On April 1, 1963, Shane Higashi opened his first dojo on Danforth Ave in Toronto. Consequently, on April 1 , 2013, a few days from now, Sensei will have operated his dojo continually for 50 years, and no, this is not an April Fools joke.
The dojo was relocated after a few years to Eglinton Ave near Laird, where most of the older members, including me, were first exposed to Sensei’s training sessions. After a fire, the dojo was again moved to Kingston Road near Eglinton, and then in the mid 1990s moved to its current location at Curlew Drive.
Throughout all these years, the one constant has been Sensei Higashi, with his drive and dedication to Chito Ryu karate and O’Sensei’s teachings. His stamina and enthusiasm never seem to wane, and I at least have not noticed any slowing down of his efforts. He teaches early mornings, noon and evening 6 days a week, only interrupted by frequent weekend trips across the country from BC to Newfoundland conducting clinics and seminars. He is also a frequent visitor overseas, again for teaching seminars.
I have observed him for many years in awe, whether he is teaching a 5 year old how to stand properly in kid’s class, or a senior belt an advanced tecnique in a high level seminar, he always has time, and infinite patience with everybody. And at the end of a seven hour session at a clinic, while we are all fading fast, he always seem to just have one or two more things to show us.
He is the most honorable man I know, and he has had a profound influence on my life, as I know he has on many others. I am proud to have him as my Sensei, and my friend.
I am sure there will be many get togethers over the next weeks to celebrate the occasion, with the main one held at the Westin Prince Hotel on Saturday, April 13, 2013. There is a reception at 6.30 with a buffet dinner following. There was a limited number of tickets, and I am not sure if there still are any available, but if you are interested, contact Noel Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope you will keep it up for many more years Sensei, and thank you very much.