On Saturday, July 2nd and Sunday, July 3rd, local dojo Kushindokai Karate and Fitness hosted a pair of swordsmanship and grappling seminars with headmaster Kajitsuka Yasushi Sensei from Japan. Visiting Canada for a week of teaching in the GTA, Kajitsuka Sensei spent the long weekend in Orangeville running two all-day seminars on classical Japanese martial arts.
Saturday’s seminar focused on Kenjutsu (sword) practice of the famous Yagyū Shinkage Ryū style, while Sunday the focus was on the Jujutsu (grappling) of the Yagyū Shingan Ryū style. In addition to a few local students, practitioners of these arts were registered for the seminars from all over the GTA, and as far away as Thunder Bay and Mexico.
“It was an honour to host Kajitsuka Sensei and these seminars at our dojo,” says Michael Fisher, owner of Kushindokai. “The styles date back to the days of the Samurai in Japan, from the 1500s, so this is a rare and valuable experience for us to learn from the headmaster of these arts.”
Orangeville resident Douglas Tong, the sword instructor at Kushindokai, organized the headmaster’s visit and seminars. Tong Sensei trained in Japan under several great sword masters and is the only source for this ancient martial arts tradition in North America, running his study group Tokumeikan with classes in Orangeville and the GTA.
“We are grateful to Kajitsuka Sensei for putting on some wonderful seminars,” says Tong Sensei. “Being the headmaster of two famous styles of classical martial arts dating back to the 1500s (23rd generation headmaster of Yagyū Shinkage Ryū, 11th generation headmaster of Yagyū Shingan Ryū) is enough to keep anyone busy. But he is also the Secretary General of the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Classical Martial Arts and Ways, the oldest and largest national association of the classical styles of Japanese budo in Japan. We feel very fortunate that he was gracious enough to take time out of his busy schedule to travel all the way around the world to come and visit our small but growing group, his official keiko-kai (study group) in North America.”