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

30 Years of Dojo Kun

September 15, 2009 marks the 30th anniversary of teaching Itosu Ryu Karate in Alberta. It is a milestone in more ways than one and definitely time for some introspection. When I started the club in Edmonton at the bequest of Tsumura Shihan all I wanted was a place to continue working out. After training in Toronto with Shihan, I wanted to continue our brand of Karate in Edmonton somehow. Anyone that has tried to train alone knows how hard it is and unless you’re a special person, almost impossible. It took me 9 months to research how the martial arts worked in Edmonton, which club (s) was legit, did I really want to start my own thing and the list goes on and on. Needless to say none of them represented to me what I had come to expect so the Edmonton club was started; simple as that with the Londonderry Community League.

One of the things that drew me to Karate and in particular our style of Karate was the man leading the club in Toronto. From the first time I met him and right up to today he has represented to me the epitome of all a martial artist should be; calm, cool, in control and most importantly humble. He was always expounding on martial art philosophy, he read voraciously and held forth on a variety of subjects. I learned a lot from him and still do to this day.

One area that he taught me way back when and recently re-introduced is “Dojo Kun”. If you’re asking, “what is that?” you obviously haven’t read the back of your Itosu Kai membership card. You need to do so now. I am referring to that little blurb on the back that is clearly marked “Dojo Precepts”. They are quite simple words to live by inside and out side the dojo.

One, to value respect and courtesy,

One, to be revered through possession of a moral heart,

One, to refrain from intemperate speech or action,

One, to mutually trust and complement,

One, to never relinquish the spirit of the ultimate path

They are all “numbered” as one because none is more important than the next or the preceding. The words hold forth whether you are in a dojo or out and if you truly read them you will find meaning and strength from the words. The precept that stands out for me is the third “One, to refrain form intemperate speech or action”. As our economy falters, jobs lost and families effected, we have the unique opportunity to be a haven in all of this chaos and offer a modicum of civility, courtesy and mutual respect that isn’t always present in our lives today. Let’s try and remember that everyone comes to Karate for different personal reasons and not all are there to practice till they drop, train so hard that human frailty is forgotten and injuries occur, and most importantly go home feeling worse than when they arrived. Injuries are a fact of life in any percussive activity and no one is immune to them, but injuries that are caused by a fellow Karate-Ka in anger or in frustration is not in keeping with our precepts.

Back in 1979 when we started there was no need to carry liability insurance. We were a non-profit club and while we practiced under the umbrella of a Community League, we did not need it. In recent years due to numerous incidents in other martial arts, pugilistic and organized sports we now have to carry a multi-million dollar insurance policy to carry on our activities. It is not a “license” to train harder or injure other students because they signed a waiver form. It’s very important we all recognize the risk and the responsibility we carry as students and instructors of a legitimate martial art. Read the Dojo Precepts. It’s simple, easy to read and it works. We read it at every class. I encourage you to do the same.

Yours in Karate-Do

Joe Barrau, Chief Instructor,

Godan-Karate, Yondan-Kobudo

Alberta Shito Ryu Itosu Kai Karate