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Fujiwara San of Omagari City

Introduction:

  • 剛柔会 Fujiwara San of Omagari City

    The following article was published in the Nitiniti Omagari - Akita Newspaper, in Northern Japan. During translation we encountered that the language of Omagari - Akita is slightly different than that of Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto of which we are more accustomed to. The language of the region is more pronounced, defined and polite [can you get more polite in Japanese?] as in England polite compared to the deep South of the United States where the language is more relaxed. Why tell all of this??? Because during the translation the [Japanese] writer described Mr. Seiichi Fujiwara Sensei as, a "God" like, figure.

    We thought we were either reading the Kanji wrong, losing our minds or just plain had the wrong article to start with. So off it went to Mrs. Lisa Azuma [Santa Monica] for translation. She returned to us a near exact translation to that we came up with [Thank you Mrs. Azuma!]. We feel it was weird and wonderful that the most humble man we've come come to know, in so many years, is being referred to as a "God" like figurein his hometown, and that if we republish a translation, we should unmistakably let the readers know that Mr. Seiichi Fujiwara Sensei is without a doubt, not the type to reference to himself such a description.

    The photo to the right is of Seiichi Fujiwara in the Omagari Budokan in 1992. In the 2nd picture to the right, Seiichi Fujiwara Sensei performs Sanchin during the 8th Dan Shinsa [audition]. The 3rd picture is of Fujiwara in Poland 1992. The Picture to the bottom is Los Angeles California with the 2nd Vice President of Seiwakai International Gojuryu Karatedo, Leo Lipinski Sensei, and the USA Chief instructor, Vassie Naidoo Sensei. Both of the JKF Gojukai and Seiwakai International Gojuryu Karatedo.

    Born in 1950 [age 52 at the time of this article] Mr. Seiichi Fujiwara Sensei, in his time of studying Gojuryu Karatedo, has been an All Japan National Kata and Kumite Champion.

    Today he has earned the ranks of 8th Dan JKF Gojukai, 8th Dan Seiwakai Gojuryu and 7th Dan Japan Karatedo Federation. Fujiwara Sensei is also a Director and Coach of Akita Karatedo Federation Gojukai.

    He serves as a senior member of the Overseas Committee for the JKF Gojukai and is Vice President of the Seiwakai International Gojuryu Karatedo Association, one of the largest Gojuryu Karatedo Associations in the world. As of the writing of the newspaper article [October 2002] he has served as a JKF Gojukai Overseas Director [for now 15 years].

    He makes 3 - 4 trips each year to coach mainly Europe and America. Currently his students number over 8,500 and in his home region, Omagari City he instructs 150 students at the 7 branches. He also instructs High School students at the Omagari Tachidake Gymnasium [Budokan]. Currently his Seiwakai Akita Omagari Dojo [the Gojuryu Karatedo Seiwakai Honbu Dojo] is located at 18-5 Wakatake-cho, Omagari-shi, Akita-ken, Japan.

    Editor - Gojuryu Network


    平成14年10月新聞掲載記事より
    From October 2002 Newspaper article.

    空手道「剛柔流」の最高峰8段に
    Karatedo (Gojuryu) the highest rank 8th Dan

    大曲市の藤原さん
    Fujiwara San of Omagari City.

    国内で20人、空手の「神さま」を祝おうと仲間が祝賀会の準備
    One of only 20 people in Japan, a "God" of Karate, say his companions as they prepare a celebration party.

    (10月31日・木)
    October 31st thus

  • 空手道「剛柔流」の八段に昇段した藤原さん大曲市白金町の藤原聖一さん(52)=大原旅館=は剛柔流空手道の最高峰「八段」に昇格した。今年8月に全日本空手道連盟剛柔会本部主催の全国大会が長崎県佐世保市であった時、本部から八段の受審認可を受け、厳しい実戦実技と論文審査を受け、合格した。15人の受審者のうち、合格したのは藤原さんを含め2人だけ。剛柔流空手道で50代で「八段」の頂点に立ったのはこれまで2人しかいない。しかも八段の取得者は藤原さんを含め、全国でたった20人。昨年は流派にこだわらない全日本空手道連盟から「七段」の資格を認定されている。藤原さんの弟子や仲間は「空手道で八段と言えば神さまのようなもの」と喜び、藤原さんの昇段を祝う祝賀会の準備を進めている。

    Fujiwara Seiichi [age 52] of Shiragane Machi [Platinum Town], Omagari-shi [Omagari City], owner of Ohara Ryokan has been promoted to the highest ranking of Gojuryu Karatedo, 8th Dan. This August at the Japan Karatedo Federation Gojukai Honbu Shinsa [promotion audition] Convention in Nagasaki, he received his 8th Dan certificate from the headquarters. Among the 15 applicants, Fujiwara was one of 2 people who passed the exam to become eligible. Until this time there have been only 2 people in their 50's who have made it to 8th Dan in Gojuryu Karatedo. Moreover, there have been only 20 people, including Fujiwara, in all of Japan to become 8th Dan. Last year, his 7th Dan ranking was acknowledged by the Japan Karatedo Federation. Fujiwara's pupils and peers explain "an 8th Dan in Karatedo is like a God!" as they prepare for Fujiwara's rank celebration party.


  • 藤原さんは29日夜、空手指導のため滞在していたイギリス、スロバキア、オーストリアから帰国したばかり。毎年2回はヨーロッパを中心に海外で指導をしている。八段の受審資格を得るには七段になって7年以上の経験が必要。藤原さんは1995年に「七段」に昇段した。しかし、経験を積んでも八段を受審するには本部からの推薦を受けなければならない。藤原さんの場合、海外での指導経験11年の実績が本部から高く評価された。

    On the evening of October 29th, Fujiwara had just come back from instructing in England, Slovakia and Australia. he travels overseas twice a year to instruct, primarily in Europe. One condition of attaining 8th Dan is that you must have been ranked 7th Dan for at least 7 years combined experience. Fujiwara attained 7th Dan in 1995, but even if one passes the examination, one must receive a nomination from headquarters [Honbu] in order to rise to 8th Dan. In Fujiwara's case, the 11 years he spent instructing overseas was highly appraised work by Honbu.

  • だが、本部から推薦があっても七段から八段への昇段は並大抵のものではない。審査員が見守る中、指定された「形」の演技を行い、仕掛けられた技をどう裁き、攻撃するか実戦実技を見せ、その技の解説、さらに空手と自分とのかかわりで得たものは何かなどをテーマにした論文も提出しなければならない。一回で合格するのはごくまれで、普通は4回から5回も挑戦してやっと八段の資格を得るのが普通。それを藤原さんは一回の審査で合格した。本部からは十数年ぶりの記録だと珍しがられたと言う。

    However, there being a nomination from Honbu, the move in rank from 7th Dan to 8th Dan is not ordinary. While the examiners [judges] watch over, one must perform the designated "form" [Kata]. They must make judgment on the skills that have been challenged. Also to attack, or to show an actual fight with actual skills and to present an explanation of the skills used. Finally, the candidate must compose a thesis with the theme of, for example "How I have personally benefited from Karatedo. Passing this examination the first attempt is extremely rare. Normally, it takes 4 or 5 attempts at the examination before one finally attains 8th Dan. Fujiwara passed with just one attempt. Honbu said that this broke a more than ten year record.

  • 藤原さんは横手市出身。空手を始めたのは千葉商科大学に入った17歳の時から。それまでは陸上競技の選手だった。大学に空手部があるのを知って「格闘技を身につけ、強くなりたい」と入部した。一緒に入った仲間は80人もいた。ハードで厳しい練習にほとんどが根負けし、3カ月後に残ったのはわずか10人だった。しかし、練習が厳しくても上達するに従い、藤原さんは空手の面白さにはまった。

    Fujiwara is originally from Yokote City. He began practicing Karate at the age 17 years old when he entered Chiba Commercial College. Before that he was an athlete of track and field. Knowing that there was a Karate program at the University he joined thinking "learning grapple skills [Martial Arts] as he would like to become strong". With him companions who enter [the program] together as many as 80. The majority [of the program] were lost in the harsh practice. Three months later there were only 10 people left. But with practice being harsh, he improved. Fujiwara was fixated on his interest in Karate.
  • 大学を卒業すると同時に空手部の先輩が経営していた千葉県の建設会社に入社。そこに2年半勤務したが、剛柔会本部から声が掛かって大学空手部のコーチに就任。その時の藤原さんは三段だった。

    At the time of his graduations from University, he joined the construction company at of Chiba Prefecture which his Karate Sempai had managed at the same time. 2 1/2 years he worked there, but Gojukai Honbu [headquarters] called on him for inauguration as the coach of the University Karate Program. At that time Fujiwara was ranked 3rd Dan.

  • そのころ藤原さんの実家では横手市から大曲市に移って旅館業を始めた。その両親から「旅館を手伝ってもらいたい」と声が掛かり、73年秋に大曲市へ帰った。旅館を手伝いながらも空手は忘れられず、翌年10月に若竹町に空手道場「誠和会」を創立させ、指導を始めた。現在はそのころの後輩が育って、秋田市や横手市、神岡町、中仙町など7支部の道場へと膨らんだ。藤原さんは現在はもっぱら市内の高校生を相手に市の武道館や若竹町の道場で空手の指導をしている。その間にヨーロッパを中心に海外指導に出かける。

    It was around that time that Fujiwara's parents home [family] moved to Omagari City from Yokote City and began a Ryokan [Japanese style hotel] business. His parents said "we would like to have you help with the Ryokan", so he returned to Omagary City in the Fall of '73. Although helping at the hotel, Karate was not forgotten. In October of the following year, he opened a Karatedo [Seiwakai] in Wakatake-cho and began coaching. Presently his Kohai [juniors / pupils] from that time have now grown up and expanded the dojo to 7 branches including Akita-shi, Yokote-shi, Kamioka-cho and Nakasen-cho. Presently Fujiwara is exclusively in charge of the City wide High School Karate program which he coaches at the city gymnasium [Budokan] and at the Wakatake-cho Dojo. At the same time he focuses on Europe and coaching overseas.

  • 藤原さんは話す。「小学生をはじめ空手を学びたいと言ってくる子どもたちは『ケンカに負けたくない。強くなりたい』と入ってくる。でも、空手はケンカに強くなるため学ぶものではない。子どもたちにはまずマナーを徹底的に指導し、技よりも人間を磨くことに努めている」と。空手はその技をむやみに使うと危険を伴う。剛柔流は「人に打たれず 人を打たず 事なきを基とする」がその精神基盤。「相手に嫌な思いをさせないために自分はどう生きるかが空手道の基本です」とも。

    Fujiwara says "the children say they would like to learn Karate" including Elementary School students, "so not to be defeated in a fight" and they join because they want to become strong. But, Karate is not learned in order to become strong in fights. We coach manners to children first, thoroughly and exhaustively to polish them as humans. When Karate skill is used thoughtlessly it involves danger. Gojuryu is based on "do not strike a person and do not get struck by a person". This is it's spirit of its foundation. "The Basis of Karate is to live in such a way so as not to earn the hateful thinking of your partner [opponent].".

  • 藤原さんの指導を受けた小学生たちは4、5年生になると学校の部活にも入る子も多いが、空手を学んだ多くの子どもたちはその部のキャプテンなどリーダーに推薦されるのが多いと言う。藤原さんが育てた弟子は1000人近い。4年前からは剛柔会本部の8人の指導委員としても活躍している。今でも空手をやる時の白い「道着(どうぎ)」を着け、道場で毎日、体を動かす。「道着を着けて体を動かさないと不安になるんです」と藤原さん。その柔和な笑顔、ソフトな口ぶりからは空手の〃神さま〃と称される厳かさは少しも感じさせない。

    Among the elementary school Students who receive Fujiwara's coaching, many of them go on to join their schools Karate teams when they enter 4th or 5th grade. And so many of these children become leaders or captains of their teams. The pupils Fujiwara has raised is close to 1000. He has also been an active member of the Gojukai Honbu 8-person steering committee since 4 years ago. He still puts on his white doge when he does Karate, goes to the dojo every day and gets his body moving. I become uneasy if I don't put on my do-gi and move my body" says Fujiwara. With his gentle smile and his soft way of speaking, he gave no hint of being the majestic one who is praised as a "God" of Karate.

  • 今月15日から29日まで海外で指導してきた藤原さんは「海外の剛柔会のメンバーは7500人を超えた。ヨーロッパ本部長とも話したが、世界中に仲間がいるので、東京にその仲間が集まれる施設を作りたいなと話し合った。それがこれからの夢です」と藤原さん。海外に出張しても「言葉」は心配ない。留学した際に空手を学んだ現地の人たちが通訳を買って出るからだ。「外国語を覚えると、その国の習慣に巻き込まれ、妥協してしまうんです。あえて覚えないことにしてます」と藤原さんは笑った。11月23日には市内のエンパイヤホテルで藤原さんの昇段を祝う「祝賀会」が仲間とその弟子の主催で開かれる。

    Fujiwara, who was instructing overseas from the 15th to the 29th of this month says "There are more than 7,500 Gojukai members overseas. I spoke with the head of Europe's Headquarters [Mr. Leo Lipinski Sensei] and since we have peers all over the world, we would like to make some facility in Tokyo where these peers can come together. That is my dream from here on. "Even when he is traveling internationally, he does not worry about language. There is usually a local person who studied Karate as an exchange student and helps out translating. "Once you start learning a country's language, you get wrapped up in that country's customs that [your purpose for being there] becomes compromised. So I don't try to learn the language," laughs Fujiwara. On November 23rd [2002] at the city's Empire Hotel, Fujiwara's rank celebration party will be held sponsored by his peers and students.
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