Shotokan Legacy Seminars III

March 12-16, 2008

Silicon Valley area of northern California, USA

For the third time, over a dozen instructors, all of whom lived and trained in Japan, came together to teach as a collective unit. This event involved 15 instructors teaching a total of 47 seminars over a 5-day period.  Many of the instructors trained directly with Nakayama Sensei prior to his passing in 1987.  Most of these instructors lived in Japan for many years and have gained experiences that may have been invaluable to your own training. The Shotokan Legacy Seminars have set a new standard of excellence for seminars. 

   Pictures from Shotokan Legacy Seminars III

***Order the DVD from the 2004 seminars***

Some of the best instructors from various organizations are coming together from far and wide to carry on a legacy — the legacy of Nakayama Sensei.  From their experience living & training in Japan, these instructors all share one thing: a sense of obligation to pass on their personal insights into karate training.

These seminars involve an extraordinary gathering of non-Japanese Shotokan instructors.
These events are unparalleled within the Karate world.

At Shotokan Legacy Seminars III, some seminar sessions were open to all ranks and ages, some were restricted to just black belt adults.  There were also classes in yoga and breathing that non-martial artists were welcome to attend, as well as a formal Q&A session and plenty of chances to mingle with the instructors.  Some instructors focused exclusively on ideas and training methods they picked up while training in Japan.  Others combined their Japan experience with their own thoughts on training and teaching.

All of the people in the below photo traveled to Japan to further their Shotokan training
(average time in Japan: approximately 3.5 years)

Seminar Schedule & Locations

March 2008 12th
(see map below)
Cubberley Community Center
Gym A & Gym B, Palo Alto
(Friday evening at De Anza)
DeAnza College
Buildings PE1 & PE2,
in main PE complex, Cupertino
8am     Seminar 20
A Hoopes
Seminar 33
M Kadena
Seminar 34
A Hoopes
9am   Seminar 10
A Hoopes
Seminar 21
B Ehling
Seminar 22
V Cruz
Seminar 35
G Friederich
Seminar 36
V Cruz
10am Seminar 3
M Kadena

Seminar 11
B Ehling
Seminar 23
R Amos
Seminar 37
J Peck
Seminar 38
K Yokota
11am Seminar 4
M Berger


Break Seminar 39
M Kadena
Seminar 40
R Amos
12pm   Seminar 24
G Michel

Seminar 25
J Yabe
1pm   Seminar 12
S Ubl

Seminar 26
E Passoja

Seminar 27
S Ubl
2pm   Seminar 13
M Berger
Seminar 28
R Amos
Seminar 41
A Hoopes
Seminar 42
G Friederich
3pm Seminar 5
S Ubl
Formal Q&A session
(no charge to participants)
Seminar 43
F Borda
Seminar 44
S Ubl
4pm Seminar 6
J Yabe
Break Seminar 45
G Michel
Seminar 46
M Berger
5pm   Seminar 14
M Kadena

Seminar 15
A Hoopes
Seminar 47
J Keeling
6pm Seminar 16
J Peck
Seminar 17
J Yabe
Seminar 29
V Cruz

Seminar 30
G Friederich
Closing Remarks
7pm Seminar 1
J Keeling
Seminar 7
F Borda
Seminar 8
M Berger
Seminar 18
E Passoja
Seminar 19
R Amos
Seminar 31
M Berger
Seminar 32
S Ubl
8pm Seminar 2
F Borda
Seminar 9
S Ubl
all ranks and age levels welcome
only green belts and up, all ages, but may be geared more toward adults
only brown belts and up, only adults
only black belt adults


Descriptions of Seminar Sessions 

Wednesday (Miraido Village Clubhouse, San Jose):
Seminar 1: J Keeling – Interpretations: Appreciating different opinions and training methods.
Seminar 2: F Borda – Basics

Thursday (Cubberly Community Center, Palo Alto):
Seminar 3: M Kadena- Stance transition and timing in kumite
Seminar 4: M Berger – Keri-waza, part 1: kicking fundamentals
Seminar 5: S Ubl – Fundamentals:
Seminar 6: J Yabe – Kihon: working on technique and speed, part 1
Seminar 7: F Borda – Basics
Seminar 8: M Berger – Keri-waza, part 2: application of kicking techniques
Seminar 9: S Ubl – Fundamentals:

Friday (morning/afternoon: Cubberly Community Center, Palo Alto; evening: De Anza College, Cupertino; note: $2/car parking fee at De Anza):
Seminar 10: A Hoopes – 10 Zen Qigong & Zen Crane Qigong Form: This is an in-depth class focusing on two Qigong breathing and movement forms. 10 Zen Qigong is a practice to build energy reserves in the body. Zen Crane Qigong is based on White Crane kung-fu and combines dynamic breathing with circular movements.
Seminar 11: B Ehling – “Gravity”: Working on lowering the center-of-gravity, using the force of gravity.
Seminar 12 S Ubl – Fundamentals
Seminar 13: M Berger – Kumite, principles and strategies
Seminar 14: M Kadena – Kihon & kihon kumite *at De Anza location
Seminar 15: A Hoopes – Zen Yoga Breathing and Deep Stretching: Learn effective breathing and stretching techniques for enhancing your karate training. Gain flexibility and suppleness in your muscles through the energized breathing and movement practice of Zen Yoga (non-Karate people welcome). *at De Anza location
Seminar 16: J Peck – Kihon/Kata/Kumite (level appropriate) *at De Anza location
Seminar 17: J Yabe – Kihon: working on technique and speed, part 2 *at De Anza location
Seminar 18: E Passoja – Hip Movement for Maximum Power and Relaxation *at De Anza location
Seminar 19: R Amos – Jiku-ashi (support/pivot leg) training*at De Anza location

Saturday (De Anza College, Cupertino):
Seminar 20: A Hoopes – Zen Kumite: Based on Chinese push-hands training, this is a form of combat and energy movement with the focus on breathing and balance. This is an excellent method of sparring to test your internal power without the risk of injury.
Seminar 21: B Ehling – Gravity II”: using gravity to generate torque
Seminar 22: V Cruz – “Seeing and Direction as a Way into Karate”
Seminar 23: R Amos – Controlling Kumite
Seminar 24: G Michel – Dynamic Hip Rotation to Generate Powerful Waza
Seminar 25: J Yabe – Assessing distance in kumite
Seminar 26: E Passoja- Hip Flow (koshi o nagasu) and Speed
Seminar 27: S Ubl – Fundamentals
Seminar 28: R Amos – Blending Kata with Kumite
Seminar 29: V Cruz – “Ki: Lifeforce of the Universe”
Seminar 30: G Friederich – Timing Drills for Kihon and Kumite
Seminar 31: M Berger (or J Keeling) – Kata (level-appropriate)
Seminar 32: S Ubl – Fundamentals

Sunday (De Anza College, Cupertino):
Seminar 33: M Kadena – Kihon/Kata/Kumite (level appropriate)
Seminar 34: A Hoopes – Flexibility, Splits and Circle Kicking: This is a deep stretching class focusing on hip-opening stretches and leg flexibility. Learn the most effective method for practicing splits and lengthening the muscles of the legs. Circle Kicking is an advanced kicking technique requiring balance, focus and smooth hip rotation.
Seminar 35: G Friederich – “Developing a 6th Sense”
Seminar 36: V Cruz – Kihon: Evaluating Results of Body Mechanisms (the Obata Sensei way)
Seminar 37: J Peck – kihon and kumite drills
Seminar 38: K Yokota – Tenshin: Body rotation. Will include practice of “Meikyo Nidan
Seminar 39: M Kadena (or J Keeling) – Kihon and level-appropriate kata
Seminar 40: R Amos – “Spontaneity”
Seminar 41: A Hoopes – Moving Meditation: This class will begin with an in-depth discussion on Meditation followed by a Tai Chi-based class focusing on the meditative practices of Silk Reeling, Cloud Hands, and Breath Walking (non-Karate people welcome).
Seminar 42: G Friederich – Timing Drills for Kihon and Kumite, part 2 (more advanced version of seminar 31)
Seminar 43: F Borda (or M Kadena) – Basics, Kata and/or Kumite
Seminar 44: S Ubl – Fundamentals
Seminar 45: G Michel – Eating Distance: Powerfully Closing the Gap between You and Your Opponent
Seminar 46: M Berger – Advanced kumite combinations
Seminar 47: M Berger – Anso no Kata

Please note that there will be a formal Q&A session on Saturday, 3-4pmMust be participating in seminars to attend for no charge. There will also be many other opportunities to talk with the instructors and others in attendence about their time in Japan. Also, professional massage will available at different points during the series.

At Cubberley Community Center, we will have our seminars at Gym A and Gym B. These two 7000+ sq ft gyms are next to each other so there should not be any confusion. At De Anza College, we will be in various rooms in the Gym area just north of the swimming pool (seminar locations will be to the right of the pool as you walk in from the parking lot, locker rooms to the left as you walk in). Please note that there is a $2/day parking fee at De Anza.


Listed in order of time first training at the Hoitsugan Dojo and/or with Nakayama Sensei while in Japan:

Vincent Cruz – Cruz Sensei began his Shotokan training in Japan in 1956 while in the US Air Force. In 1959, he was selected to be a Combative Measures Instructor for the Strategic Air Command (SAC) through which he trained directly with Senseis Nishiyama and Obata, among others. Cruz Sensei founded International San Ten Karate Association and has written 2 books about Shotokan.

Gary Friederich – Friederich Sensei was the first westerner allowed to join the elite JKA Instructors’ Training Program in Tokyo. He had also trained at Takushoku, Komazawa, and Toritsu Universities and competed in the 1965 and 1966 JKA All-Japans as the only representative of the USA. Although he may not be a very well-known name in most Shotokan circles, it is worth noting that he was mentioned several times in both CW Nicol’s ‘Moving Zen’ and Stan Schmidt’s ‘Spirit of the Empty Hand.’ Friederich Sensei has been chief instructor for the Nevada Karate Association, for the past 42 years.Please note that assisting with instruction of Friederich Sensei’s sessions will be the legendary Shapoff (Bob) Sensei, a very successful competitor in the 1960’s-70’s.

James Yabe – Yabe Sensei’s training with Nakayama Sensei in Japan pre-dates the Hoitsugan’s founding.  He lived and trained in Japan in the 1960’s, having been involved in karate since the 1950’s.  His tournament success in the US in the 1960’s and 1970’s is well-known.  He teaches in Torrance, California, at the ASKC dojo there.

Steve Ubl – The first Hoitsugan resident, from 1972, Ubl Sensei also trained at the Hoitsugan later in the 1970’s.  A very personal student of the late Nakayama Sensei, from whom he learned some things not taught to more than a handful of the top Shotokan instructors.  Considered by many of the most highly-regarded Shotokan instructors as the ultimate “teachers’ teacher,” Ubl Sensei operates a dojo in Rancho Santa Fe, California and is the Technical Director for the WTKO.

Kousaku Yokota – Yokota Sensei began his training in Japan in 1960. He moved to the US and was Okazaki Sensei’s right-hand-man for most of the 1970’s. He moved back to Japan in the early 1980’s to further his training, spending a brief time training at the Hoitsugan and spending 2 years training with his orginal instructor (Sugano Sensei) in Hyogo prefecture. Yokota Sensei is currently the Chairman of JKS Americas region and teaches at his dojo in San Jose, California, not far from the Hoitsugan Seminars III venues.

Michael Berger – Berger Sensei trained in Japan for several years in the 1980s & 1990s, beginning in 1983.  While there, he trained at multiple locations, including both Takushoku and Komazawa Universities.  He has placed in numerous tournaments in the US and Japan in both JKA and mixed-style events and produced several books and video’s.  Currently teaches in the Los Angeles area: Mr Berger was one of the organizers for Hoitsugan Seminars II, in 2005.

Jon Keeling – Keeling Sensei lived at the Hoitsugan Sep 1985 to July 1988, July-Aug 1990 and for a few other short stays.  He lived in Tokyo for a total of 8 years and for a few years taught most of the Saturday classes at the Hoitsugan.  On Hoitsugan kata teams that placed 3rd, 2nd and 1st in different years at the JKA All-Tokyo Championships.  Chief Instructor, JKA of Silicon Valley.  Was organizer of1st Hoitsugan Seminars in northern California in 2004 and this one in 2008 as well.

Bob Ehling – Lived and trained in Tokyo in the late 1980’s to early 1990’s.  Ehling Sensei previously trained with Yokota Sensei (above) and now trains under Field Sensei (another Hoitsugan alumni) in Santa Monica, California, where he sometimes helps teach classes at JKA of Santa Monica.

Glen Michel – Trained at the JKA Honbu, the Hoitsugan, and Seto Juku from 1987 to 1991. In the US, he has trained with Field Sensei in Santa Monica, California and with Yabe Sensei in Torrance, California. Presently, he is Assistant Instructor with Michael Berger (see above). Mr. Michel was one of the organizers for Hoitsugan Seminars II in 2005.

Jeremy Peck – Peck Sensei lived at the Hoitsugan 1987-88 and July-Sep 1990.  He spent an additional year+ living and training in Japan prior to staying at the Hoitsugan and during that time trained regularly at the Aoyama Gakuin University dojo.  On Hoitsugan kata team that placed 2nd and 1st in 1987 and 1988 in the JKA All-Tokyo Championships. Presently teaches at University of California Santa Cruz and in Monterey, California.

Aaron Hoopes – Trained at the Hoitsugan 1987-1989, where he was a member of the dojo teams competing in All-Tokyo tournaments. Was also living and training in Japan for an additional 2 years.  Author of 3 books and many articles relating to martial arts and yoga. Instructor of Tai Chi and Zen Yoga in addition to Karate.

Richard Amos – Lived in Japan for 9 years from 1989 to 1998, having been a Hoitsugan member Jan 1989 to Sep 1990.  On the Hoitsugan kumite team (along with Rene Vildosola and Leon Montoya) which placed 1st in the All-Tokyo tournament in 1989, winning all rounds 3-to-0.  That same year, he was on the Hoitsugan kata team (along with Rene Vildosola and Rai Wibawa) that placed 2nd in the All-Japans.  Graduate of the Asai-JKA Instructors’ Course in Tokyo.  Placed in finals of the Asai-JKA All-Japans and World Championships on numerous occasions. Amos Sensei teaches at his dojo in New York and is also Chief Instructor for the WTKO.

Erik Passoja – Trained at the Hoitsugan in 1989.  Presently trains under Field Sensei (another Hoitsugan alumni) in Santa Monica, California, where he teaches classes at JKA of Santa Monica.

Fred Borda – Trained at the Hoitsugan 1991-94.  Instructor at JKA of Silicon Valley.

Mario Kadena – Trained at the Hoitsugan a total of six times during the 1991 and 2001, for several months each time.  Kadena Sensei teaches at his dojo in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and has been doing Shotokan for over 35 years.

Some words from those unable to make it:

Thank once again for the information regarding the (Shotokan Legacy) Seminars. I can see they are growing each year, and attracting a group of people that have between them a wealth of experience which they are happy to share. I regret that I shall not be able to join you for the next group of seminars, but I hope that I can take part in the future. I am sure it will, once again, be successful, and all those who attend, whether instructing or training, will gain a lot from the experience. Best regards to all.
Dave Hooper
Tokyo, Japan

I had every intention of attending (Shotokan Legacy) Seminars III. But due to bussiness developments that have arisen I will not be able to make it this time. However I hope that I will be able to come over for the next event and look forward to meeting you all then.

Best regards
Nigel Jackson
Johannesburg, South Africa

I am really happy to hear that so many of you are together in this project and that are doing well and training…continuing the legacy of our great teacher Masatoshi Nakayama, whom I value more each day. I am unable to attend due to my heavy schedule. I am still training hard like in the old days. I wish you the best in your endeavors. My very best to you all.

Rene Vildosola
Santiago, Chile

*Please note: Many other Hoitsugan alumni and others who have trained in Japan, as well as other senior karateka, will be present for training but not teaching, or just stopping by for the reunion aspect of the event. 

The Hoitsugan Dojo was set up in 1972 by the late JKA Chief Instructor Nakayama Sensei (with the help of Kanazawa Sensei, now head of SKIF) for people coming to Tokyo from around the world to train. It is located just around the corner from where the Honbu Dojo had been for 2+ decades, in Ebisu-Nishi, Tokyo, Japan. 

About the Hoitsugan Dojo