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30th Annual Shorinjiryu Shinzen Invitational Shiai - New York

On the 5th Oct 2016, Kyoshi Jim Griffin and Tasshi Tony Fletcher boarded their Virgin Atlantic flight for their first leg to New York city, to attend the 30th Annual Shorinjiryu Shinzen Invitational Shiai. Arriving in Los Angeles that same day, they then caught a Delta Airlines flight to New York City, getting to the "Big Apple" after some 26 hours of flying, layovers and driving, to get to their hotel in Jersey City, New Jersey. After a quick meal in a good old fashion American Diner (the VIP), it was lights out, literally.

Thursday saw a short trip under the river on the subway to the World Trade Centre subway station in the newly built Westfield shopping centre in lower Manhatten. They returned to the hotel to prepare for a nights training at Hanshi Myron Lubitsch Imperial Dragon Hombu Dojo in Brooklyn. Sensei Joey Van Winkle picked them up for the 1 1/2hr drive where they trained for around 3 hours before joining Hanshi Myron, Kyoshi Troy, Kyoshi Vincent, Shihan Al Gonzalez and a host of other students from the Imperial Dragon dojo in a fantastic dinner.

All too soon, Saturday arrived for the start of the tournament. Hanshi Myron and his team excelled in preparing the hall for the 278 Shorinjiryu competitors that came from around the world to compete and celebrate 30 years of the Shinzen tournament. Before the tournament started, a range of promotions and presentations were made to various Karateka. During this time, Kyoshi Jim Griffin presented to Hanshi Myron Lubitsch on behalf of Koshinkai, a wooden plaque made by Shihan Lesley Griffin using her skills in the art of Pyrography.

Kyoshi Jim and Tasshi Tony both entered the tournament competing in Kata and Weapons. After a break of over 30 years from competition and a solid year of practicing his katas, Kyoshi Jim received the 2nd place trophy in kata and 1st place trophy in weapons. Tasshi Tony after a year of practicing his katas, took the 4th place trophy in kata and 2nd place trophy in weapons. Mentionable here is that in the weapons division, Tasshi Tony demonstrated his adaption of Shishiryu no Bo kata using the Eku (Oar). This is the first time the Eku has ever been performed at the Shinzen Shiai. A very respectable achievement for these two gentlemen representing Koshinkai at an international event.

The formal dinner on Saturday night followed where everyone enjoyed the camaraderie, sharing stories, cementing friendships and enjoying the great food. Presentations were made to a range of people during the night recognising their achievements that included Tasshi Tony being presented with an engraved gold cup to celebrate his promotion to Godan (5th Dan) which he did at the Koshinkai National Camp April this year. All in all, an excellent day and night to celebrate this great event in New York.

Sunday and Monday were all about sightseeing including Battery Park, the Stock Exchange on Wall Street, Manhatten, Hells Kitchen and of course a couple of Irish pubs in between where they enjoyed lunch on Monday with Kyoshi Troy. All too soon, it was time to leave and before they knew it, they were on the plane from Los Angeles back to Brisbane. An exciting, eventful and successful trip.

A special thank you goes out to Sensei Joey Van Winkle who selflessly and tirelessly, drove Kyoshi Jim and Tasshi Tony to and from Jersey City to the Hombu Dojo and the tournament. His support and friendship is much appreciated. Thank you Sensei Joey. In addition, a heartfelt thank you to Hanshi Myron for the fabulous dinner on Thursday night and to everyone else that came to the dinner, for their friendship. It makes such a difference when travelling that far from home to be made feel very welcome by our international Shorinjiryu family. To Shihan Lesley for her hard work in producing the wooden plaque and finally to Kyoshi Jim and Tasshi Tony for their time and effort to make this long trip.



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