Kyokushin karate is a way of life for Shihan dojo master Terry Price, a good life that he wants to share.
“I want people to know about this,” he said. “Karate begins and ends with courtesy and a sense of community. It builds strong character and gives self confidence. I see people, from children to seniors, benefiting from it at whatever age they begin.”
He started Kyokushin karate 35 years ago and is still learning even after earning a fifth degree black belt, among the highest ranked in Canada, and teaching for years. He was head instructor at the Richmond Kyokushan Karate Dojo for 15 years, instructor in Salmon Arm from 1986 to 1989 and was with the Armstrong Club, coming to the Vernon Kyokushin Club in the fall of 2015.
The Vernon club celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2016 and is one of the oldest clubs in Canada
Kyokushin karate developed in Japan about 1900, drawing on a variety of martial art traditions.
“Kyokushin karate is alive and progressive. It’s always changing and the change is for the better as we develop ourselves to have more potential and challenge ourselves. There is always something new and it is always exciting to train and teach,” said Price, who, like all the instructors at the club, volunteers his time and expertise.
“It is considered a hard style which means the training is more energetic and there is physical contact. It is one of the hardest things for people to use contact but we are prepared for it and any kind of injury is very rare. People can start as beginners at any age and progress to the level they want to accomplish as a personal goal.”
He’s pleased with the students who come to the club with a variety of reasons, for improved personal health or to go on to earn higher levels, and with the the success that each student achieves.
“I had one older student who couldn’t bend over and his first goal was to be flexible enough to put his socks on. He was able to do that after a few weeks. That was how he started. Another man came in his early 60s overweight and unable to do a whole class. He persevered and by the time he was 70, he had a flat stomach and was in great physical shape, as healthy as a 50-year-old.
“I like to teach seniors because they need the flexibility and fitness benefits. We break it into small goals to encourage people to do their best. They surprise themselves.”
Price said karate also has mental benefits because memorizing the patterns improves the memory and mind-body connection. Students also practise Zen meditation.
“It is so good for people in so many ways. We keep the fees low to just cover rental and club equipment. The average student can start with a uniform and set of pads for under $100. This is something that people can practise anywhere, anytime, indoors or outdoors. Even mental practice is beneficial when physical practice is not possible for any reason.”
The Vernon Kyokushin Karate Club is part of the Kyokushin Karate international organization which has millions of members in more than 120 countries. People can got to tournaments at the local, provincial, national and international levels. They can also attend training around the world and the club brings in high level instructors locally.
Price has been to tournaments and training in Japan and around the world.
“I have friends from Japan, Russia, Australia and Africa. It’s a world-wide family.”
The Vernon Kyokushin Karate Club will be holding demonstrations and special training sessions throughout the year to celebrate its 50th anniversary.
The Vernon Kyokushin Karate Club meets Mondays and Thursdays from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Grande Room at Kal Tire Place. It is open to men and women of all ages and families. For more information contact Price at Tprice004@live.ca.