Fall 2014 Ranking

The Fall ranking has been scheduled for Saturday, November 8, 2014. The ranking will take place during the normal class time at the Devon Dojo from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Students who are not ranking are still welcome to participate as a normal workout.

Details on the Ranking Requirements can be found here.

The ranking fee is $75 payable by cash or cheque to the Alberta Shito Ryu Karate Association.

Please discuss with your Sensei if you are interested in ranking to get more information.


Is Karate Mysterious? Are there “Hidden Secrets” revealed only by Karate Masters?

The answer is “No” and “Yes”. There are dozens of techniques to be learned, but when explained and demonstrated by the Instructors each seems simple. It is not hard to practice a technique and become faster and more powerful with it as the weeks pass. If karate had been developed as a sport (like boxing) or even as combat against a single serious opponent (as in the Roman gladiatorial arena) that might be enough.

But karate was developed for a desperate fight against odds. The opponent was armed, or much bigger, or there were several opponents. How will you train for such impossible situations?

The answer is “Kata.” The secrets of karate are hidden in these beautiful compositions of lethal movement- the five Pinan, the three Naifunchi,Bassai-Dai, Sanchin, and many others. Most of them are several centuries old; all are the works of Okinawa.

Like other classic works of art, the real karateka learns and practices kata with respect. Kata can be done alone or in a group and they cannot be repeated too often. Even after thousands of repetitions, the karateka keeps discovering new things in them: facts about attacking and retreating, turning and weight-shifting, balance, stance, breathing, the rhythms of speed and power, the problems of concentration and relaxation. These are the many aspects of serious combat which are the real “secrets.”

New Kata are taught at each belt level, and they become increasingly complex and interesting. Kata performance is one of the main criteria for promotion. More advanced students are strictly forbidden to teach their Kata to the less advanced.

Fall 2014 Class Start Dates

As we excitedly prepare for another karate season, please note the dates below for the first classes for Fall 2014:

St. Albert Dojo

Classes in St. Albert will commence September 20, 2014 (Saturdays, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. and Tuesdays 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.) at Wildrose Elementary School.  For full details click here.

Greenfield Dojo (Edmonton)

Classes at the Greenfield dojo will start September 17, 2014 (Wednesdays from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.) at Greenfield Community League.  For full details click here.

Devon Dojo

The Devon dojo will begin classes September 16, 2014 (Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and Tuesdays 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.) at Riverview Elementary.  For full details click here.

Calgary Dojo

Classes in Calgary have been started by one of long term members, David Martin, 4th Dan Karate, 2nd Dan Kobudo. At this time David is teaching out of the basement of his home and will take new students on a one by one basis. Please check back on this site for further info as it becomes available. At this time we don’t have a start-up date when the classes commence.

Directions to the Dojo

(My Life for the past 40 years)

September 1, 2014

On September 19th, Alberta Shito-Ryu Itosu-Kai celebrates its 35th anniversary.  That was the first date that our style of karate was taught in the Edmonton area in 1979.  I remember it like yesterday, nervous energy coupled with a missionary zeal to impart what little martial arts knowledge I had picked up under Shihan Kei Tsumura in the preceding years.

That first class was taught (in jeans and a T-shirt) to a group of what was to become our first wave of “lifers”.  Mario DiLullo was one (now a 5th Dan Karate).  Not knowing any better, I had found a sponsoring community group (Londonderry Community League) that arranged for us to practice in the brand new Lion’s Senior Citizens Centre in NE Edmonton.  Ads were placed with Edmonton Parks and Recreation and the first batch of Shito-Ryu Karate-ka were launched into the beginnings of what was to become the Alberta Shito-Ryu Itosu-Kai Karate and Kobudo Association.

2014 is an auspicious year in many ways, not the least of which saw milestones for many of us that have “grown up” practicing Itosu Ryu.

  • Tony Baller, a 30-plus year fellow instructor attained the exalted rank of 5th Dan (Godan) in Kobudo.  Along with his Godan in Karate his devotion to the traditions and history of Shito Ryu Itosu Kai put him in a rare position of being recognized worldwide in traditional Karate.
  • August 30, 2014 saw the marriage of one of our trio of Molina brothers.  They all started their respective Karate careers at the tender age of 7, spaced one year apart. Juan married the love of his life, Felicia.  His wedding was attended by his brothers, sister, parents, close friends and co-workers.   2013 was also a special year when the youngest of the 3 brothers, Ernesto, married Brittny Wangler, also one of our Black Belts. Both weddings were attended by a strong contingent of fellow instructors and students from the Devon club. Like two proud Uncles, Tony Baller and I were there.
  • September 19 will be the 35th Anniversary of teaching Shito-Ryu Karate in Alberta.  In all that time we have taught literally thousands of students, seen people from every walk of life, and made some life-long friendships that are more like family.  In 35 years we have taught Karate to people who have traveled the world and practiced Shito Ryu Itosu Kai in places as diverse as Ireland, England, South America, Hawaii, Central America, all over North America coast to coast, Japan, and Australia.  There are few hobbies that can say that.

It’s easy to wax a bit profane when you are reflecting on a life-long journey filled with positives.  There were some negatives as well but through it all Karate provided a haven that allowed me to refocus and collect the energy needed to greet the day.  As I enter my 60th year I am thankful for the part Karate has played in my life.  I am grateful for the life-long friendships that have evolved and continue to this day.  I am most grateful for my lifelong relationship with my Sensei, Shihan Kei Tsumura, 8th Dan, and his family.  I am thankful for all of it.  I hope those of you that follow will find Shito Ryu Karate and forge new paths.  Welcome to our family and thank you for almost 40 years of family and friends and yes, fun.

Yours in Karate-Do,

Joe B. Barrau, Rokudan (6th Dan) Karate, Godan(5th Dan) Kobudo

Chief Instructor, Alberta Shitoryu Itosu Kai Karate & Kobudo