacent to the dojo.  With Sensei Luciano's and Sempai Marisa's presence, it was a great opportunity to further work on incorporating the minor changes in our kata required by Shinkyokushinkai.  Many thanks to Sensei Luciano and Sempai Marisa for coming out to join us for this training.  Click the picture above and login to Facebook to see the photos of the brown/black belt class which were posted on our West Island Karate / Karaté De L'Île Facebook group.  Join our Facebook group today to get the very latest news regarding dojo events and to access exclusive content not available on our website.

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Sept. 26/15 - Parents Night Out

With everything that has been going on at the dojo these past few months, we literally have not had time for one of our very popular Parents Night Out events since March.  So it was high time to rectify that situation.  "Parents Night Out" is the name we use for a special evening at the dojo where we "babysit" our dojo parents' kids (and their friends) while the parents enjoy an evening out on their own.  The fall, back-to-school rush was subsiding, so the timing was perfect and our dojo parents certainly appreciated the well-deserved break.  A Parents Night Out always starts with a karate training which usually includes some fun activities that we don't normally do during regular class time.  We then treat the kids to a delicious pizza dinner.  On this particular evening, it was also little Olivia's birthday (we joined together to sing her Happy Birthday :-)), so her mom took the time to bake some cute cupcakes for dessert (thank you so much).  As always, the finale is a screening of a kid-appropriate, Hollywood movie with big picture and big sound (we bring in a projector and some PA speakers...it's the next best thing to being at the theatre).  This time, the film was "How To Train Your Dragon" (in French with English subtitles...we alternate) which the kids enjoyed thoroughly.  Click the picture above and login to Facebook to see the photos of this Parents Night Out (courtesy of your humble webmaster) which have been posted on our West Island Karate/Karaté de L'Île Facebook group.  Join our Facebook group today to get the very latest news regarding dojo events and to access exclusive content not available on our website.  We're very happy that the kids (and parents :-)) enjoyed the evening.  Until next time...Osu!

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Sept. 9/15 - Breakfast Television visits Karaté De L'Île

On this particular morning (a very EARLY morning :-)), Breakfast Television came to broadcast their show LIVE from Karaté De L'ÎleSensei John and his students (at least the ones who were willing to get up early :-D) had a great time showing the host, Wilder Weir, a little of what we do at our dojo.  As early as it was, we still trained hard and had a great time.  Sensei and Sempai Kimm even poked fun at Wilder a few times (watch the video above) and he was a great sport about it. :-)  Many thanks to all of the cast and crew at Breakfast Television for making it such a fun morning.  It was yet another great adventure at WIK/KDL and something we'll all remember for a long time.  Osu!  Click here to see photos of Breakfast Television's visit which are on our West Island Karate / Karaté De L'Île Facebook group.  Join our Facebook group today to get the very latest news regarding dojo events and to access exclusive content not available on our website.

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Aug. 29/15 - Open House at Karaté De L'Île

We celebrated our brand new dojo by holding our annual Open House today.  Many curious kids (and their parents) dropped by Karaté De L'Île for a free lesson and it was pretty obvious from the smiles on their faces that they had a lot of fun!  After class, Sensei John rewarded their hard work with juice boxes and they all left happy campers.  Click on the above picture and login to Facebook to see the photos from this year's Open House which are on our West Island Karate / Karaté De L'Île Facebook group.  Join our Facebook group today to get the latest news regarding dojo events and to access exclusive content not available on our website.

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Aug. 10/15 - Karaté De L'Île Moves!

The biggest news regarding the dojo this summer is that Karaté De L'Île has MOVED!  We are now located at 73 Boulevard Perrot in a beautiful, two story, self-contained building which we have all to ourselves (all karate, all the time, and no neighbors to annoy with our KIAIs :-)).  Sensei was very grateful for all the help he received from his students during the moving effort and renovations on the new dojo.  Thanks to them, we were able to open our doors by the end of our summer break.  It was a great way to kick off the start of a new training year.  Osu!

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Aug. 8/15 - Firemen's Day Demonstration

West Island Karate / Karaté De L'Île was first asked to give a demonstration at the city of Pincourt's Firemen's Day event in the summer of 2013.  Since then, we've been a regular fixture at this huge celebration of summer for the whole family.  It's always refreshing to train outdoors and share what we do with people who have never experienced a Kyokushin Karate class.  And it's particularly fun to watch them jump in and see their faces light up as they attempt some of the movements.  Many thanks to all the students who came out to support the event.  Osu!  Click on the above picture and login to Facebook to see the photos from this year's Firemen's Day demonstration which are on our West Island Karate / Karaté De L'Île Facebook group.  Join our Facebook group today to get the latest news regarding dojo events and to access exclusive content not available on our website.

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June 20/15 - Outdoor All Students and Family/Friends Training

Sensei has been meaning to have one of these for a while now and finally found a good weekend in the dojo schedule to fit it in.  It was a beautiful, sunny Saturday...idyllic conditions for our ALL STUDENTS and FAMILY/FRIENDS OUTDOOR TRAINING.  We met up in the morning at Parc Bellevue in Ile-Perrot in our dogis and/or workout clothing.  It was the perfect opportunity for our students to share their passion for karate with their parents and friends.  And perhaps by training alongside their kids, the parents gained an appreciation for just how fun, and CHALLENGING, karate can be.  With the help of several Sempais, Sensei led us through a light warm-up of some stretching and calisthenics.  We followed this up with some kihon practice...basic stances, blocks, punches and kicks.  We then paired up to practice combinations of these basic movements with a partner.  It was a hot day, so Sensei allowed us a small water break (when it looked like some of the parents might pass out :-)).  At that point, Sensei produced one of the large ropes we keep at the dojo for climbing and various other exercises.  We then divided into teams of eight for an hilarious tug-of-war competition!  Students and parents teamed up with Sempais and pulled with all their might at both ends of the rope, cheered on by the enthusiastic onlookers awaiting their turn.  And before the laughter could subside from that event, we engaged in Sensei Bert's infamous "Spinorama" relay race (I can't explain what it is...you just have to experience it for yourself one day :-))!  The smiles and laughter from everyone told the story.  It was a ridiculously fun training!  All of the kids and their parents and friends had a blast training together.  Osu!  Click on the above picture and login to Facebook to see some photos of our outdoor training taken by Julie Vuong (thanks so much Julie) that were posted on our West Island Karate / Karaté De L'Île Facebook group.  Enjoy.

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June 17/15 - WIK/KDL joins the World Karate Organization Shinkyokushinkai

We were honored by a visit from our friends Shihan Maximiliano Ferraiolo and Sensei Luciano Paparella who taught and trained with us for the evening.  Accompanying them were Sempais Mike Spineti, Benoit Poirier, Justin Mancini, Marisa Leone and Antonio Alves.  It goes without saying that it was a great class.  Everyone learned a lot and we thoroughly enjoyed training together, but there was a duel purpose to the evening.  Sensei Luciano is one of Canada's branch chiefs representing WKO ShinKyokushinkai and was also there to welcome us to the organization!  Sensei John made the official announcement at that evening's class and the exciting news was welcomed with open arms by all the students.  Here is a note from Sensei John on this new chapter in our dojo's history:

After spending the last 5 years as an independent dojo, it is my honour to announce that West Island Karate and Karaté de L'Île are now part of the World Karate Organization ShinKyokushinkai.  The WKO is based in Japan and is under the leadership of former world champion, Kancho (President) Kenji Midori.  I had been interested in joining the WKO for some time, but had decided not to make my final decision until actually meeting and training with Kancho.  Kancho Midori is an exceptional, humble, hardworking karate-ka...a prime example of what we should all aspire to be as karate-ka.

The WKO is the largest Kyokushin organization in the world and has branches throughout the globe.  This is an opportunity for all our students and instructors to network and grow through seminars, camps and tournaments.  I have had the chance to meet many members both here in Canada and in Europe, and was struck by the energy and spirit these karate-ka have, as well as their camaraderie.  They are all a family and have always welcomed me as a member of the family.  The WKO is an OPEN organization meaning that all members are encouraged to work with all other organizations and foster the spirit of Kyokushin.  Kancho Midori and the WKO are the primary catalysts in the campaign to have full-contact karate added as an official Olympic event in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

I recently attended the historic European Full Contact Karate Camp in Belgium.  I experienced something truly amazing and came back with a renewed strength and energy.  I knew I wanted to continue to be a part of this organization.  I will do my utmost to spread this energy throughout North America in concert with the North American ShinKyokushin Karate Organization, and continue collaborating with all Kyokushin organizations.  Thank you to all the North American branches for accepting my dojos and me into your family.

John Kalaidopoulos

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June 5/15 to June 7/15 - Full Contact Karate Camp in Belgium

Sensei John has always sought out opportunities to train with others in order to increase his knowledge base, improve his karate and become an even better teacher.  So it was no surprise that he jumped at the chance to attend a special training event in Belgium:  the 2015 FULL CONTACT KARATE CAMP.  Although this event was organized by the ShinKyokushin karate organization, it was open to ALL organizations.  This camp would feature numerous, world-class, knockdown fighters/instructors in Kyokushin Karate from all over the world, including the legendary Shihan Kenji Midori - Kancho (President) of the WKO ShinKyokushinkai and winner of the 5th World Championship in 1991!  To say that this was a chance for Sensei (and Sempai Kimm who went as well) to train with some of the best karateka in the world would be a huge understatement (click on the photo above of Sensei and Sempai Kimm with all of the instructors at the camp for a closer look).  By all accounts, it was truly an historic event as over 450 karateka(!) attended the camp to train together.  Many of the participants posted photos of their experience on Facebook, including Sempai Ted Kuin of the Netherlands who shared this huge album of pictures (look closely and you'll find a few which include Sensei John and Sempai Kimm as well as our good friends Sensei Bert Janssens of Belgium and Sempai Julia Ziemska of Switzerland).  But perhaps the most spectacular pictures were taken by Sempai Rocco Perez of the Netherlands.  Login to Facebook FIRST and then click here to check out his incredible aerial photos which he took using a flying camera drone! :-)  His shots really captured the enormous scale of the camp while they trained on the beach beside the North Sea.  Here is Sensei John's personal account of the 2015 FCKC as posted on our West Island Karate / Karaté De L'Île Facebook Group:

Back home now after this historic camp in Belgium.  I come back with memories that I will never forget.  I had the chance to train with MANY world class Kyokushin / ShinKyokushin instructors, including some former world champions.

Shihan Kenji Midori - what can one say about him?  Where to start?  Everyone knows about his abilities and heart, but I got a chance to hear him speak, train with him, and even chat with him at the sayonara party.  He is an incredibly humble and energetic man.  He was always smiling during the camp despite what must have been brutal jet lag coming in from Japan with Shihan Koi and Sempai Watanabe.

I had the opportunity to train once again with Shihan David Pickthall of the UK, another legendary fighter, instructor and humble man.  I have said it before about Shihan Pickthall...he never holds back when teaching.  He can teach fighting techniques or seamlessly switch to kata or kihon.  He put us through some of his famous, bodyweight exercises as well which I will enthusiastically put our students through ASAP!

Shihan Jan Bulow was also a very accomplished fighter, but he was working kata and the approach to training kata during my session.

Then there was Sensei Jonathan Tineo Chica of Spain - another world famous fighter.  Sensei Tineo was the last opponent I fought in tournament at the 2002 World Cup in Portland, Maine (I don't think I landed anything...after seeing him teach some footwork drills, I see why).  He taught selflessly, everything from footwork to proper punching techniques.

I had a class with Shihan Sem Shilt, a former K-1 champion.  He is BIG (look at the pic with Sempai Kimm in front of him in the group shot we took with the instructors), but so is his heart and smile.  You could see the passion he had teaching at the camp. There were so many instructors, so I couldn't train with everyone sadly, but I do look forward to getting the chance to do that in the future.

Highlights for me personally:

  1. Demonstrating techniques with Shihan Midori and my Belgian brother, Bert Janssens, in front of all the black belts.

  2. Feeling the KIAIs coming from 450 people!  With all that energy hitting you from the back like that, I think I could have gone on through the whole camp without stopping to sleep.  Let me tell you...that is powerful on so many levels.  At first, I thought that the timing of the KIAIs were off, but I soon realized that by the time the KIAIs from the back lines reached us in front, we were already on the next count!  (So with this proof, it confirms what I tell the kids at the dojo all the time...I punch and kick faster than the speed of sound ;-) ).

  3. Kihon training in the North Sea.  This is what I was honestly dreading the most - not much body fat to keep me warm, and from experiencing the North Sea before in 2013, I knew it was cold.  I think with so many people moving forward in the same direction and all the furious KIAIs from the kihon, it was enough to keep warm.  Amazing what you can do when so many people are moving in the same direction.

  4. Chasing Kimm Carriere into the sea for a second round...maybe make that highlight #1.

I met many new people, including the students from the Niji Yama dojo where I had the chance to teach before the camp.  I made many new friends at the camp as well, and also saw many old ones that I knew from past camps and tournaments in Europe.  Thank you to Shihan Koen Spitaels, Shihan Gilbert of the Netherlands and their team who put together this camp - a monumental task that took many many months of preparation.  Thank you for your efforts.  Mission accomplished.  This was historic for Europe and probably North America as well.  Never been done in terms of scale and the quality of instruction.  I bring back with me once again a feeling of renewal, an even greater enthusiasm to learn and to teach.  I feel my karate is stronger both technically and spiritually.  Thank you to everyone who made this camp one of the most memorable experiences in my 25 years of training.  Osu.

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May 27/15 and May 30/15 - Adult Gradings

After grading the kids on the weekend, Sensei's attention turned towards the adults.  The beginner adults were graded on Wednesday night followed by the advanced adults on Saturday morning.  As always, the nerves were there, especially when their knowledge of kihon and kata were tested in front of a dojo full of their fellow students who came out to support them.  Both classes were longer than usual.  Like the kids grading this past weekend, not all of the candidates passed.  Both Sensei and Sempai Alain reminded them not to be discouraged and to remember that karate is a life-long endeavor.  In the context of such a long time frame, giving yourself a little more time to develop before ascending in rank (where everything becomes more demanding) is simply the wisest course of action.  Congratulations to all the candidates who successfully earned their next Kyu...omedetou gozaimashita!  Osu!  Click on the photos above to peruse larger versions.

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May 23/15 - Kids Gradings

In late May, the kids from our Beaconsfield and Ile-Perrot dojos converged on Karaté de L'Île for a grading.  By design, Sensei John maintains very high standards at West Island Karate / Karate De L'Ile and makes no apologies for that.  Even after so many years of dedication to the practice and study of Kyokushin Karate, Sensei still endeavors to learn and improve himself by training with others, whenever and wherever the opportunity arises.  He then brings this newfound knowledge to the dojo to transmit to his students.  Because of the demands he still places on himself as both a teacher, and in particular as a STUDENT of karate, he in turn demands and expects no less from his own students.  For the most part, Sensei John was satisfied with the knowledge and skill level demonstrated by all of the candidates.  There were a few who stood out and they were rewarded accordingly.  Sensei emphasized that their outstanding performances stemmed from the focus, maximum effort, and willingness to learn that they display EVERY SINGLE CLASS, not just in the weeks leading up to the grading or during the grading itself.  Sensei always tries to instill in all of his students a sense of pride in their training, so that their hard work is its own reward.  Unfortunately there were also a few candidates who were unable to successfully negotiate the grading.  To reiterate what Sensei said to them: DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED.  It simply means that you need more time to develop before moving on to the next level in your training.  This is time well-spent and greatly benefits the student in the long run.  Please remember that the study and practice of karate is a marathon, not a sprint.  Train diligently and the rest will take care of itself.  It may sound like a cliché, but any karateka who has trained for a significant period of time will tell you that it is truly a rewarding endeavor with many long lasting, positive effects on your life.  So be patient with yourself and resist "belt chasing" as your sole motivation.  As Sensei always says, "Just train".  Click here and login to Facebook to see the photos of the beginners grading and/or the photos of the advanced grading which are posted in our West Island Karate/Karaté De L'Île Facebook Group.  Join our Facebook Group to see these photos as well as many others, stay up-to-date on dojo related events, and see exclusive content not available on our website.  The following are Sensei's comments regarding the grading as posted on our WIK/KDL Facebook group:


This past Saturday we had the summer children's belt grading.  The day was long with 102 candidates going for various Kyu.  We started with the white and orange belts at 9 am and we finished at 11 am.  The blue belt to black bar exam had already begun on the back dojo floor at 10:30 am while we were still presenting the belts to the beginners on the main dojo floor in the front.  It was 1:30 pm by the time we presented the last belt promotion to the advanced group.

Some valuable lessons were learned by the kids as well as some parents.  Some of the beginner students finally understood what I have been telling them since they joined:  "Karate is not like other activities you do - you do not get rewarded for merely showing up.  You must earn your promotion through hard work in every class".  Some parents figured it out as well.  I hope they appreciate the lesson we are trying to teach.

The question that I have been asking the kids for the last several weeks approaching the grading was, "When are you being graded?".  Some answered "in two weeks" or would look at the bulletin board and reply "May 23rd...9 am".  This was the typical answer from the kids, but it was really a trick question meant to get them to change their approach to their training.  The two possible answers were:  1) the day after their last grading, or 2) every time they step into the dojo and say "OSU".  I wanted to impress upon them that they must work diligently every class.  Every punch, kick, block or kata they do, every pushup or squat must be done as if it were a grading (because it actually is!).  I want the students to be working hard no matter what kind of day they have had and regardless of who is teaching class.  They must self-motivate and not think they are trying to impress anyone or that they must work hard because I am watching.  Training at our dojo is always more than memorizing certain techniques, terminology and kata.  It is about life-lessons, self-improvement, personal growth and attitude.  Many students (and parents) are invested all too much in the status, and sadly, bragging rights that come with a belt promotion and miss out on the most important messages.  I hope the grading served to recognize the improvement the students have made as well as encourage their hard work.

Thank you to who are absolutely the best Sempais:  Manon, Patsy, Mike, Anne-Marie, Steve, Witold, David, J, Deb, and Vince for making this one of the better gradings we have had in recent memory.  It was run smoothly and efficiently all because of you.  Thank you for your dedication and passion.  It is appreciated by not only myself, but by all the children and their parents.


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May 16/15 - Sempai Kimm at the Gold Cup

Accompanied and coached by Sensei John as always (the shadowy figure above in the foreground), Sempai Kimm competed at the Gold Cup hosted by Sensei Dominic Ohan.  This year's version of the tournament took place at the spacious Bell Sports Complex in Brossard, known most notably for being the practice venue of the Montreal Canadiens.  Sempai Kimm fought in the lightweight division of the evening's full-contact / knockdown competition.  She was able to defeat two very tough opponents to take first place in her division.  Omedetou gozaimashita (congratulations) Kimm Sempai...the entire dojo is very proud of you!  Thank you to Sensei Dominic Ohan and his team of volunteers for hosting the Gold Cup.  Click on the above picture and login to Facebook to see some photos on our Facebook group of Sempai Kimm's fights courtesy of Sempai Anne-Marie (thanks Sempai A-M).

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Apr. 19/15 - Jr. Semi-Contact Championship

On a beautiful spring Sunday, Sensei John brought a team of 28 karateka to the Semi-Contact Jr. Championship hosted by Sensei Jacques Dupont.  This tournament featured kata and light-contact kumite.  For many of the students on our team, it was their very first competition.  Despite their inexperience, they did an awesome job and represented our dojo extremely well.  Best of all, they had a lot of fun in the process.  Sensei John was very proud of all of them (seeing his students do so well made a nice birthday present for Sensei :-)).  Many thanks to Sensei Jacques Dupont, his Sempais and his team of volunteers for providing a great experience for our students.  Domo arigato gozaimashita.  Osu!  Click on the picture above and login to Facebook to see all the photos from the tournament which are posted in our West Island Karate/Karaté De L'Île Facebook Group (join our Facebook Group to see these photos as well as many others, stay up-to-date on dojo related events, and see exclusive content not available on our website).

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Apr. 9/15 - Seminar with Shihan David Pickthall

Throughout his karate career, Sensei John has always sought out the opportunity to train with high-level Kyokushin karateka to advance his knowledge base and skills.  Sensei has always emphasized that regardless of rank, we should always think (and act) like white belts - in other words, ALWAYS be humble and continue striving to improve by being open-minded to new lessons and of course training hard.  Consequently when he heard that Shihan David Pickthall was giving a seminar in Toronto, he didn't hesitate.  The seminar was hosted by Sensei Steve Fogarasi at his dojo, Contact Kicks Martial Arts.  As is always the case in the Kyokushin community, Sensei John was welcomed with open arms and enjoyed the seminar immensely, bringing home many of the lessons he learned to pass along to his own students.  You can read a great report on the seminar on The Martial Way, an excellent blog created by one of Sensei Fogarasi's students (the author's full name is not mentioned anywhere, but I believe his first name is Scott judging by the email address listed on his website).  Here's what Sensei John had to say about the seminar:

I have to say that it was one of the most enriching seminars that I have ever attended.  Thank you to Shihan David for sharing your experience.  Thank you to Sensei Steve and Sempai Mici.  You are both an incredible team and will do many great things for Kyokushin in Canada.  And lastly, thank you to every one of the students at CKMA for receiving me and others into your family.  I have been re-energized and have a new sense of optimism for what can happen for Kyokushin in Canada.  Osu.

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Mar. 28/15 - Parents Night Out

Every once in a while, we hold a special event at the dojo that we like to call "Parents Night Out".  In short, we provide inexpensive babysitting so that our karate parents can enjoy a well-deserved night out kid-free.  For our dojo kids, Parents Night Out is anything but your typical, boring evening with the babysitter.  The kids are treated to a fun karate class followed by a delicious pizza dinner.  For the finale, we always show a (kid-appropriate) Hollywood movie with big picture and big sound.  Our students can even invite their friends to join in on the fun!  For our first Parents Night Out of 2015, the kids brought incredible enthusiasm and energy.  As your humble webmaster was setting up the audio/video equipment in the back room of the dojo for the movie, I heard the deafening KIAIs right through the wall.  Led by Sempai Alain and Sensei John, the kids (and a few teens/adults :-)) trained hard and had a ton of fun doing it.  Even Sempai Alain's wife, Deb, jumped on the floor to give it a try! :-D  After the sumptuous pizza dinner, the kids relaxed and enjoyed our movie for the evening, "Big Hero 6".  In the middle of the movie, we took a short intermission to celebrate Leo's birthday with home-made cupcakes provided by Leo's mom (thank you so much).  Click on the picture above and login to Facebook to see all the photos from this Parents Night Out which are posted in our West Island Karate/Karaté De L'Île Facebook Group (join our Facebook Group to see these photos as well as many others, stay up-to-date on dojo related events, and see exclusive content not available on our website).  As you'll see from the smiles on their faces, it was another ridiculously fun Parents Night Out for the kids. :-)  We hope the parents also enjoyed their evening out. :-)  Many thanks to Deb (Sempai Kimm's mom) and Cristina for helping out...much appreciated!  Osu!

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Mar. 21/15 - Sempai Kimm competes at the Fighting Spirit Championship

Sempai Kimm did a great job at this year's Fighting Spirit Championship hosted by Shihan Andre Gilbert, earning 2nd place in the women's lightweight division.  This tournament typically attracts some very strong fighters and this year was no exception.  Sempai had to win two fights before making it to the finals.  While being cheered on by a sizeable contingent of supporters from WIK/KDL, Sempai Kimm took the final to an extension before losing the split decision 3-2 in an extremely close fight.  Sempai Kimm was very grateful for all the support and we were all very proud of her.  Omedetou gozaimashita (congratulations) Kimm Sempai.  Very well done.  Osu!  Join our West Island Karate/Karaté de L'Île Facebook Group to see many more photos, stay up-to-date on dojo related events and to see exclusive content not available on our website.

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Mar. 2/15 - Class with Sensei Bert Janssens

After competing at the West Island Karate Championships (and a week of snowboarding at Tremblant :-)) our very good friend, Sensei Bert Janssens of Belgium, came by to teach a class at the dojo.  He took us through some kihon and idogeiko as well as teaching us a very practical fighting combination.  The latter was done as a kata (in Taikyoku form) as well as a drill on the pads.  Sensei Bert ended the evening by making us do squats to the song "Bring Sally Up" by Moby...always fun (and torturous :-D).  Thank you so much Sensei Bert for visiting with us and teaching us once again.  Osu!  Just click on the above photos to see larger versions.  Join our West Island Karate/Karaté de L'Île Facebook Group to see many more photos, stay up-to-date on dojo related events and to see exclusive content not available on our website.

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As always, the 2015 West Island Karate Championships was a special one.  Almost 250 competitors of all ages and ranks came together to compete in kata and semi-contact kumite.  To nobody's surprise, the quality of the kata and kumite was impressive.  It was an invaluable learning experience for all the kids and very engaging for the spectators.  This year, we also had a special guest.  Our very good friend, Sensei Bert Janssens of Belgium, came to Montreal for a visit and competed in the elite kata division as well!  Sensei Bert has competed in many tournaments worldwide in both full-contact kumite and kata for many years.  For the yudansha from WIK/KDL who competed against Sensei Bert in kata this year, it was truly an honor.  Thank you so much to all the Shihans, Senseis, Sempais, students, and their parents and friends for supporting the 2015 West Island Karate Championships.  Sensei John was extremely pleased to see so many different dojos from a wide variety of Kyokushin organizations come together to help provide a positive experience for all involved.  Many thanks to all the Senseis and Sempais who volunteered their time and energy to provide high-quality refereeing once again this year, and most importantly, for keeping our kumite competitors safe.  In particular, a big thank you goes out to our good friend, Sensei Hugo Perez, for overseeing the refereeing and sharing his expertise in this area with us.  Finally, many many thanks to our tireless team of volunteers - we literally could not have done this without you!  Click here and login to Facebook to see Marie-Hélène's photos and Sempai Anne-Marie's photos of our tournament (as well as the karaoke after-party :-)) which have been posted in the Photos section of our West Island Karate / Karaté De L'Île Facebook Group.  Join our Facebook group today to see these pictures, stay up-to-date on dojo related events, and see exclusive content not available on our website.  It's hard to believe that next year will mark the 15th edition of our humble tournament!  Time flies!  On behalf of Sensei John, thank you once again to everyone for all your support over the years.  It is always very much appreciated.  We look forward to seeing you again at the 2016 WIKC.  OSU!

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Feb. 4/15 - Black Belt Presentation

At tonight's class, Sensei John presented Sempais Susie, Dave and Mike (your humble webmaster) with our black belts after having passed our grading in December.  As per WIK/KDL tradition, a black belt is never put on a dry dogi (Sensei says it "sticks" better on a wet gi ;-)).  So after our usual vigorous warm-up with Sempai Alain, we sparred for the remainder of the class so that our dogis would be in the appropriate state of "wetness". :-)  Admittedly it was a sobering and solemn moment as Sensei tied on our new belts.  He took stock of how long each of us had trained to achieve this milestone and it was genuinely surprising how quickly all that time had passed.  Sensei also reminded us that this was not an end...it was a BEGINNING.  Reaching the ranks of the yudansha only meant that we had a good grasp of the BASICS.  It was now time to gain a deeper understanding of everything we had learned up to this point and to continue our growth as karateka by training accordingly.  Once again, many many thanks to Sensei John, Sensei Steve and all of the Sempais at WIK/KDL for being so generous with their time, knowledge and energy.  They literally pushed us time and again to help us build the physical and mental fortitude required to reach this point...domo arigato gozaimashita.  And obviously nobody can get to Shodan without the help and support of their fellow students as well, so we also owe a debt of gratitude to them...thank you so much to all of you!  It is a true honor to be part of such a close dojo family.  We have nothing but the greatest respect for everyone who has come before us and we look forward to helping those who will come after us.  OSU!  Click on the photo above for a closer look.

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Jan. 3/15 - Kagami Biraki 2015

It was an auspicious start to 2015 as almost 80 karateka from many different Kyokushin organizations throughout Quebec attended our annual Kagami Biraki (New Year's Training).  With so many of the best Kyokushin instructors in Quebec all in one room, it was a golden opportunity to kick-start the new year with a unique and enriching learning experience.  After the warm-up, we split into groups by belt level and were treated to a 20 minute lesson from each instructor.  The training was enlightening, spirited and most of all...fun! :-)  The exchange of ideas was inspiring and invaluable.  Needless to say, all of the students benefitted greatly.  Many thanks to Shihan Maximiliano Ferraiolo for helping us organize the event.  Sensei John would also like to thank Shihan Maximiliano Ferraiolo, Sensei Jacques Dupont, Sensei Fouad El Harrif, Sensei Luciano Paparella, Sensei Francis Dupré, Sensei Richard Labonté and Sensei Gaetan Savard for their generous donation of time, energy and knowledge...domo arigato gozaimashita!  Best of all, with everyone's support, we were able to raise $620 (i.e. all proceeds above and beyond what it cost us to rent the gym) which was once again donated to CHU Sainte-Justine / Mother and Child University Hospital Centre, an organization near and dear to Sensei John's heart.  Many many thanks to everyone for coming out to support such a great cause.  It is very much appreciated and we hope to see you again next year.  Click on the photo above to see a larger version.  Then click here to see ALL of the photos of the 2015 Kagami Biraki (courtesy of Paul Simard...thanks so much Paul) which were posted in the Photos section of our West Island Karate / Karaté De L'Île Facebook Group.  Join our Facebook group to stay up-to-date on dojo related events and to see exclusive content not available on our website.  All of us at WIK/KDL would like to wish everyone a healthy, prosperous and happy 2015!  Osu!

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2014 - News and Events

Click here to read what happened at West Island Karate / Karaté De L'Île in 2014

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