The annual International Karate Day was held worldwide on Monday, Oct. 25. On Sunday, Matsubayashi-ryu Asato Karate Dojo and James Pankiewicz organized the annual "100 Kata Challenge" event at the Peace Memorial Park in Itoman City.
About 70 people from different dojos participated in the event, including people from the United States, Slovakia, and Colombia. It was the 8th 100 Kata Challenge, which started in 2013.
According to Panciewicz, about 40 people have participated in the 100 Kata Challenge every year. This year, about 70 people sweated through the program. "I think it's the expression of the karate principle of not giving up, and I felt happy," he smiled after the session.
The kata participants practiced a kata called Rohai. Pankiewicz sensei explained, "It is a difficult kata because its characteristic pose is similar to a white crane." It took about two hours for participants to repeat the kata 100 times, after which many of the participants triumphally screamed, "I did it!"
"Karate is worth living," Pankiewicz says, adding that he had a "special feeling" for this year's 100 Kata. The COVID-19 pandemic had forced him to close his "Dojo Bar" in June 2020. Over the years, the bar had become a hub for hundreds of Karate enthusiasts visiting Okinawa from every corner of the world. Many regarded his bar as much a must-visit as their head dojo. He now says he thinks he is "just happy to be alive," has busied himself teaching karate at the Asato Dojo, conducting online seminars, and lately, creating Karate-themed internet TV channel "Bujin TV."