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Eight Japan Karate Shotokai students earn black belts

By Staff | Nov 12, 2009

From left, Calen Matsuda, Jacob Lum Lung, Joshua Arakawa, Max Molina, Randy Ginoza, Jarred Arakawa, Dylan Delatori and Jonathan Lum Lung advanced in the black belt tests.

LAHAINA — September 25, 2009 will be a date long remembered in the lives of eight martial artists from the Japan Karate Shotokai-Lahaina Dojo, as they took the momentous step to achieve Shodan (first-degree black belt) ranking with the organization.

The eight practitioners from the Lahaina club comprised one of the largest groups in the annals of traditional Karate-Do on the Valley Isle to earn the coveted black belt ranking within the worldwide Shotokan system.

This organization traces its roots to the teachings of Master Gichin Funakoshi, known as the grandfather of modern day karate and founder of the world-renowned Japan Karate Association.

Ranging in age from ten to 48 years, the new Shodans have been practicing karate for an average of six years with the Lahaina Dojo.

Kahului building contractor Randy Ginoza, 48, is the oldest of the eight. He began his training in Honolulu five years ago.

Duane Max Molina, 17, recently graduated from Lahainaluna High School and is currently attending Maui Community College.

Brothers Jarred, 14, and Joshua Arakawa, 12, have practiced the art for seven years. They are students at Lahainaluna and Lahaina Intermediate School, respectively.

Jacob and Jonathan Lum Lung are 12-year-old identical twins who have been members of the Lahaina Dojo for five years. They are seventh-graders at Kamehameha Schools Maui.

Dylan Delatori, who recruited his papa and guardian, Glen Delatori, to train with him, is also 12 and attends Kamehameha Schools Maui.

Calen Matsuda, a Lahaina Intermediate sixth-grader, is the youngest of the group at ten years old. He has been practicing karate for six years.

The examination was administered by JKS-Hawaii Chief Instructor Charles Lee (Rokudan, sixth-degree black belt),  JKS-Lahaina Chief Instructor Walter Chihara (Yondan, fourth- degree) and Glen Delatori (Shodan) at the club dojo at Lahaina Civic Center.

The grueling, hour-long test included kihon (basic techniques), kata (the formal exercises of Shotokan Karate-Do, including the specialized forms of Asai Tetsuhiko Shihan, the Jun Ryo) and kumite (sparring).

Lee Sensei of Honolulu had high praise for the group and noted their solid basic stances.

“All of you (examinees) showed good basic technique and knowledge of the required kata,” he said at the test review session on Saturday morning following the exam. “I am impressed with your progress and hope that all of you will continue practicing karate.”

Chihara Sensei complimented the eight for their dedication and hard work.

“This is a terrific event for Lahaina Dojo, as this is an impressive effort for this large a group — the most in the 26 years that we’ve had this club on the West Side. We should also recognize the families of all of them for their support throughout the years. We feel that it is most important to promote the ethics of respect, tradition and nonviolence inherent in Karate-Do, and this is what the families have done in keeping their children on this pathway.”

Chihara went on to thank the West Maui Parks and Recreation Department for their support of the program and use of the gymnasium’s P.E. room.

“It is a perfect place to have the classes, and it is safe and accessible for the young children that we have in the program. Mahalo to Jeff Anderson, Steve Ashfield, Robbie Ware and Don Rosenthal for their kokua,” he concluded.