Budo Sai grading
British karate expert Mirko Buchwald recently attended the 2016 IOGRF Budo Sai in Okinawa, Japan. Mirko is normally resident in San Fransisco, USA and attended the event as a Fifth Degree Black Belt. He is one of the leading practitioners and instructors of the 100,000 Goju Ryu members globally. He’s also been vegan since the late 1980s.
The Budo Sai (or martial arts festival) had further relevance for Mirko as he took his grading for his Sixth Degree black belt.
“The grading was conducted by Shihan Morio Higaonna who is the head of the IOGKF (international Okinawa Goju Ryu Karatedo Federation) and the only 10th degree black belt in the world in our organization” Mirko told us soon afterwards.
The grading was based on dynamic strength training, which includes the Sanchine and Tensho kata.
“These forms when performed correctly use ever muscle in the body and take every ounce of energy” explaines Mirko. “This was followed by individually performing the most senior Kata of Goju Ryu Suparinpei. The tests are all different and are really at the digression of the testing instructor. Getting the honor of testing at 6th dan and above and being invited to test is a lifetime of commitment and training and so this is taken into account at this level.”
This places Mirko at a very senior level among practitioners of Goju Ryu. He estimates that there are five practitioners ranked at 6th Degree or above in the entire United States. This means that Mirko is the highest ranked vegan in Goju Ryu, which is something he’s very pleased to have accomplished.
“I use my training teaching platform to promote the fact you can be vegan and a high ranking martial arts athlete. I’m just as proud of achieving 6th Dan as doing it as a vegan and being quite possibly the highest ranking vegan black belt in the world. I travel a lot teaching and training and always integrate training and veganism.”
He is pictured (wearing black) with actor Terry O’Neill.