The Gasshuku was held this year in Burlington, Canada, home to the IOGKF Chief Instructor, Nakamura Sensei. Training started on Thursday 7th June, with an hour for black belts followed by a further three hours of training for all grades. The junbi undo session was taken by Bakkies Sensei, 9th Dan, and then we were split into smaller groups according to grade. Training continued over the following three mornings, finishing on Sunday 10th with demonstrations of kata and kakie by all of the course instructors. Bakkies Sensei (South Africa) and Nakamura Sensei were joined by Sensei Gene Villa (USA), Sensei Bobby Smith (Bermuda), Sensei Joe Roses (Australia), Sensei Linda Marchant (England) and Sensei Torben Svendsen (Denmark).
The training was superb, but it was also a chance to catch up with friends made at previous international Gasshuku and make new friends. We are especially grateful to Rob Langgartner for driving up to Toronto to collect us from our hotel. While we waited for our room at the Holiday Inn, the venue for the Gasshuku, Rob took us to the famous JC Bagels, where we were greeted by the owner Jack who insisted on giving us lunch. At the end of the Gasshuku Rob took us back to his house, where we shared a BBQ lunch with his wife, Sensei Adrienne, before taking us back to the airport. We are really grateful for their wonderful hospitality.
As this was our first trip to Canada, we took the opportunity to visit the incredible Rocky Mountains after the Gasshuku. We drove for 5 days from Edmonton to Calgary via Jasper and Banff. Before flying home, we met with another couple of new karate friends, Sensei David Ching (IOGKF Calgary dojo) and his wife Bea. After a trip to a great viewpoint of Calgary city, they treated us to a fabulous Chinese meal close to the airport.
Thanks to all the instructors and organisers of MCF 2018; it was a very special trip for us.