The Juneau Shotokan Karate Club celebrated its 20th birthday by hosting this year's Alaska Shotokan Karate Camp in late September.
The week-long camp attracted more than 130 athletes, with about half coming from the Juneau area. Most of the other campers came from clubs in Anchorage, Eagle River and Fairbanks, but there were other karate enthusiasts attending from California, Missouri, Australia and Juneau's sister city of Whitehorse, Yukon Territory.
"The Juneau club is celebrating its 20th anniversary of service to the community," said Diana Stevens, the head instructor for the Juneau Shotokan Karate Club. "Hosting this year's statewide camp is a great way to mark our 20th birthday and share the strength of our Juneau membership with the entire state."
The annual camp draws people of all ages and skill levels, from those with only a few weeks of experience to advanced-level instructors. A typical day at the camp featured three karate training sessions and lots of time in between sessions for recreation.
This year's camp took place at the University of Alaska Southeast's Auke Lake campus. The campers ate three meals a day at the school and had a chance to explore the university grounds. Visitors from out of town were able to tour Juneau, with many using the opportunity to go fishing, visit the DIPAC hatchery, check out the local museums, see Mendenhall Glacier and go whale watching. Even the local participants said they took advantage of the sight-seeing trips.
"Both my kids were beaming from it," Juneau's Doug Murray said. "They were tired, but they were grinning from ear to ear.
"We played games, built campfires at Auke Rec, held our traditional comedy skits, had a lecture and Japanese calligraphy demonstration by Master (Teruyuki) Okazaki, held an Alaska seafood barbecue and did a lot of socializing at mealtimes - good food is important when you're training hard."
Master Okazaki, the chairman and chief instructor for the International Shotokan Karate Federation (ISKF), presided over the camp. Also helping with instruction was Sensei (Teacher) Cathy Cline, the Northwest Regional Director for the ISKF. The ISKF has more than 50,000 members in 28 countries.
The Juneau Shotokan Karate Club is affiliated with the 4-H Clubs of America through the University of Alaska Fairbanks' Cooperative Extension Service. Recruiting for area 4-H Clubs began Sept. 29 in Juneau schools. For more information on the Juneau club, call 790-4199.