I began my karate training in Taekwondo in 1979 under Sensei Bruce Barker and I reached the rank of 3rd kyu before a job change and an injury forced me to stop training for a number of years. While in Sensei Barker’s school I had many full contact kickboxing matches in both Maine and New Hampshire. My training, at that time, included a kickboxing seminar taught by Jean-Eves Teriault, the 1982 Light Heavyweight kickboxing champion, and training with Sensei Dave Geroux in Sport Judo.
In 1995 I began training with Sensei Joe Beaulieu, a 5th Dan in Ketgetsu. I was able to train for about a year before Sensei Beaulieu moved away.
My Shorin Ryu training in this system started in 1996 under Sensei Stan Wilbur (go figure. another Stan!) and I trained under him for about two years before he semi-retired from teaching. In 1998, I then came under Sensei Stan Wilbur’s head student, Sensei Brad Hamel.
The year prior to that (1997) I opened my first school in Castine, Maine while still at the rank of 4th kyu. I ran that school for about 5 years before consolidating my two schools together in 2002.
I achieved Shodan (1st degree black belt) testing under Sensei Hamel in Dover, New Hampshire at Grand Master Kise’s camp in 1999. In 2001 I opened a second (my current) school in Orland, Maine and in the same year tested for Nidan (2nd degree black belt). During my time under Sensei Wilbur and Sensei Hamel I traveled to see Grand Master during his visits, both in New Hampshire and at his training camp in Bar Harbor, Maine each year.
I tested for Sandan (3rd degree black belt) in the spring of 2005 and during the fall of that year, I made my first trip to the Hombu Dojo in Okinawa, Japan. While there, Sensei Norman Guay and I were asked to demonstrate Kama Nidan for Grand Master’s Book party in front of the Honored Guests of Hanshi Kise, who consisted of Grand Masters of other styles and systems in Okinawa, as well as other local dignitaries. I Also assisted Grand Master with his classes on the USA Marine and Airforce Bases. Hanshi teaches close quarter combat and Shorin Ryu Karate to the servicemen and women there and is a highly respected instructor on those military bases.
I traveled to Okinawa again in 2006 for a repeat of the Hombu training as well as training on the military bases, again with Grand Master. In May of 2009 I was in New Hampshire once again and tested for Yondan (4th Dan). That same year I started traveling to Sensei John Shipe's tuite camps and have made it to nearly every camp since then. I transferred under Sensei Shipes in 2011 to become his full-time student and since that time have made many trips to camps all over the US as well as accompanied Sensei to Tuna Puna, Trinidad for a camp at Sensei Cuffie Hicks and his students, with the mission of helping them get up to speed with all the requirements of Grand Master Kise’s system.
I tested in front of the Certified Instructor’s Board in February of 2012 for Full Certified Instructor certification in karate, kobudo and tuite at Sensei Shipes' school.
At Hanshi Fasig's camp in Springfield, Illinois I tested for Godan (5th Dan) under the ever watchful eyes of Grand Master Kise, Kaicho Kise, and my teacher Hanshi Shipes. Renshi Steve Apsega and I have become great friends and allies, as well as constant traveling companions to trainings over the years. We share training time getting our schools together as much as possible sometimes for testing or specialty workouts. We have jointly hosted several training camps here in Maine for Hanshi Shipes and honored guests. For many years we have co-hosted a tournament that has had participation from schools from all across Maine, New Hampshire, and Canada.
It has been quite the karate journey over the years and I am hoping I have at least a few more years left. I have had a great time and enjoyed both the teaching and the student roles. Train Hard my Friends.
My Karate journey began in the summer of 2000 as a way to spend time with my seven year old son and to get into a little better shape. I had always loved martial arts and as a kid wasn’t able to train or take any classes. I had done some Boxing with friends and work colleagues. I’ve always found the art of dissecting a fight fascinating and enjoy sparring very much. When Sensei Stan Leach started teaching Okinawan Shorin Ryu Karate at the Orland Consolidated school, my son and I joined; I quickly fell in love with the history of the art. Not only were we learning how to punch and kick, we were speaking a different language and learning where karate came from. With all of this and then realizing this was a big family, I was hooked!
I received my Shodan (black belt) under Sensei Leach on June 4th, 2005 in Barharbor, Maine under the watchful eye of Grandmaster Fusei Kise at his annual visit/camp. This same year I traveled to Okinawa with my Sensei. We trained at the Hombu Dojo and were asked to participate in the festivities going on around Grandmaster Kise’s Book release party. This included demonstrating Kata in front of Grandmasters of other styles, from all over the island invited to the celebration. We attended/assisted with Grandmaster’s classes at the two Military bases on the island, where he teaches service men and women Shorin Ryu as well as close quarters combat. I will never forget this trip to the birthplace of Karate.
I received my Nidan(2nd degree black belt) under Sensei Leach on June 2nd, 2007 in Dover, New Hampshire. This was at Grandmaster Kise’s annual visit and training camp to the U.S.
I received my Sandan (3rd degree black belt) under Sensei Leach on June 4th , 2011 in Dover, New Hampshire. Again this was in the presence of Grandmaster Kise during his U.S visit and training camp.
I was honored to be able to test for and receive my current rank of Yondan (4th degree black belt) at our training Camp here in Bangor, Maine. Completing this test in front of all of our Karate family in Maine made this personal achievement more memorable. This was the first camp that Sensei Stan Leach and Sensei Steve Apsega had hosted. The two dojo’s – Orland Karate dojo and Maine traditional Karate – hosted Kaicho Isao Kise and many Directors from around the world.
RANKS AND CERTIFICATIONS
Along with Karate rank, I also have received ranks in the other two areas in the Shorin Ryu style: Kobudo (traditional weapons) and Tuite (turning of the wrist/joint locks)
I received my Nidan (2nd degree black belt) in Kobudo March 23rd, 2015.
I received my Shodan (1st degree black belt) in Tuite December 6th, 2014.
I am also a fully certified instructor in all three disciplines of the Shorin Ryu system.
I received my instructor certification Karate November 6th, 2014, at the Orland Karate Dojo with Hanshi John Shipes (my Sensei’s teacher) and my Sensei Stan Leach.
I received my instructor certification in Kobudo October 17th, 2015 at the Certified instructors camp in Louisiana with Kaicho Isao Kise, the U.S Directors and my Sensei, Stan Leach.
I received my certified instructor certification in Tuite December 10th, 2016 at the annual Tuite camp at Hanshi John Shipes’ Dojo in Athens, Texas.
I am Sensei Leach’s head student. I help with assisting with regular classes, women self-defense classes, weapons defense classes, Tuite, and many other seminars that we offer. Along with Sensei Leach, I have traveled to and will continue to travel to the annual U.S training camps that are held with Grandmaster Fusei Kise or his son Kaicho Isao Kise.
This has been a great journey and it still continues. I have to thank Sensei Stan Leach for always showing me the Way. Thank you to the students that have taught me how to not only be a better teacher but a better student!
May your Karate journey be more than you hope for!! ~ Sensei Corey Rickard
I joined this karate system (Okinawan Shorin Ryu) in September of 2005. I was passionate about being able to defend myself and hoped to be able to teach others self-defense. In the beginning it was all about getting in shape; I was not raised an athlete. My classes were challenging and I enjoyed them very much. As I progressed, much to my surprise, I was near becoming a black belt. The physical and mental challenges defined me and made me a better student. I have continued to grow, learn and now teach.
I remarried and moved. I switched dojos and teachers but was able to stay in the same karate system. My teachers are great and I am continually getting new information to better my practice. I have become a Sandan (3rd degree black belt) and have pushed myself to become a certified instructor in both karate and kobudo (weapons). At every level, there is always much to learn and practice. I enjoy helping teach classes and encourage anyone interested to try karate and see where it takes them.
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