Our World

Musto Stories: Emmie Brown in the JKF Championships

The MUSTO team is an active bunch so we were very proud of Emmie Brown, our equestrian marketing manager, who travelled to Japan last month to compete in the Japan Karate Federation (JKF) 36th World Championships.  She wrote to us with her itinerary and let us know how she got on:

14 July – arrived in Tokyo and stayed for a day visiting various souvenir shops and temples

15 July – moved to Kyoto, spend the day seeing various temples

The Sumo World Championships

16 July – travel to Nagoya to watch the Sumo Championships – sneak into Sumo warm up area and get pictures taken with a few sumo and also at the ring side

17 July – visit more temples in Kyoto

18 July – visit the Gion District, see all the main Tea Houses where Geisha entertain, visit the main Geisha Theatre, see a few Geisha.  Then move to Gion High Street to watch the Gion Festival

Geisha girls in Gion

19 July – visit the Ramon Noodle Factory where cup noodles were discovered!  Get to make own pot noodle

20 July – spend whole day (8 hours) traveling up to Omagari, Akita, ready for training

21 July – Seiwakai training begins.  This consists of a 3 ½ hour session, followed by an hour lunch then a 4 hour session. Training is with Taksaki Shihan, head of Seiwakai Goju Kai, 9th Dan (highest grade in Goju Karate), and chairman on board for JKF (Japan Karate Federation).  Also trained with his top student, Fujawara Sensei, Seiwakai 8th Dan.

Training continues until 23 July

24 July – Rest day, spent mainly doing laundry and sleeping.  In the evening we have the Seiwakai Party, this is put on my the heads of Seiwakai and the President of JKF attends.  Mainly consists of all the countries who are training for the 6 days, have a light dinner, drink a lot of alcohol and then do some karaoke while the Japanese laugh at you.  This was followed by a walk back to the hotel in the rain

25 July – training begins again with many suffering very sore heads!  Manage to participate in the first session but a severe fever means I miss the second session.  I am sent back to the hotel with Japanese herbs to rest

26 July – back into training, however a lot of people are starting to drop out of classes from exhaustion and injuries

27 July – 5 hours of more intense training, plus get to practice tournament fighting with their best Japanese kids.  The hall is then cleared of all students and only those attempting Seiwakai gradings are allowed to stay in the hall.  The hall is then locked and all windows sealed so no one can see in

The top 4 presidents from each country stay to judge the gradings, this was Paul Colman Shihan (7th Dan England), Leo Liplinski Shihan (8th Dan England), Vassi Naido Shihan (7th Dan, USA), Fujawara Shihan, Des Tucker Shihan (7th Dan, USA)

We then have to get up individually and perform our graded katas.  Once this is over we then have to get up for the fighting rounds.  As there were only 3 women there I have to fight the other girl going for 1st dan, and then fight another lady going for 4th dan

Later that evening over dinner we were told the results, I had passed my 1st Dan Seiwakai grading!

28 July – travelled for 11 hours to Takamatsu ready for the JKF seminar, grading and competition

JFK Testing Training

29 July – training begins.  This is where Goju clubs from all over the world come to train with the top instructors in Goju.  All clubs are affiliated with the JKF, no one can get a Japanese grade unless it is via this organization

30 July – another 4 hour session.  After this those who are grading are taken to a separate room where again a board of 6 top Japanese instructors are sat behind a table to assess the testing.  Same routine as the Seiwakai grading.  Here I had to fight another girl attempting 1st dan, and a lady attempting 6th dan

After the testing we are sent away for 2 hours while they go over the results of the grading.  We are then called back in.  I am informed that I passed my 1st Dan JKF grade!  I am the only person to attempt both gradings and pass both – a great achievement!  I am also congratulated on my fighting skills as I won both bouts and scored higher marks than even the 5th Dan.  I am also told that I scored full marks across the board by all judges, this was only achieved by me and another guy (only us 2 out of 12 grading)

31 July – competition begins.  Open ceremony starts at 9am.  Only 3 people representing the UK, for which I am one

At 11.30am I go in for the Kata Open Women’s Division.  Managed to come 13th out of 27, top 10 in the class are all Japanese

At 4.30pm I go in for the Kumite (fighting) Over 55kg Women’s Division.  I go up against a tough Japanese lady who dislocates my jaw and the fight is over

Overall result – Japanese take home most of the medals, proving just how good they are!

That night we have the JKF party where we thank the heads for teaching us and organizing the whole event and competition (however due to the jaw I am unable to eat any of the very nice looking food)

1 August – visit the Samurai Sword Villiage

2 July – travel back to Tokyo

3 July – return home

Next year I will go back stronger and more determined.

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