Northern Mariana Islands Karatedo Federation will be visiting schools and other establishments to promote the sport in the CNMI.
NMIKF president Eiichi Ishiguro, through interpreter Yuko Togawa, said they will be visiting Marianas High School and Saipan Southern High School next month to make a presentation about karatedo. The group is also scheduled to have a presentation with the Department of Public Safety and holds demonstrations at the Street Market.
“We would like to drum up interest to the sport by reaching out to the community,” said Ishiguro, a seven-Dan master (just three levels behind the highest rank in the Japanese system.
Right now, Ishiguro said between 20 and 30 individuals are joining his regular karatedo classes at the group’s facility located at the second floor of the Himawari Restaurant in Garapan. The 40-year karatedo veteran is conducting practices every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 5pm to 8pm. Classes are divided into levels with the beginners class scheduled in the first session and the last set for advanced students.
Ishiguro, who started the federation in 2012, said they want to visit schools and other places in the CNMI to look for athletes that they could bring to Japan to train and compete. He said there is one female student in his class that is showing a lot of promise and if plans push through, she could make the trip to Japan and improve her skills. Ishiguro also has a karatedo school in Japan and has affiliation with other groups there. His association with other karatedo groups allows him to bring coaches to Saipan.
“Next month, another coach is coming to help our students and also participate in the demonstration at Street Market,” Ishiguro said.
He added that the NMIKF is also planning to hold local competitions and bring Japanese karatedo students for an exhibition with Saipan athlete.
“We plan to have a cultural sports exchange here,” the 1998 Wado-Kai European Kumite champion said.