Thread: Honoulu Kyokushinkai
12/04/2006 12:14pm, #1
IKO1 school run by Shihan Bobby Lowe, 8th dan, International Committee Chairman of IKO1, and the oldest direct student of Sosai Masutatsu Oyama. The two met in 1952 when Mas Oyama performed a karate demonstration in Hawaii. The young Bobby Lowe, already ma, was "so awed by master Oyama's power and skill that he requested the honor of training with him. Sosai happily obliged and an enduring friendship of over 40 years commenced.
Mas Oyama soon invited Bobby Lowe to train with him in Tokyo. Bobby Lowe accepted and ended up staying for over a year and a half in effect becoming Mas Oyama's first "Uchi Deshi" apprentice. Training was rigorous; consisting of 2 - 3 hour sessions, 2 - 3 times daily, and in 1953 Sosai awarded Bobby Lowe the rank of Shodan at the "Oyama Dojo", the first international Yudansha in Kyokushin. "
That is the official line and like so much in Kyokushin (read Bluming) may or may not have elements of the truth present. I've actually heard that Oyama did not even do any karate at the time of his first visit and that he was traveling through Hawaii to the mainland where he was wrestling under the name of "Mas Togo." What he did do that impressed Lowe was to bend a quarter in half.
The Honolulu dojo is as a traditional Kyokushin dojo as one could find.
The school is run out of the Kanewai Rec Center where they have a small room. The classes are intense workouts with the standard karate basics, line drills, one on one compliant sd drills, kata (not very much), bag and pad drills, and hard sparring. They have very little or no ground, but clinching techniques, sweeps and throws are practiced.
The school often has visiting bbs from Japan and Shihan holds large seminars (filled with Canadians) sometimes.
The first time I went to work out with the school (mid seventies) they had a good sized dojo and lots of students. I knocked on the door a middle aged Chinese guy looked at me like I was a dead fish and said, "What do you want?" I showed him my membership card from Sensei Griffiths and he brightened right up, ushered me in and said, "Del was the toughest haole I've ever taught!" Then after warmups he found out how tough I was by having me fight every bb, brown and the lone green in a row. Total fun, and I guess I made it because I was invited to partake in the raw fish and beer with the bbs after class. They still continue that tradition, so one had better know how to use chopsticks.
Shihan Lowe, to his credit, has some very good students, my Sensei, Del Griffiths, Ikihara, and others. One large tough haole middle aged guy impressed me a lot and when he changed out of his gi, he changed into a IKO1 World tourney shirt... Competitor's shirt. I should have asked him if he'd lost to Andy Hug.
Now that Shihan is old, no one expects him to spar or work out hard. To his discredit though, I'm now older than he was when I first worked out under him and he wasn't working out hard or sparring back thirty years ago either. But he did develop some great students.
Like so much in Kyokushin, it's so much legend, tall tales, and bullshit mixed with awesome power and great fighting. I first worked out with the Honolulu Dojo during one winter in the Seventies and came back with my family and worked out for a week in 2001. The dojo had changed, smaller, fewer females and mostly bbs. Shihan has organized and kept a school alive for many years and that is to his credit. That the style has become a frozen bible of knowledge is too bad. I asked about one technique that I had been taught in the seventies differently and Shihan got all bent out of shape and said that I was wrong, "Kyokushin has been the same for fifty years!!" You don't argue or tell a man where to sit in his own house, but I know that was total bs. It was different and he must believe his own bs. Oyama and his crew added techniques freely. It is an indictment of the style that now that Oyama is dead, the style can't change or grow.
p.s. Shihan was very impressed with my bb daughter, not so much with me! They wanted her very much to join their school.
Last edited by patfromlogan; 12/04/2006 12:27pm at ."Preparing mentally, the most important thing is, if you aren't doing it for the love of it, then don't do it." - Benny Urquidez