Top Okinawan-style martial arts festival mulled for 2015
An international karate event could bring hundreds of martial artists to Bermuda in 2015, according to Bob Smith of the Academy of Martial Arts.
The annual Miyagi Chojun Martial Arts Festival will be hosted by Bermuda in two years following on years of work, he said.
“For years, whenever I travel to these events, people always ask when we are going to be doing it in Bermuda,” Mr Smith said. “Now I can tell them in 2015, it’s on.
“It’s a major undertaking. We are going to be looking for sponsors and organising with hotels. There’s a lot of work coming up, but I have a great student body that will be helping me with it.
“This has been a few years in the work. I’m elated.”
Mr Smith, a sixth degree black belt in Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate, said he attended the first Miyagi Chojun Festival in San Diego in 1989.
Named after the creator of Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate, the event is held in different countries every year, usually drawing around 400 martial artists.
This year’s event is scheduled to take place in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, with Mr Smith selected as one of the instructors.
“I am honoured to have been selected as one of the instructors, and a group of my students will also be attending,” he said. “My seminar is going to be on self-defence, and it’s going to be open to the public.
“My own instructor from Okinawa, Japan, is going to be the head instructor of the event.
“He’s one of the most respected martial artists in the world. He’s considered a national treasure in Okinawa. To be selected alongside him was really quite an honour.”
Mr Smith said he first started training in the martial arts as a teenager after he moved with his parents from Bermuda to New York.
“Living in New York was a traumatic experience and I had to deal with all sorts of bullying and racial issues,” Mr Smith said. “I realised right away that I needed something.
“I have now travelled the world because of martial arts. I have been almost everywhere. I’m stronger mentally and physically, and I have met friends from around the world.”
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