There are few things that transcend a millennium but the kata performed by a local Chito-ryu karate instructor and his pupils are one of them.
Sensei Scott Hutcheson and students like Lorne Nedelec meet at Queen Elizabeth Park in Glenmerry every Wednesday. They start with a moment of meditation before they move through the katas, a series of motions steeped in a thousand-year tradition of self-defense, artistry, ethics and precision.
Nedelec started Chito-ryu in March and after a grueling testing session at Gyro Park last week, was promoted to sixth Kyu, distinguished by a yellow belt.
The Castlegar native recently moved to Trail to work as a carpenter on the Waneta Dam project.
“I use to study martial arts so when an opportunity (to study Chito-ryu) arose I took it,” said Nedelec.
Since joining Sensei Hutcheson’s dojo he has learned a lot from this more traditional style of karate and looks forward to competing.
Chito-ryu karate goes back to the eighth and ninth century to the Tang Dynasty in China and was first developed by Tsuyoshi Chitose and introduced to Canada in 1958 by Sensei Tsuruoka.
Hutcheson began studying karate in Kamloops in 1985 when he was 13.
The former librarian studied under every leading Chito-ryu Sensei in B.C., received his Ni-Dan or second-degree blackbelt in 1998, and taught for a number of years before opening his own dojo in Kamloops in 2004.
For Hutcheson, karate is a deeply philosophical practice that teaches ethical principles with spiritual significance.
Hutcheson moved to Trail last November where he began instructing local kids and adults in the ancient art.
“A lot of people like the mixed martial arts, unfortunately that’s the opposite of what we try to proliferate,” he said. “Once people realize that that’s entertainment and not actually a form of self defense, maybe they’ll see it for what it is.”
Essentially, Chito-ryu is the pracitice of teaching people how not to fight, being prepared but not belligerent.
“Training in karate requires an extreme ethic, self-discipline and a serious commitment, it’s not something you just learn in six months.”
But that doesn’t mean Chito-ryu initiates do not compete.
KarateBC and Karate Canada organize competitions throughout the year ranging from semi-contact to full-contact karate and has been named a trial sport in the upcoming Olympics.
As Hutcheson says, “Through karate we learn, teach, and promote values of respect, discipline, self control, truth, harmony, perseverance, and responsibility. We internally teach the mind to develop a clear conscience enabling one to face the world truthfully, while externally developing the strength to overcome the physical dangers of the world.”
Sensei Hutcheson is the only registered and certified KarateBC dojo in Trail and he is Zone 1 head coach for the B.C. Winter Games.
Chito-ryu karate classes start in the fall through Beaver Valley Parks and Recreation; phone 367-9319 or go to www.trailtraditionalkarate.ca for more info.