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News Archives

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Dec. 12/16 and 14/16 - Teen/Adult Grading

Finally it was time for the teens and adults to be graded.  Due to time constraints, Sensei John decided to split the grading over the Monday and Wednesday classes, but having said that, the grading was no less challenging or grueling since Sensei "compensated" for the split. ;-)  The teens and adults were put through their paces according to their level and they all rose to the occasion.  Congratulations to everyone who earned their next Kyu.  Click on the above picture and log in to Facebook to see a few photos of the grading (courtesy of Julie Vuong...thanks so much Julie).  Join our West Island Karate / Karaté de L'Île Facebook Group to see these photos, get the very latest news on our dojo, and view exclusive content not available on our website.


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Dec. 10/16 - Karaoke Holiday Party

After having our grading for the advanced belt kids during the day, it was time to party that same evening!  Our annual Karaoke Holiday Party this year turned out to be smaller than usual, but still very spirited event (guess everyone was busy holiday shopping).  Those that did attend sang their hearts out and had a great time, especially the kids.  Sensei John even used his connections to get Santa to pay an early visit and surprise the kids. :-)  Click here and log in to Facebook to see a few more photos and a crazy video of the party courtesy of Sempai Manon (thanks Sempai).  It was a great way to celebrate another awesome year at West Island Karate/Karaté de L'Île.  Join our West Island Karate / Karaté de L'Île Facebook Group to see these photos, get the very latest news on our dojo, and view exclusive content not available on our website.


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Dec. 10/16 - Advanced Kids Grading

A week after the grading of the beginner and intermediate kids, Sensei John conducted a grading of our Advanced Kids.  We were honored to have Shihan Max and Sempai Benoit join us with three of their students who were also being graded.  Sensei John led the grading, joined by Sempais Manon, Benoit, Kimm, Steve and Yvonne (Shihan Max was battling a bad cold and was not able to participate).  An advanced belt grading is never easy, in particular when the grading is conducted at a dojo that is not your own.  The environment is different and you're not familiar with the fighters.  Sensei John always emphasizes respect during a grading, so all the fights were challenging but very respectful.  Kudos to Shihan Max and Sempai Benoit's students on an awesome job.  Annabelle was the lone candidate from our dojo and she did a great job as well.  Sensei also heaped praise on all of the other advanced kids who were not being graded, but nevertheless came out to support their fellow students.  They showed great Kyokushin spirit and dojo unity by going through every single stage of the grading along with the candidates.  Congratulations to the four candidates for earning their Nikyu (brown belts).  Omedetou gozaimashita.  Well done.  Osu!  Click on the above photo and log in to Facebook to see all the photos of the grading (courtesy of your humble webmaster).  Join our West Island Karate / Karaté de L'Île Facebook Group to see these photos, get the very latest news on our dojo, and view exclusive content not available on our website.


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Dec. 3/16 - Coupe des Samourais

After the two kids gradings in the morning, Sensei John and Sempai Mike left immediately to join our team at the Coupe des Samourais tournament hosted by Sensei Alexandre Haché.  Sempai Manon had already checked-in the kids and Sempai Kimm also came along to coach all our fighters.  The kids ran into some tough competition, but did their best and represented the dojo well.  We were proud of all of them for competing with such spirit.  Well done.  Many thanks to Sensei Alexandre Haché and his volunteers for putting together another wonderful and fun tournament experience for everyone involved.  Osu!  Click here and log in to Facebook to see more photos of our team at the tournament (courtesy of Julie Vuong...thanks Julie).  Above photo by your humble webmaster.  Join our West Island Karate / Karaté de L'Île Facebook Group to see these photos, get the very latest news on our dojo, and view exclusive content not available on our website.


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Dec. 3/16 - Beginner and Intermediate Kids Gradings


As we entered the last month of 2016, Sensei John held gradings for the beginner and intermediate level kids.  Here's a report on those gradings in Sensei's own words:

Beginning December 3rd, we held the orange to green belt junior examinations.  There were many candidates up for promotion and all of them performed well and showcased their skills.  Everyone showed great spirit and improvement from the time they started.  I am pleased with the results, although there are some areas in which I want to improve.  Consequently I will work closely with all of the other instructors to take the steps necessary to achieve those results.

Congratulations to everyone who earned their next Kyu.  Osu!  Click on the above pictures or on the following links and login to Facebook to see the photos from the gradings (courtesy of your humble webmaster).  Click here to see the photos of the white/orange belt grading.  Click here to see the photos of the blue/yellow belt grading.  Join our West Island Karate / Karaté de L'Île Facebook Group to see these photos, get the very latest news on our dojo, and view exclusive content not available on our website.


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Nov. 19/16 - Parents Night Out

"Parents Night Out" is what we call a special event we hold at the dojo every so often where we essentially take care of your kids (and their friends) for a few hours while the parents enjoy a well-deserved break and evening out.  The kids are treated to a fun karate training, a delicious pizza dinner and a Hollywood movie projected on our dojo wall for a huge picture (and big high-quality sound courtesy of a large PA system).  The cost for our Parents Night Out is only $20 ($40 max/family), a price for 4 hours of "babysitting" that can't be matched anywhere (not to mention the kids are also fed pizza and get to enjoy a movie on the big screen).  The parents know a good deal when they see one, so it's a very popular dojo event.  The 40 or so kids who attended our Parents Night Out on this evening brought some SERIOUS energy with them and put it into their training with Sensei John.  The KIAI's were deafening!  Kudos to all the kids for showing such awesome Kyokushin spirit.  The kids were good and tired when they finally settled down for their pizza dinner and our showing of "Finding Dory" which they enjoyed thoroughly.  On behalf of Sensei John, thank you to all the parents for your support.  We hope you enjoyed your kid-free evening. :-)  We'll have another Parents Night Out as soon as Sensei recovers from the onslaught of all those kids. :-D  Click on the photo above and login to Facebook to see photos of this Parents Night Out (courtesy of your humble webmaster).


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Nov. 5/16 - Quebec Kyokushin Karate Championship

On this weekend, we took a sizeable team from WIK/KDL on a roadtrip to Quebec City to attend the Quebec Kyokushin Karate Championship, hosted by Sensei Jonathan Ouellet.  Over the years, we've taken to calling these tournament roadtrips "karate vacations". :-)  One of the best things about these "karate vacations" is that it's a chance for Sensei John and the Sempais to get to know the students and their parents a little better OUTSIDE of the dojo...always a treat.  It's also an awesome bonding experience for our students and it really helps to build that sense of FAMILY that pervades our dojo.  On this particular trip, Sensei had no shortage of help as he was accompanied by Sempai Kimm, Sempai Annie, Sempai Anne-Marie, Sempai Philip, Sempai Mike and Ben-san, one of our senior adult students.  While Sensei, Sempai Annie and Sempai Mike spent the entire day (and evening) refereeing, the other Sempais all pitched-in to help organize the kids and coach them.

Sempai Kimm fought in the evening's knockdown competition and won her first fight against Sempai Annick of Quebec.  Unfortunately Sempai Kimm's second opponent forfeited, so Sempai Kimm only had that one fight to earn first place.  However in a show of Kyokushin spirit and classy sportsmanship, Sempai Annick (Sensei Jonathan's student) invited Sensei John and the Sempais who were still present at the end of the evening to join her and her dojo-mates for a drink at a local, home-brew, beer establishment.  Raising a glass with them and getting to know Annick Sempai a little better was a nice way to end the tournament weekend.

Sensei John was VERY proud of the entire team for having the courage to test their skills and for turning in noteworthy and impressive performances against some tough competition (all while bonding with each other and having a ton of fun :-)).  Our kids displayed the technique, spirit and sportsmanship that Sensei tries to instill in all his students.  The experience and confidence they gained by preparing for and taking on this challenge will be invaluable going forward...and not just as it pertains to karate.  Most of our team earned a lot of "hardware" at this tournament :-), but regardless of placement in their respective kata and kumite divisions, they all came home with "trophies"...less tangible than the gold plastic and wood variety perhaps, but ones which will be much more consequential and enduring in the future.  Congratulations to our entire team on a great job!  Many thanks to the parents/siblings for coming out all the way to Quebec City to encourage our students in this endeavor.  The kids obviously appreciate your support, but so do Sensei John and the Sempais.  Many thanks to Sensei Jonathan for putting on another wonderful tournament.  Click on the picture above for a larger photo of Sensei with the team.  Here's a funny photo where Sensei photo-bombs the shot above (much to the chagrin of the kids :-D).  Until we see you on our next "karate vacation"...OSU! :-)


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Oct. 30/16 - Halloween Training

October ended with our annual Halloween Training where everyone trains in full Halloween costume!  It's one of the most hilarious trainings of the year and everyone looks forward to showing off their own costumes and seeing what others wear.  This year the kids costumes were particularly creative and varied, including Anna and Elsa from "Frozen", an ornately dressed Egyptian princess, a gamut of superheroes including Superman, Spiderman and Captain America, a soft ice-cream cone, Kylo Ren from "Star Wars", an 80's disco queen, the cutest Minnie Mouse and many others.  The teachers joined in the fun as well.  Sensei John was a Mardi-Gras skeleton, Sempai Nancy was the tooth fairy, Sempai Yvonne was a pirate, Sempai Victor was Super-Mario, Sempai Nico was a strip of bacon (mmm...everyone loves bacon) and Sempai Mike was a pathetic, aging, 80's rock star. :-D  Everyone had fun and worked hard, earning the sweet Halloween treats that Sensei distributed at the end of the training.  Click here and login to Facebook to see photo albums of the Halloween Training from Sempai Mike as well as from Mike McHugh.


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Oct. 8/16 - Budo Giant Challenge

The Budo Giant Challenge, hosted by Shihan Hugo Perez, is traditionally the first tournament of the season for our dojo.  Coached by Sempai Kimm, this year's team of 16 kids consisted primarily of the "next generation" of young students at West Island Karate/Karaté de L'Île.  For many of them, this was their first taste of tournament competition.  By all accounts, the entire team did a great job and represented the dojo well.  Sensei John and Sempai Kimm were very proud of all of them.  Congratulations to every member of our team on an awesome job!  Osu!  Many thanks to Shihan Hugo and his hard-working volunteers for providing another great tournament experience for all involved.  Thank you to Mike McHugh for the photo of our team above.  Click here and login to Facebook to see part 1 and part 2 of all the photos from the tournament courtesy of Shihan Hugo (photos by Sergei Bergen).


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Oct. 1/16 - British Open Knockdown Tournament

Sensei John gave everyone at the dojo a pleasant surprise by announcing, only a couple of weeks prior to today, that Sempai Kimm would be competing at the 40th British Open Knockdown Tournament in Crawley, England!  It was a great opportunity to build on her experience competing at the international level against world-class, Kyokushin fighters.  Sempai Kimm's first taste of international competition was at the Diamond Cup in Belgium in 2014, a tournament at which she competed again earlier this year.  Most notably, she represented Canada at the 11th World Karate Championship Shinkyokushinkai in Tokyo, Japan, in October of last year.  Sempai Kimm's fighting skills have been on a steady upward trajectory since her debut on the knockdown scene in 2009, thanks in no small part to her coach, Sensei John.  Sensei, as he has always done, takes every opportunity to train with others and attend karate seminars and camps around the world in order to grow his own skills.  Fortunately for his students at West Island Karate/Karaté de L'Île, he generously passes on much of the knowledge he gleans from these trainings to us.  It's a symbiotic relationship that benefits the entire dojo by keeping our training interesting and pushing each of us to constantly evolve.  This year's edition of the British Open presented a significant challenge for Sempai Kimm.  It featured an unprecedented number of champions from numerous Kyokushin organizations around the globe - 167 knockdown fighters in all.  Sempai Kimm was just one of 21 competitors in the women's lightweight division.  While the British Open was being contested "across the pond", it was a typical Saturday morning of training at the dojo.  Sempai Alain was teaching the teen/adult class as usual, but he allowed us to take a short break to watch the live stream of the tournament whenever his daughter, Sempai Kimm, was fighting.  Sempai Kimm was in great form and dispatched her first two opponents convincingly.  In the third round (the quarter-finals), she faced a very tough Spanish fighter.  The fight was extremely close and went the distance with two additional extension rounds before her opponent was finally awarded the split decision.  Sempai Kimm was understandably disappointed, but the dojo was nevertheless extremely proud of her.  Ultimately, she had another memorable tournament (and learning) experience at the highest level.  This will definitely serve her well going forward.  Well done Kimm Sempai...hold your head high!  Omedetou gozaimashita (congratulations)!  Osu!  Many thanks to Sensei John for the photos above.


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Sept. 3-5/16 - Training Camp with Shihan Howard Collins and Shihan Brian Fitkin

Shihan Howard Collins (8th Dan) and Shihan Brian Fitkin (8th Dan) are the technical directors for the WKO (World Karate Organization Shinkyokushinkai).  They both have many decades of Kyokushin experience, knowledge and teaching expertise.  For the first time ever, they were coming to Canada to teach.  The event was hosted by Sensei Kevin Vallée of Dojo Ki Arts Martiaux and was open to all Kyokushin organizations.  A contingent of 6 karateka from West Island Karate/Karaté de L'Île, including Sensei John, Sempai Manon and Sempai Marla, made the long trip to Sainte-Anne-des-Monts in Gaspesie to attend the training camp.  As expected, being the technical directors of the WKO, their main focus was on good technique and attention to detail in kihon and kata.  The wealth of information that was shared Shihan Collins and Shihan Fitkin was invaluable.  Many thanks to Sensei Vallée for hosting a great event.  Osu!  Click on the picture above (courtesy of Sempai Marla...thank you Sempai) and login to Facebook to see a few photos from the training camp.


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Aug. 25-27/16 - Seminar with Shihan David Pickthall


Sensei John and Sempai Kimm took the opportunity to attend a three day seminar in Montreal given by Shihan David Pickthall (6th Dan), vice-president of the IFK.  The seminar was hosted by Sensei Jonathan Hemond of Karaté Laval.  Sensei John had attended Shihan Pickthall's seminar in Toronto last year, so he was familiar with Shihan Pickthall's very technical, creative and methodical lessons which focus on good kihon and how that translates directly into kumite.  This seminar was very similar and the lessons were once again informative and invaluable.  Many thanks to Sensei Jonathan for hosting the seminar.  Osu!  Many thanks to Sensei Steve Fogarasi of Contact Kicks Martial Arts in Toronto for the photos above.  Click on the pictures above and login to Facebook to see more photos of the seminar courtesy of Sensei Steve Fogarasi.


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June 24/16 - Seminar with Shihan Kenji Midori

As many of us headed off on vacation for the long St-Jean Baptiste weekend, a few karateka from WIK/KDL including Sensei John and Sempai Kimm attended the two day seminar in Montreal with Shihan Kenji Midori (President of WKO), Shihan Isao Kobayashi (Vice-President of WKO) and Shihan Yasukazu Koi (General Manager of WKO).  It was a chance to train with and learn from some of the best Kyokushin Karate practitioners in the world.  Click here and login to Facebook to see some photos of the seminar (courtesy of Randy Cole...thank you).  In addition, here's a video of the weekend's event (courtesy of Sempai John Garroch...much appreciated).  Many thanks to Randy Cole for the photo above of Shihan Midori demonstrating a kick with Sempai Benoit Porlier of Spirit Gym Montreal.


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June 11/16 - Grading for Intermediate/Advanced Kids/Teens/Adults

Sensei John completed this year's round of summer gradings by testing the intermediate and advanced kids, teens and adults (blue to brown belts).  All of the candidates demonstrated excellent physical fitness, kihon, kata, kumite - and above all - spirit.  Congratulations to everyone who earned their next Kyu.  Omedetou gozaimashita.  Click here and login into Facebook to see the photos of the KIDS grading and the TEEN/ADULT grading (photos 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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June 3-5/16 - 1st European Full Contact Karate Camp

In early June, Sensei John (shown above flanked by our good friends Sensei Bert Janssens of Belgium and Sensei Julia Ziemska of Switzerland) and Sempai Kimm left for the coastal city of Oostende, Belgium, to train at the 1st European Full Contact Karate Camp.  They had both attended the first iteration of this camp last year and were anxious to participate in this amazing experience once again.  Over the three days that the camp lasted, Sensei and Sempai Kimm trained with and learned from some world renowned karateka including Shihan Kenji Midori.  There were 350 participants (including Sensei and Sempai Kimm who registered too late to be included in the count listed on the camp's website) from 27 countries (including Canada :-)). Best of all, there were more Kyokushin organizations in attendance than last year.  It was another invaluable training experience for Sensei John and Sempai Kimm, and they came back to pass along what they had gleaned from the camp to everyone at our dojo.  Click here to see some wonderful photos and a great video of the camp (courtesy of Ayyoub Amrani).


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May 21/16 - Dokiju Championship

West Island Karate / Karaté De L'Île brought a team of 14 kids to the Dokiju Championship today.  Everyone, from our more experienced competitors to the tournament novices, did a great job.  Sempai Manon and Sempai Mike supervised and coached the team and were very proud of all of them.  Thank you to Sensei Stéphane Marcotte of Karaté Kyokushin-Kan St-Hubert and his team of volunteers for organizing another enjoyable tournament.  Many thanks to our dojo parents for bringing their kids out so they could enjoy one last tournament experience before the summer.  Congratulations to our entire team. Osu!


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May 14/16 - Grading of White and Orange Belt Kids

Sensei John had a pre-summer grading for the white and orange belt kids this morning.  Sensei has always insisted that his students be well-rounded, so he tested their physical fitness, their knowledge of Japanese terminology, and their ability to execute basic techniques, kata and kumite.  Most of all, Sensei wanted to see if their spirit and ability to perservere demonstrated that they were ready for the next level in their training.  The kids responded well and did a great job.  Congratulations to all the candidates who successfully earned their next Kyu.  Omedetou gozaimashita (congratulations).  Osu! Click here and login into Facebook to see the photos of the WHITE belt grading and the ORANGE belt grading (photos 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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May 7/16 - Parents Night Out: The Force Awakens!

Every once in a while, we hold a special event at the dojo called "Parents Night Out".  In essence, we "babysit" our younger students (and their friends) for the evening while their parents enjoy a night out without the little ones in tow.  It's a hugely popular event with both our dojo kids and parents...and for good reason.  The kids are treated to a very fun karate training (Sensei often engages them in activities which they don't normally do in class) followed by a delicious pizza dinner.  For the finale, we present a Hollywood movie with big picture and big sound.  All this costs only $20/child for a fun-filled 4 hours (try finding babysitting anywhere for $5/hour, let alone with a karate class, pizza dinner AND a movie)!  The parents meanwhile get a well-deserved reprieve from their familial duties for several precious hours.  On this particular evening, we presented one of the most popular and largest grossing movies of all time...STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS!  Because this was such a popular film, we decided to allow parents to join in on this one occasion and a few took us up on the offer.  Needless to say, it was a ridiculously fun evening all around.  Click on the picture above and login to Facebook to see all of the photos from this particular Parents Night Out (photos courtesy of your humble webmaster).  Until next time...MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU! :-)


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Apr. 23/16 - The 2016 Dageki Championship



By any measure, the 2016 Dageki Championship was a world-level, Kyokushin Karate tournament.  The event took place in the Centre Pierre-Charbonneau (adjacent to the Olympic Stadium), a spacious sports arena which holds up to 2700 people.  With well over 600 participants, many of whom made the trip from other countries all over the globe to compete, this was truly an international event.  The spectators enjoyed very high-level katas and kumite matches from some of the best junior and adult karateka from around the world.  Our West Island Karate/Karaté de L'Île team did an awesome job.  They demonstrated the technique, spirit and sportsmanship that Sensei John tries to instill in all his students.  In particular, Sempai Kimm made it to the finals of the women's full-contact lightweight division and beat a very tough opponent to once again become the Dageki champion in her category (she first earned that title at the 2012 Dageki Championship).  Sensei John was very proud of the entire WIK/KDL team.  Congratulations to all of them!  The next day, many of us attended a seminar with Shihan Shichinohe, Shihan Yamaki, Hanshi Matias and Shihan Roman.  Thank you to the Shihans for sharing a little bit of their expansive knowledge and experience with us.  It was a very informative training and a great way to end this year's Dageki tournament.  Domo arigato gozaimashita.  Many thanks to the Dageki organizers and their huge team of hard-working volunteers for providing an impressive, world-level tournament right here in Montreal.  It was an experience that everyone involved (especially the competitors and their supporters) will always remember.  OSU!  Click on any picture above to see all of the photos from the 2016 Dageki Championship courtesy of Sergei Bergen (thanks Sergei).


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Apr. 3/16 - The First ASC Yudansha Grading

The day had arrived for the inaugural yudansha (black belt) grading hosted by the ASC (Association Shinkyokushin Canada) of which West Island Karate/Karaté de L'Île is a member.  There were approximately 18 candidates in all from various Shinkyokushin dojos in the region, including candidates from as far away as the Maritimes.  Six of the candidates were from our dojo:  Sempai Kimm Carriere, Sempai Denis Martin, Sempai Mike Woo, Sempai Witold Cialowicz, Sempai Steve Roumeliotis and Sempai Marla Salonin.  Sempai Kimm held the rank of Shodan and was being tested for Nidan.  Sempai Denis and Sempai Mike had previously earned their Shodan from Sensei John while WIK/KDL was an independent dojo not affiliated with any karate organization.  Regardless, they were now submitting to ANOTHER Shodan grading to ensure they met the standards required for that belt level by the World Karate Organization Shinkyokushinkai, the karate organization which our dojo joined in June of last year).  Lastly, Sempais Witold, Steve and Marla held the rank of 1st Kyu and were being graded for Shodan.  Yudansha gradings are always extremely demanding both physically and technically, so in the three months leading up to the grading, all of the WIK/KDL candidates added rigorous, extra trainings to their regular weekly classes at the dojo.  The grading took place at Tansei Dojo (Sensei Luciano's dojo) and was well attended by the various ASC dojos.  As expected, it was a very stern test of our physical fitness, kihon, kata, kumite, and most of all, our ability to push and perservere through the most challenging of circumstances.  The candidates were under great scrutiny from the grading committee which included Shihan Maximiliano Ferraiolo, Shihan Guy Salter, Shihan Alain Bordeleau, Shihan Normand Bordeleau, Sensei Luciano Paparella, Sensei Kevin Vallée and our own Sensei John Kalaidopoulos.  In a testament to Sensei John's training and our additional preparation, all of the WIK/KDL acquitted themselves well and passed their grading.  Omedetou gozaimashita (congratulations) Sempais...Osu!  Many thanks to all of the Shihans and Senseis who oversaw the grading for pushing us to our limits (and beyond), for insisting that we give our very best and not settle for less, and for offering invaluable insights into what we can each do to improve.  Your critiques were received with humbleness and much gratitude...OSU!  Many many thanks to all of our fellow karateka from WIK/KDL who gave up their day to come sweat it out with us and support us.  Your presence and encouragement meant more to us than you know (sometimes it was the only thing that kept us going when we hit that "wall").  Lastly, I think I speak for all of the WIK/KDL candidates in extending a HUGE thank you to Sensei John for everything he has taught us over the years, for pushing us time and again beyond what we thought we could endure, and for always leading by example.  John Sensei, you are an incredible teacher and we will always be grateful for the training, guidance and wisdom you provided to help us achieve this milestone.  I believe all of the Sempais know that this is just the "beginning", but thanks so much for getting us to the "starting line".  Osu Sensei!  Click on the photo above to see a larger version (thank you to Serge Hebert for the picture).


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Apr. 2/16 - North American Cup

Sensei John brought a team from West Island Karate/Karaté de L'Île to compete on the south shore at the North American Cup.  Hosted by Shihan Alain Bordeleau of Shinkyokushin Greenfield Park and Shihan Normand Bordeleau of Karaté Kyokushin Longueuil, this tournament featured kata, elite kata, weapons kata and semi-contact kumite.  Coached by Sempai Kimm, our team performed some remarkable katas and displayed great spirit in their kumite matches as well.  Congratulations to all of them.  Sensei John, Sempai Manon and Sempai Mike also volunteered their time to help judge the katas and referee the kumite competition.  Many thanks to Shihan Alain and Shihan Normand for providing a good tournament experience for our students.  Osu!  Click on the picture above to see more photos from the North American Cup (courtesy of École de karaté Kyokushin Longueuil...merci de partager ces photos).


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Feb. 20/16 - The 2016 West Island Karate Championship


The 2016 West Island Karate Championship was the 15th edition of our annual tournament (wow...where did the time go?!).  It once again turned out to be an outstanding event with well over 200 competitors representing 21 different dojos from a variety of Kyokushin organizations.  Sensei John was proudest of the latter.  It was a sure sign that Kyokushin karate dojos and organizations in the region were continuing to come together to help and support each other.  Sensei has always maintained that a symbiotic relationship, in particular one based on TRAINING together, benefits ALL of us.  This is especially true for the STUDENTS of each dojo and organization.  These young karateka are the future of Kyokushin.  In large part to the wide representation by various dojos and organizations, the level of competition was very high this year.  The participants showcased some remarkable kata and kumite skills, while at the same time, displaying the spirit, respect and sportsmanship which are the hallmarks of Kyokushin karate tournaments.  We salute ALL of you for that...omedetou gozaimashita (congratulations)!  Many many thanks to the parents, coaches, Shihans/Senseis/Sempais, referees, and our huge team of WIK/KDL volunteers for helping make this tournament another memorable one.  Because of your generous donation of time and energy, we were able to provide another excellent tournament experience for these karate kids.  Your help and support is very much appreciated.  Osu!  Click on the picture above and login to Facebook to see all of the photos from the 2016 West Island Karate Championship courtesy of Marie-Hélène Gauthier (thanks so much for the photos M-H).  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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Feb. 14/16 - Soshu Shigeru Oyama - The Passing of a Giant

The entire Kyokushin world is mourning the loss of Soshu Shigeru Oyama who unfortunately passed away this afternoon at 3 pm.  Born in Tokyo in 1935, Soshu Shigeru Oyama trained under Sosai Mas Oyama (no relation) during the early days of the development of Kyokushin Karate.  In 1966, Shigeru Oyama successfully completed the 100-man kumite and eventually founded the World Oyama Karate organization.  One of his favorite demonstrations was the "sword catch", whereby he would stop a samurai sword being swung down at his head by catching it between his palms!  Click here to see a video of this impressive but very dangerous demonstration (obviously do NOT attempt this yourself!).  Soshu was one of the original and true giants of Kyokushin karate.  He held the rank of 10th Dan at his passing.  Some of us from West Island Karate were fortunate enough to train with him in 2013 when he came to Montreal to give a seminar.  Click on the photos above to see larger versions (many thanks to Sempai Anne-Marie for these pictures).  Soshu Oyama, gomeifuku wo inorimasu (may you find peace in the next life).  Osu!


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Feb. 13/16 - Sempai Kimm places 3rd at the Diamond Cup in Belgium

Sempai Kimm's kumite skills have been on an upward trajectory for quite some time.  This is a result of years of consistent hard training in class, extra training outside of class with coaching from Sensei John, and the amassing of full-contact kumite experience at local and international tournaments, most recently and notably at the 11th World Karate Championship (Shinkyokushin) in Japan.  The process of becoming a full-contact Kyokushin fighter who is competitive at the INTERNATIONAL level is a long journey requiring intense dedication, unwavering discipline, the willingness to make the necessary sacrifices, and perhaps hardest of all, being patient with one's own progress and being content with the incremental improvements made along the way.  Sempai Kimm has been making this journey for many years now, but many people may not realize how long the journey has been thus far.  After having competed as a junior in countless semi-contact tournaments, her first taste of full-contact fighting was back in December of 2009!  Fast-forward more than 6 years and Sempai Kimm was once again fighting at the Diamond Cup in Antwerp, Belgium - a tournament in which she competed in June of 2014.  At her first Diamond Cup, she was eliminated in her very first match by the eventual winner of her division.  Irregardless, it was an excellent learning experience and another stepping stone.  This year, she made some big strides forward.  There were 16 women in the middle-weight category, including some very tough fighters from countries like Russia, Poland, Germany and Sweden.  It was going to be quite the challenge for Sempai Kimm.  She won her first round fight against Sandra Van Ham of the Netherlands.  In the second round, she defeated Sanne Larsson of Sweden to advance to the semi-finals.  Unfortunately Rebecca Drage of Sweden got the decision in their semi-final match together, giving Sempai Kimm a well-earned 3rd place showing.  This was the clearest evidence yet that all those years of hard work are paying big dividends.  It seems the future is very bright for Sempai Kimm in this very challenging sport.  Kimm Sempai, the entire dojo is SO PROUD of you!  Well done!  Big OSU!  Many thanks to Sempai An Driesens-Polimeno for the photo.


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Feb. 7/16 - Referee Training

In the last couple of years, the UKC (Union Karaté Canada) has been giving a series of free referee trainings to teach, standardize and improve kumite refereeing at all of our local tournaments.  Raising refereeing standards to a professional level is an excellent endeavor since it furthers the primary objective of refereeing at all Kyokushin karate tournaments:  protecting the fighters.  Led by our friends, Sensei Fouad El Harrif of Karaté Kyokushin St-Luc and Sensei Hugo Perez of Centre de Karate Perez, we hosted a referee training at Karaté de L'Île on this morning.  The referee training was informative, organized and well presented.  After reviewing the terminology and theory, we were given the opportunity to get in some useful practice with simulated fighting scenarios.  Spectators may not realize that refereeing is a very challenging job, requiring intense concentration, quick reflexes and the ability to render a decision in a split second (because in a Kyokushin karate fight, things happen FAST).  Although these referee trainings are an excellent way to brush up, the point was made that nothing beats the experience of refereeing in an actual tournament situation.  Accordingly we were encouraged to do that as much as possible to constantly improve our skills and keep them sharp.  Many thanks to Sensei Fouad and Sensei Hugo for the seminar.  Osu!  Click on the above picture to see some photos of the referee training (courtesy of UKC...many thanks).  Many thanks to Benoit Filion for the above photo.


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Jan. 30/16 - Parents Night Out

After the busy back-to-school period following the holidays, Sensei John decided to hold another Parents Night Out.  "Parents Night Out" is the name we coined for an evening of babysitting at the dojo where the kids are treated to a fun karate class, a pizza dinner and a Hollywood movie - while the parents duck out for a well-deserved break and enjoy an evening out without the little ones.  It was another really fun evening for the students as well as a few of their friends who decided to join in on the fun.  The kids burned off a lot of excess energy during the karate class with Sensei John (although the energy shot up to an all-time high when the kids split up into teams to play "fight for the medecine ball" :-D).  After calming down, they settled in for a delicious pizza dinner which was followed by some unexpected dessert (home-made muffins and Rice Krispie squares courtesy of Adina as well as cupcakes made by Nicolas and his mom...thank you so much).  Finally the kids enjoyed our showing of "How To Train Your Dragon 2" which we projected onto the dojo wall for a huge image and accompany with sound from a large PA system (it's the next best thing to being at the theatre).  Click on the picture above and login to Facebook to see photos of this Parents Night Out (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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Jan. 14/16 - Belt Presentation to Sensei John and Sempai Annie

It was a very special night at the dojo.  Our good friends Sensei Luciano and Sempai Marisa paid a surprise visit to train with us and it was great class.  But Sensei Luciano had another surprise for us at the end of the night.  Firstly, Sensei Luciano presented Sempai Annie with her Nidan belt and certificate that she earned when she passed her grading back in October of last year.  Then Sensei Luciano informed us that the WKO (World Karate Organization Shinkyokushinkai), at Sensei Luciano's request (which he emphasized went against Sensei John's wishes), had decided to recognize Sensei John as an official Yondan of Shinkyokushinkai.  To be clear, Sensei has been a Yondan since 2006 when he was awarded that rank by IKO Matsushima (back when West Island Karate was still a member of that karate organization), so this was not a promotion.  It was simply a recognition of his current rank.  Even so, Sensei Luciano explained that it was very rare for the WKO to certify a yudansha (a black belt) from another organization without having that person re-graded, but they decided to make an exception in Sensei John's case due to his reputation in the Kyokushin community.  Accordingly, Sensei Luciano presented Sensei John with an official Shinkyokushinkai Yondan belt and certificate.  Omedetou gozaimashita John Sensei and Annie Sempai. Osu!


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Jan. 10/16 - Kagami Biraki

After a nice break for the holidays, we started the new year with our annual Kagami Biraki (New Year's Training) in the gymnasium of the Kirkland Arena.  As always, our Kagami Biraki is open to all Kyokushin dojos regardless of affiliation and this year's attendance was the best yet.  It was nice to catch up with many fellow students and various Shihans/Senseis/Sempais, many of whom we only get to see at our regional tournaments or when we occasionally train at each other's dojos.  Best of all, our Kagami Biraki affords every student the unique opportunity to get a lesson from many of the top Kyokushin instructors in the region, all by attending one training.  As such, it has become quite the event because of the tremendous learning experience it offers students of all ages and ranks.  After a brief warm-up, we were divided into groups by rank with the very young students in a group of their own.  Each instructor would then rotate through the groups, giving each a group a lesson tailored for their level.  The lessons were concise, invaluable and fun. :-)  The instructors were very generous with their many years of training, knowledge and experience.  Without overstating the case, the day was enjoyed by all.  Many many thanks to Shihan Real Gagnon, Shihan Max Ferraiolo, Sensei Fouad El Harrif, Sensei Alexandre Haché, Sensei Jonathan Hemond and Sensei Josee Patenaude.  Sensei John was very appreciative for everyone's participation, but most of all, he was happy that with everyone's support we were able to raise and donate $565 (i.e. all profits from our Kagami Biraki) to the CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation, an organization near and dear to his heart.  Thank you once again and have a happy, healthy and prosperous 2016!  Osu!  Click on the picture above and login to Facebook to see photos of the Kagami Biraki (courtesy of Spirit Gym Montreal).  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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2015 - News and Events

Click here to read what happened at West Island Karate / Karaté De L'Île in 2015


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