Sensei Ivan DeToro has taught Bushido Shotokan Karate style for over 30 years and he doesn’t plan on stopping any time soon. Detoro will accept new students into his academy, young and old, until the end of November.
DeToro along with his wife Jennifer both earned the rank of black belt after decades of training and testing. The DeToros are two out of a handful of registered instructors across BC.
Within the dojo the two martial arts instructors focus a large part of their practice time to what is called “kihon” and “katas.” The former consists of basic techniques, like how to block or punch, while katas (forms) are a series of moves intended as a demonstration.
“When you say form, it’s not only your body muscle structure and your knowledge about your body. It’s forming your personality,” said Ivan. He also pointed out that karate is more than just physical exercise or practising kihon or katas, but about its philosophy of self-defence and discipline.
The beginner class, for those students below the rank of yellow belt, usually focuses on kihon. Only after having trained for a few months on kihon do students move on to katas. The katas are “a very simple dynamic,” said Ivan. The instructors emphasize that simple moves – practising the basics (kihon) – will build the foundations for beginner students, who can then go on to practice difficult moves typically after years of training.
Jennifer also noted that karate is “not just about the external part of the body, but internal.” The katas, she mentioned, will exercise the whole of a person’s body.
“Kihon it’s called basic techniques to start forming the body to get into naturally reacting if you need to defend yourself,” she said. “It has a lot to do with breathing. Our goal is to endure no matter what you’re faced with. And by training, we can naturally protect ourselves without having to do major damage to the opponent.”
The couple is dedicated to teaching karate and its time-honoured philosophy to students across the ranks, ranging from white belts to brown belts. Ivan added that the dojo currently has 25 students, but is open to taking in new students between September to November of every year.
“We believe karate should be adaptable to everyone,” Jennifer mentioned. The classes are done in such a way that it appeals to all ages. In her class, she noted that there were students as young as six years old and others who are already retired and well past their 60s.
The instructors are part of what is called the International Shotokan Karate Federation of British Columbia (ISKF). The organization is a federal, non-profit which provides technical, legal and administrative support to dojos through standardization of forms, procedures, rules and regulations.
Locals are encouraged to talk to Ivan or Jennifer if they are interested in joining the beginner classes which happen every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 5 p.m. at the Port Hardy Civic Centre.