Ivan DeToro corrects a student's front kick during last week's class in Port Hardy.

Local karate instructor belts up

Ivan DeToro moves into rarified ranks after earning his Rokudan or sixth-degree black belt.

PORT HARDY—Local Sensei Ivan DeToro added another notch to his belt recently, successfully testing for his Rokudan, or sixth-degree black belt.

The new belt elevates the Bushido Shotokan Karate-do Academy Chief Instructor into vaunted territory, making him the highest-ranked practitioner in the art on Vancouver Island.

The sensei traveled to the University of North Colorado in Denver for a four-day seminar and testing at the start of August. Of the nine who tested for for the belt, DeToro was the only successful candidate.

“It’s very hard to reach this level,” he said. “it takes a lot of dedication. You have to keep in shape — and be lucky (enough) to have no accidents.”

DeToro has been practicing the martial art for around 40 years and teaching for almost 30. “I train every day,” he said. “It’s very pleasant for me to train; it’s my passion.”

To earn the Rokodan, DeToro first had to submit an essay. Then he had to perform a pair of katas — series’ of pre-determined moves demonstrating form and technique — in from of a panel of seventeen examiners.

Finally, he had to complete a fifteen-minute, free-sparring session against a series of opponents.

“The free-sparring was a nightmare for me,” he said. “Denver is something like 7,000 feet — it was hard to keep breathing. The second guy was this 4th-degree (black belt), young, like 28 years old. He burned me out — but I never gave up.”

DeToro will be back instructing regularly in September at the Karate-do Academy. Classes begin in Sointula on Sept. 7 and in Port Hardy on Sept. 9 offering both beginner and advanced classes.

Classes then continue every Saturday in Sointula and every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in Port Hardy.

For more information on classes contact DeToro at 250-949-8989 or email ijdetoro@island.net.