Story and Images by Erich Eichhorn (ISN)

April 20th, 2013 Victoria, BC (ISN) – It was all about demonstrating martial etiquette, discipline, and fighting spirit as the 3rd Annual Victoria Cup Karate Tournament kicked off Saturday morning at the Pacific Institute for Sports Excellence (PISE) in Victoria, BC.

Hosted by the Okinawa Shorin-Ryu Karate Shinkokai and the Yoshukai (meaning “training hall of continued improvement”) Canada Honbu Dojo, the one-day event was an action packed day of traditional martial arts competition in Kata (forms), Kobudo (weaponry), point and full contact fighting. The event, in its 3rd year, was honored with the presence of Japanese dignitaries including Soke Katsuo Yamamoto, 10th degree Grandmaster and the founder of Yoshukai Karate Kobudo Organization, and local karate icon Sensei Mike Puckett.

The tournament was honored with the presence of dignitaries from Japan including Soke Katsuo Yamamoto, 10 dan ( 2nd left ) and Kikuawa Masanbou, 9th dan ( far right ) – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

Before the tournament began, Kikuawa Masanobu, 9th dan black belt, made a surprise presentation to Sensei Puckett, awarding him the rank of 8th degree black belt.

Mike Puckett of Mike’s Noble House of Karate was all smiles after being presented an 8th degree rank from Kikuawa Masanobu, 9th dan – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

With all the humility and respect that any true martial art brings, the day could only begin after a competitor’s oath of sportsmanship was given. The morning competition would see competitors or all ages and ranks compete in kata and weaponry competition. Many martial arts purists consider Kata, defined as a prearranged pattern of techniques against imaginary opponents, as a true test of a karate-ka’s (karate student) metal.

Bernadette Alvarez would be tops in her black belt kata division, demonstrating clean form – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

Competitors young and old”er” would bring their game faces as they show ther best “zanshin” (mental focus) – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

Meant to exemplify the fighting spirit and technique without actually fighting an opponent, kata best demonstrates the heart and soul of the art in the student. When asked about the importance of kata, Sensei Greg Turnbull, tournament organizer, would add,” kata initially will develop your kumite (fighting skills)….. kata is the essence of karate.”

Victoria Cup Karate Tournament was held Saturday at PISE for competitors of all ages. The tournament was hosted by the Yoshukai Canada Dojo – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

Black Belt Scott Zmaeff demontrates his weaponry skills with the nunchuku – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

In sharp contrast to the mornings precise, rhythmic movements, the afternoon would be filled with explosive, body-jarring movements of kicks, strikes and punches found in point and full contact fighting, leaving spectators on the edge of their seats. Impressive was he fact that children and adults alike would not only demonstrate impeccable control, but also demonstrate a high level of leg flexibility and mental focus or “zanshin” in their technique that only comes from careful, knowledgeable senseis that guide their path of instruction.

Both black belt fighters would find themselves in a stalemate with their technique here both would react to block each other’s attack – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

This young female competitor shows who’s boss as she counters with a well-placed front kick – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )

When asked of the longevity of the tournament, Sensei Turnbull envisions the Victoria Cup Karate Tournament to become an international tournament. ” We want to see this become an international event. We want to see people from Japan and Okinawa. We have affiliates in Nepal, India, Greece, Germany and of course the USA,and we want to bring them here. Victoria is a great place, and we have a large concentration of great martial artists on the Island.”