Shinbun - Feb '04

(shinbun means newspaper in Japanese)

SINCE 2003

No.2                                             FEBRUARY 2004


As I said in the notice I handed out last week, communications with New International Ashihara Karate in Japan had broken down since the death of Kancho Hideyuki Ashihara in 1995.

This is why we have joined Kaicho Hoosain Narkerís Ashihara Karate International (AKI) Organisation. I have been in contacted with Kaicho for about 2 years.  The big news is that Kaicho Narker is coming to Australia in time for the June gradings this year

This is a very exciting event to have the head of our style come and train with us. Kaicho is a very experienced martial artist, he has travelled the world teaching and running seminars on Ashihara Karate.

I was very lucky to have been able to train with and be graded by the late Kancho Ashihara back in 1989 in Japan, that was a high point in my life, as I know training and being graded by Kaicho Hoosain Narker will be a high point in the life of every one at the Geelong Dojo in 2004.

So I hope every one trains hard and works on their basics, kata, and sabaki, so we all look sharp for when Kaicho gets here.

Grading results Dec 2003


Dylan Kayler Thomson brown belt
Laird Johnstone          brown belt
Luke Bryant                blue belt
Scott Wagstaff           blue belt
Nathan Read              2nd red belt
Robert Ilsley              2nd red belt
Chris Bradford             2nd red belt
Ross Hill                    2nd red belt
Ben Bliss                    2nd red belt
Matthew Read           2nd red belt
Blake Tonkin               2nd red belt
Luke VanKruijsbergen   2nd red belt


Andrew Abbott        2nd yellow
Jordan Carroll         2nd blue belt
Bradley Cousins      blue belt
Daniel Stirling          2nd red belt
Rachel Vollebregt    2nd red belt
Jessi Vollebregt       2nd red belt
Leisha Vollebregt    2nd red belt
Melissa Ilsley         orange belt
Erin Cleary              orange belt
Ben Gauci              orange belt
Achyuta Ellis          orange belt
Jack Haywood Day   orange belt
Ben Tipping            orange belt

Best attendance awards

  • Erin Cleary
  • Laird Johnstone
  • Luke Bryant
  • Dylan kayler Thomson
  • Scott Wagstaff

Congratulations must go to these students. all have 100% attendance. this is a great achievement and must not go unnoticed.

This is a great show of budo spirit and  support for our school. Thank you from Geelong Ashihara. Osu.

Sensei - do you have what it takes

For every ten thousand students that join a karate class, half will drop out the first month. Of that five thousand, half will remain through the second month. Of those remaining students, one thousand will complete six months of training and then quit. Five hundred will study for a year, but only one hundred will see their second anniversary. Three will make first dan black belt, but only one will go on to teach others what he/she has learned. For karate is now part of his/her life, and he/she shall go on to share this life with others. This person is a SENSEI! Think about it - could you be one in ten thousand.


The word Osu is taken from the saying ďOsu no SeishinĒ which means to persevere whilst being pushed, to endure, etc. Osu is made up of two characters. The second character conveys the idea of Shinobu, patience. The first character means to keep, or to maintain. Therefore, Osu can also mean to be patient, in this context. The Japanese spirit is one of perseverance. Whereas it is easy for the untrained person to stop when things get tough, traditionally the serious budoka knows only that they must persevere even whilst pushed. It implies a willingness to persevere under any kind of pressure.

The aim of the budoka is to manifest in him/herself the Spirit of Osu. It is the means by which he or she can purify his/her character. There is no other way. One cannot achieve depth of character by relying on natural talents, on education, or luck. One must face trials to gain in strength and wisdom. One must be prepared to fight on in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds. Even those people who do not pursue a Martial Art, yet achieves greatness in life, manifest the qualities of a warrior, the qualities of Osu, by being prepared to look trials squarely in the face and never bow to the weight of adversity. Osu Shinobu implies a willingness to push oneself to the limits of endurance, to persevere under any kind of pressure. This strength of character develops with hard training.

Each time we use the word Osu we should be reminding ourselves to have patience, or Shinobu. It is very easy to allow ourselves to lose patience. When the weather is hot and uncomfortable, some students arrive at the dojo feeling irritated; it is very easy to say to ourselves, "Today, I have no patience because I'm feeling uncomfortable and pressured." Then, we allow ourselves to treat our fellows with disrespect. This is wrong, and we say Osu to remind ourselves that we should not let this happen.

Patience applies to the correct concept of training, the one that we want all our students to follow. The purpose of karate training is to train the body - to make it strong and powerful. This is not approached in isolation. The body is trained by training the mind. When the mind and body are strong, this leads to a unification that produces a strong spirit, which is the real goal of karate training. A strong spirit produces a harmonious individual. Achieving this goal, through the right training, requires patience. Each time we say Osu we are reaffirming our determination to achieve the real purpose of karate.

It is common to hear people talk about chance in life. Some people complain about the lack of opportunity and feel sorry for themselves, while others wait passively for the right chance or opportunity. We do not want our students to wait for opportunity or chance in their lives. If we are patient and strong, we shall perceive many more chances and opportunities than we ever did before, and we should take these. This applies to all our students, those who are scholars, teachers, labourers, nurses, or other specialists. If we are patient, we can better assess what life is offering us. Many times, opportunities to advance and grow are offered to us, but we turn them down, not recognising them for what they are.

Be patient with yourself and others.. Let yourself grow and develop, and allow your training to have time to take effect. Remind yourself of these ideas constantly. Each time that you greet your Sensei, your Senpai, your seniors and your fellow students with Osu, remember that there is a message there for you.


In a traditional Japanese Dojo there exists a very special relationship known as the Senpai-Kohai (juniors and seniors) system. When you begin your education in a dojo, those already training there are your seniors, your Senpai. Those who come after you are your Kohai , your juniors, and so it remains, regardless of rank, age or experience. Since everyone has a relationship to those above or below him, this system keeps things moving in an orderly manner. It employs a method called ON-GIRI (debt, duty or obligation). The junior has a certain debt which he owes his seniors by virtue of their willingness to pass on what they have learned. The senior in turn has a duty to his Sensei and dojo to bring his junior up through the ranks as a big brother would a little brother (whether Ďbrotherí is either male or female). By being your senior, by helping you, kicking you when you are lazy, by acting as an advisor, coach and confidant, the Senpai assumes a tremendous responsibility. The Kohai who has been tutored and taken care of by his Senpai becomes an ONJIN, a person under obligation, and as old Japanese adage goes, ď Life and death are light as a feather, but obligation, obligation is heavy as a mountain.Ē.

The Master Instructor or System Head, is responsible for teaching the Sensei (even though his students may also receive instruction during seminars and clinics).The Sensei is responsible for disseminating information to the seniors of the dojo, even though many of the juniors profit from his/her instruction. But it is the seniorsí responsibility to tutor the juniors along and help whenever possible. Often the instruction is not as formal as the Senseiís, rather it is given by example. Just as every Sensei has his/her specific method of passing on a style, every senior student unconsciously develops a favoured method for helping Sensei do so. These methods become like a dojo sub-style. When a visitor from another dojo settles in, he may have a few lessons to teach himself, or he may have a few to receive depending on where he falls in the senpai-kohai relationship.

Based upon the deep respect for loyalty and obligation that characterised old Japan, the Senpai-Kohai relationship is one that often extends throughout the lives of those involved in it. It is a convention that allows a Kohai to begin to develop the attitudes of helpfulness and leadership that are necessary for mastery and so in a reciprocal way the lives of the Senpai and Kohai are bettered.

At times, the Senpai-Kohai system may seem difficult. For the junior it may seem that his movements are criticised. Even outside the dojo he finds his behaviour under the watchful eye of a senior who is quick to chasten. In spite of its apparent drawbacks, it really works rather well.

If you are beginner in the martial arts, remember that and listen carefully to the advice of your Senpai. Their experience is hard won. If you are a more advanced student, keep in mind that training is only a part of your purpose in the dojo. There are Kohai in need of your guidance and it is up to you to set the example.  


Well itís the start of a new year, and a good one I hope for the Geelong Ashihara school. We are looking healthy due to all the new students that started last year and a few that started this year.

Its going to be a big year for us with Kaicho coming out and sempai Kris getting ready to grade for his shodan black belt in June.

Ashihara is a tough & physically demanding style of Karate, and when someone is due to try for their black belt it is a rare and exciting occasion, we donít just give black belts away in Ashihara Karate, black belts are very hard to get in this style of Karate.

But as we all know, things that are hard to get are more satisfying when we do achieve them. Black belt is a great goal, but its not the end, it is just the start of our journey.

So lets all enjoy our journey through the various colored belts, and feel good about ourselves as we achieve our goals one at a time.

Remember K.I.S.S. , keep it simple stupid.


Sensei Mark.

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