Karate Ontario is recognized by the provincial government (through the Ministry of Health Promotion) as the only sport governing body for karate in Ontario. As such, the organization is responsible for organizing and regulating all aspects of karate within the province.
Members of Karate Ontario have a unique opportunity to compete at the provincial, national and international levels. This is made possible through Karate Ontario’s membership with Karate Canada which, in turn, is the only Canadian organization that is a member of the World Karate Federation as well as the Canadian Olympic Committee. Members wishing to explore other ways to engage in their local karate community can also take advantage of many exciting and rewarding volunteer opportunities.
AKI Canada is a brand new Karate style group in Canada, however the style has been well practiced all over the world since it was established in 1980. Ashihara lineage roots to Sosai Mas Oyama and Kancho Hideyuki Ashihara. After the passing of Kancho Hideyuki Ashihara, the AKI has been headed by Kaicho Hoosain Narker with branch dojo in over 30 countries.
Ashihara Karate International is a separate and distinct system and organisation started and developed by Kaicho Hoosain Narker with the assistance of many Branch Chiefs.
This does not tell the complete story, so a short historical review is in order. On September 2, 1980, Hoosain Narker, together with a few students and others, founded a school of karate based mostly on Kyokushin style technique, but somewhat influenced by his (their) earlier training in Shotokan, Shukokai and TaeKwonDo. This original school was and still is in Retreat, Cape Town, South Africa, then named Oyama Karate Dojo Kyokushinkai and a few years later the move was made to the Ashihara Karate style.
Ashihara Karate International is a modern style, with a new and dynamic approach to training. Although modern, it retains the positive aspects of traditional karate, such as Kata and Kihon and of course, discipline. The Kata’s are all fighting oriented and more importantly, functional. These along with the Kihon are practised in a practical and effective fashion. Due to the fact that Ashihara Karate International is an organisation which has not become bound by traditions, Kaicho Hoosain Narker and members of the Technical Advisory Committee, has been able to take full advantage of the freedom to make changes and improvements. The training methods have been greatly improved and the old style basics have been replaced by training methods in consultation with Sports Scientist, which give better results, in a much shorter time.
Kaicho Narker has more than 40 years experience in Karate and during this time he has travelled to many countries to study under various Masters. He has practised a number of styles and is of the opinion that one cannot make a worthwhile judgement of any style, unless one has had at least some first hand experience of the style in question. All of this experience as well as his involvement in several Macro-Sports Structures as an Administrator, has been put to good use in developing an Organisation, which puts more emphasis on results than on tradition.
In a short space of time, Ashihara Karate International has spread to many other countries, and more and more people are showing interest in joining the Organisation.
Are Japanese karate teachers afraid of imparting the original art of karate to practitioners outside of Japan? Or more to the point, is Japan itself now becoming a major exporter of non-traditional martial arts? Has the time arrived for an abbreviated karate, different in intent and emphasis from that taught by the masters? Is there a need in South Africa for a style taught with pleasant vestiges of traditionalism and a boiled-down number of techniques to make the learning go quicker?
In some ways, of course, South African karate teachers have been asserting and teaching such an approach. In fact, what’s new about the approach taken byHoosain Narker, a Black Belt with more than 40 years of experience andInternational Director for Ashihara Karate, is largely that it is being employed by a martial artist trained and educated primarily in South Africa.
According to Narker, the main concept behind Ashihara Karate is “Karate without Tears.” Narker took pains to point out that his karate does not believe in combating force with force. Instead it believes in capitalising on the opponents strength. “The aim is to punch without being punched”, said Narker smashing his fist against an imaginary opponent after side-stepping the blow. “Never meet an opponent head-on. Always move around him and attack from the side or back where he is the most vulnerable. This way you will avoid injury to yourself.”
In some styles of karate, confrontation with an opponent is a relatively rare occurrence. Not so in the Ashihara Karate schools directed by Hoosain Narker. Indeed, it would seem that the heart of this system is built around the idea of facing at least the simulated hostility of another student.
In explaining how his system differed, he stressed the importance of lateral movement, teaching the student to handle himself at three different ranges, the use of the knees and elbows, use of the legs to block kicks and the importance of punching through the intended target.
Ashihara Karate has been influenced by Aikido evasive techniques and this has lead to the development of Ashihara’s Sabaki principles. Narker stated “That in this style of karate you never come straight in. You angle, get in a position where you can do harm but he cannot”. Some styles do some Tai Sabaki, but with Ashihara total emphasis is placed on it as everything revolves around it. Most combinations, etc. are done by the stepping out or absorbing principles. So important is the concept of angling that the Ashihara logo illustrates it.
The Ashihara reverse punch is another difference to traditional Japanese Karate. With Ashihara stylists, the rear heel is lifted off the floor, for one thing, and the punching shoulder is allowed to rotate towards the target. When you are hitting, you want to punch through the target to penetrate.
You do not, for instance, see a lot of back fists or ridge hands , and certainly no showy blocks. Instead you have the relatively high, short stances of the professional kick boxer – along with the kick boxer’s fondness for elbow and knee strikes. Whilst the Ashihara punches show a clear boxing influence, the style itself prefers a hooking elbow smash to the standard boxing hook.
At close range, the Ashihara style inevitably proceeds towards a take down. And whilst there are a variety of trips and sweeps employed for getting the man down, once he is down he is finished off with punches and stomps. At a medium range, the adept makes use of shorter kicks and longer punches. At long range, the emphasis shifts to roundhouse kicks and evasive and gap closing counters.