Welcome to Tampa Florida!
It is with great pride that I will be hosting the 2019 East Coast Black Belt Gasshuku. For me, this is the first Gasshuku I have hosted since the MCF 2014, which was the last time Higaonna Sensei was in the United States. I know many of you have had a time where you actually got to talk to him one on one, and that one was mine. While I drove him from and to the airport, we had several hours to talk, and his over-riding message to me was, “help get the USA back on track and grow the organization.” His message was not to me but to all of us. Each of us has to do our part to make our organization stronger, and the way to get there is by training and spreading the word of Traditional Okinawan Goju Ryu karate.
Fast forward to today, we have made incredible progress. Sensei Villa is an amazing instructor for us here in the USA, and since we have become a non-profit organization, he has been able to travel all over the country to many of our dojos to train with us. There is no question that we are now in a place that we can focus on training and letting go of some of the issues that may have beleaguered some of us in the past. No egos, no politics, just training. I think that is what all of us are here for.
In that light, the 2019 East Coast Black Belt Gasshuku will have many, many hours of nothing but training for all of us. Not only that, I have arranged for accommodations that are extremely affordable as well as a “one price for everything” registration fee. The host dojo is a great spot that a colleague of mine has graciously offered up for us to use at no cost for the entire event. It is in a little town just north of Tampa that is loaded with restaurants and things to do, Zephyrhills, Florida. The hotel is a Ramada Inn that I have visited and done a walk-through of the rooms. They offer a full breakfast as well as Wi-Fi and unlimited parking, all for free. The room rates are about $85.00 a night depending if you want a king or two queen beds. This is why it is the only hotel selection on the list – why have more with a deal like this?
I am really looking forward to seeing you here. For those of you that are not able to make it to Okinawa this summer, this Gasshuku will allow you to be able to train as well as grade.