Travel Report from the South American Gasshuku in Cuzco Peru by Sensei Lynne and Daryl of Taki Dojo
From November 1-3, 2018 we had the privilege of traveling to one of our bucket list destinations, Peru, to attend the South American Gasshuku. We were joined by several other Canadians, including Nakamura Sensei, Randy and Neil Hingston from Taki Dojo, Jack Chami from Shudokan Dojo and Jose Hernandez Ulloa from Shishin Dojo.
The well-organized event was hosted by the Chief Instructor of Peru, Kokubo Sensei, and led by Nakamura Sensei. This gasshuku also included training with some of the world’s highest ranked instructors including Sensei Nunes (Spain), Sensei Villa (USA), Sensei Marchant (England), Sensei Tata (Argentina), Sensei Svendsen (Denmark) and Sensei Buchwald (USA).
We arrived in Peru the weekend before the gasshuku in hopes of acclimatizing to Peru as the gasshuku was held in the city of Cuzco at an altitude of almost 3400 metres (11,000 feet) above sea level! Although it undoubtedly helped, we all felt the effects of the altitude to some extent during training with any substantial physical exertion resulting in dizziness and shortness of breath. This was particularly notable on the last day when Kokubo Sensei led us through an intensive, yet incredibly entertaining opening session.
As with any gasshuku, the training is only part of the experience. Our Peruvian hosts graciously treated us to several surprises and events throughout our stay, introducing us to both their culture and local cuisine. We also took the opportunity to tour the countryside and visit several Inca and earlier pre-Inca archeological sites. The Crown Jewel of these visits was, of course, Machu Picchu. Although we’ve seen many pictures of this Inca city in the mountains, being there was an amazing experience which takes your breath away (both figuratively and literally!). How they quarried, transported, cut and fit millions (billions? trillions?) of stones with such incredible precision that even a piece of paper will not fit between them is a mind boggling mystery.
Although Peru has been on our must visit destination list for a long time, this gasshuku provided the excuse and gentle nudge to actually take the plunge and book the trip. The richness of the travel experience to a distant place and different culture was only enhanced by the warm camaraderie of fellow IOGKF karate-ka and highlights why everyone should make the effort to attend a gasshuku in a foreign country. Okinawa in 2019 is a perfect opportunity!
Daryl Dagesse & Lynne Holloway,