"Congratulations to Ilan Goldfarb on his promotion to Sho-Dan (1st Degree Black Belt). He did an outstanding job! In the past, people going up for Sho-Dan have had to fight a minimum of 10 fights and that number increased with each promotion. But times have changed, people have changed, and the harshness in the fighting during promotion has dissipated somewhat. But Ilan did his testing the old-fashioned way; 15 fights without any pads.
During his 3rd fight, I could tell he had damaged his right hand (ended up being broken) and couldn’t really use it. But he never stopped or showed any weakness. He just kept going and fighting as hard as he could. Aside from his fighting, his Katas were also really impressive.
When students learn Katas initially, they do 1 technique per 1 breath. Once they have the basic movements, the next step is to make the Kata their own by changing the timing, power and speed just as they would during a real fight. That point is where Kata and Kumite become truly connected. Ilan’s performance of Kata reflected all of the time and energy he had devoted to training. Everyone, including me (and I think Saiko Shihan, too) was really impressed with him and are proud of how well he did."
--Sensei Karl Julian
2019 Clinic/Promotion Test
St. Petersburg, RUSSIA
On May 17 - 19, 2019 Saiko Shihan travelled to St. Petersburg, Russia to conduct training clinics and promotion tests. Shihan Viacheslav Karius, Branch Chief of Russia, was also awarded 6th Dan at this time! The visit was a great success. Sensei Andrey Kondratyk, Branch Chief of Estonia, was also in attendance.
Accompanying Saiko Shihan on the trip were: Shihan Takeshi Saito (San Francisco), Sensei Motoi Fukunishi (San Jose), Sensei Naoi Yasutaka (Tokyo) and Senpai Chase Harps (Atlanta). Below are some reports of the trip from those who were present.
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