Ligo Dojo Blog — 23 June 2013
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Ligo Dojo in Chapel Hill Kyu Grading June 19, 2013.

We have kyu gradings (gradings for colored belts) 4 times per year at Ligo Dojo. Every other test is done in a gymnasium in a tournament format to which we invite students from other Kyokushin dojos. Twice a year, however, separated by 6 months, we have gradings in the dojo on two consecutive nights, and we are able to focus more heavily on kata. This time, for the first time, all participating students came to the Chapel Hill dojo on a Wednesday, and then tested at the Durham dojo on Thursday.

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Ligo Dojo in Chapel Hill Kyu Grading June 19, 2013.

It was a small grading for us in terms of participation. The date, immediately following school-time exams and graduations, seems to have taken its toll on May attendance, which means many students were not ready.  Basic attendance requirement for all students is an average minimum of 2 trainings per week for the 3 months since the prior grading. Below, notice some first clear pictures online of our new Durham Dojo location at the East Durham Center, given us (the whole building) by a generous partnership with the Department of Durham Parks and Rec.

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Kyu Grading at Ligo Dojo Durham, June 29, 2013.

 Lessons in Tameshiware (board/block breaking)

Amy and Don have very little experience breaking. If this is not their first breaks of several of these techniques, it’s close to it. They have a tournament in Japan 48 hours after this training and they needed to be prepared in case they had to participate in the tameshiware test during the tournament.

Kumite Part 1, Kids and Adults

Some Kyu grading Kumite at Ligo Dojo. Note that we are not a dojo of professional athletes. We have parents, and kids, and young people, and old. We are proud of the fact that no matter what the background or physical condition of our students, they ALL learn to engage in this type of activity safely and enjoy at the same time, all while getting stronger day by day. Osu!

Some Kata

Naifanchin-Shodan, Oshiro no Kon, Sanchin, and Gekisai-sho. In the United States, we still have a long, long way to go before our kata are competitive on an international level! This group, however, has made some good progress.


Aurelio (shodan) has attended more than 600 classes at Ligo Dojo, proving that persistence and regular attendance results in progress. He has become a champion in North American tournaments several times. He is 11 years old and here he can be seen in kumite with Bassam who is 14  and a green belt. Bassam will be very strong, too. (Look back in a year!) Sensei Ligo’s message to Aurelio:

“Sometimes being very strong, Aurelio, is a disadvantage. No question if you are smart, and stay healthy, and stay out of trouble, you can be very successful. Sometimes those who are very strong, though, are less careful, and sometimes they make mistakes. Make sure you walk a straight path, work on consistency in the dojo. Behave ALWAYS strong, never lazy. I want to see you fight when you’re 20!”

Warm-up Kumite

Some sloppy Kumite here (if I do say so myself) but it’s a fun clip to show because we rarely have such a full room of folks, all practicing at one time. Our average class size these days is about 10.

 Kumite Part 2

The level of contact seen in these clips is NOT an everyday type of exposure for Ligo Dojo students. We do believe that all students must experience this kind of test (founded in reality, while maintaining safety), however we are not at this time a dojo of professional athletes. When these kids grow up, watch out! – but in the meantime, they engage in this full-contact kind of kumite at their quarterly gradings (note fights are only one minute or less) and at tournaments. Nightly kumite in the dojo is paced to levels we call “light,” “light-heavy,” and “heavy.” “Full-contact,” the 4th level, is what you see here.

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