Sponsored Parachute Jump for Kitty

A message from Sensei Gary Allen

A few of you from our Abbots Langley club will know Kitty. For those who do not, unfortunately a few days before her 7th Birthday she was diagnosed with Nephrotic Syndrome.

For Kitty I am arranging a sponsored parachute jump. The height I will be jumping from is around 13,000 feet or about 2.4 miles, and it will take place on August 27th in Beccles, Suffolk.

From the jump company website:

You will fall at about 120 mph, descending to 5,000 feet in around 40 seconds

Monies raised will be going to NeST, The Nephrotic Syndrome Trust.

The sponsor forms are with your instructor.  You can also sponsor me online on my JustGiving page.

Fund raising has gone well so far and thank you to everyone that has sponsored so far.

The message below is from Kitty’s Mum and Dad.

Gary and the team at Minakami Bushido Karate have blown us away with their amazingly brave idea to do a sponsored parachute jump and raise money for the NeST charity, for which our Kitty is associated with… Please, please sponsor them, and help Kitty and the other children out there with Nephrotic Syndrome / Kidney Disease.

Kitty has been with the Abbots Langley Dojo since she was 4, and loves her karate. Those that know her will have noticed she’s not been around much as sadly a couple of days before her 7th birthday she was diagnosed with Nephrotic Syndrome, the cause of which is unknown.

NeST is the Nephrotic Syndrome Trust, that funds research completed by Bristol University Hospital in to all forms of NS, they work closely with centres around the world and provide much needed support for the patients and families. Because it is a rare disease, and ultimately not enough people die from NS, there isn’t much in the way of NHS funding or drug company research. Most of the treatments out there are happy accidents from drugs used to treat other auto immune diseases like arthritis. In NS the immune system attacks the kidneys, Kitty’s has failed to respond to standard treatments, so we took her to Great Ormond Street, who performed a biopsy on her kidney which showed she has a rare aggressive form of NS, called Focal Segmental Glomeruli Sclerosis (FSGS). FSGS is sometimes treatable, but not curable, it is a chronic disease and ultimately unless the right treatment can be found, it will lead to kidney failure. That may not be the end, because the underlying cause is unknown the FSGS can come back in the transplanted kidney sometimes within hours.

Kitty has had to take a range of really foul medicines and chemo for 8 months trying to put her in to remission, none of which have worked yet, and have left her with virtually no immune system. Chicken pox can land her in hospital for weeks, and worse, but we are hopeful that by funding research a cause and ultimately a cure can be found.

As a parent, this isn’t the rosy happy future we envisioned for Kitty, and the sadness felt at the loss of all she could have become and done, if not for this vicious and painful disease is devastating. Literally Kitty is one in a million.

Lets hope that Gary can complete one Kata in free-fall – Good Luck.

Thank you. Chris & Debbie

Photos from the Hollywood Glitz & Glam Evening

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Shihan Akio Minakami Interview

Image of Akio Minakami

Shihan Akio Minakami

Akio Minakami Interview


Shihan Akio Minakami Profile

Image of Akio Minakami

Shihan Akio Minakami

Born and raised in Tokyo, Akio Minakami began his formal martial arts training at age 7 under the 9th Degree Kodokan Judo Black Belt, Takagi Sensei. Minakami moved to the United States in 1967. He won 5 Gold Medals at the 1974 All Japan Karate Championships.

In 1983 Minakami received his Shihan Certificate (6th Degree Black Belt) from the governing body for karate in Japan, the Japan Karate Federation (JKF – formally FAJKO). Shihan Minakami was the first individual ever to receive a unanimous passing grade, meaning all 11 Masters representing the 4 major styles on the examining board gave him their approval.

He then repeated this remarkable achievement when he graded for 7th Dan. This is an amazing feat for which he will always be known. Minakami is also a Black Belt in Judo, and a 3rd Degree Black Belt in Kendo.

He is regarded as one the finest Karate instructors in the world and currently teaches many International Champions. He is fluent in English and able to communicate concepts and philosophies clearly. He is friendly, approachable and an inspiration to karate practitioners of every level and style.

Higher Realm of Karate

Karate has become very popular as a self-defence sport and conditioning exercise.  Many people see karate in the movies and TV and fall for the flashy moves they see on the screen.  Many also go to tournaments and learn the techniques of the champions.

They believe they can copy these techniques and learn all there is to know about karate.

Unfortunately, they forget these moves only make up a fraction of karate training.  Karate changes according to one’s personal growth and personal endeavours toward the training of the art.  If one learns a technique from someone, they must understand that what they see is that individual’s level of karate and it is not the ultimate.

The ultimate of karate is impossible to do it one’s lifetime and therefore there is no limit to the training itself.  To make our karate perfect in one lifetime is impossible.

As we grow older we sometimes forget that we all lose muscle strength with age and cannot do all the things we could at a younger age.

If we remember this and train with the correct attitude and correct view, then karate will keep changing into a higher form.  This means we must keep an open mind in our karate training.  We must be able to find new ways to adapt and grow according to our age, body and wisdom.

The key point is we are not perfect, so it is all right to make mistakes while training, but do not go in with a closed mind doing the same thing year after year.

If we do so, then one’s growth in karate will stop and only old age will take over.  Keep the mind open and see what will be your next level.

Then work in that direction.  Also, observe one’s own mind to see if you are seeing straight or out of a deluded mind such as fantasies, envy, greed and so forth.

If a beginner expects to d flying jump kicks on their first day, they do not have a clear mind and expectation of what their body and experience are capable of.  However, if one is reasonable, karate will be fun and very rewarding to your life.

We sometimes forget we are universal beings, constantly receiving universal energy (Ki).  This Ki strengthens us and helps us become more receptive.  We receive this Ki through the air, or from energy on the earth or from gravity, food, water, etc.  If one uses these natural elements the results will naturally be greater than if we do not care.

We can strengthen ourselves through breathing exercises, visualisation, eating well, exercising, and generally taking excellent care of our bodies.  For instance, there is a tree on the field and it lives according to the soild on the ground, but if we add fertiliser to the soil, certainly the tree will grow even stronger.

So now, why I am talking about these things that are not about kicking and punching?  Because, we do kicking and punching with this universal being – the body, mind and spirit.  Through correct training we can all do karate for a long time and receive the most out of our training.

With correct instruction we may use our body movements wisely and most efficiently.  To get the most out of our life, our mind, body and spirit must be working in unison at their fullest potential.  At this point the mind will be calm and observant, the body will move most naturally, and the spirit will be noble and strong.  Then our karate naturally grows with class.

As a karateka, become noble with compassion, contrary to the egotistical.  This is how we strengthen our mind and allow it to flow as naturally as possible.  If our mind is full of obstacles such as bad habits and ideas, then the natural flow will be agitated.

Karate training is to endeavour to live one’s life in the most natural way and to prolong life itself.  There is no one technique, such as a punch, that can be perfected nin one’s lifetime.  This philosophy is, “we are all striving to reach the top but there is no top.”  Like time, our training is endless.  Be happy and practice with moderation.  This is karate do.

Shihan Akio Minakami