Karate weekend honors memory of beloved Nagamine


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Sensei Morgan Frechette of Suntree Martial Arts performs kata on Aug. 11 at Soke Nagamine Matsubayashi-Ryu Karate Memorial Weekend.

VIERA VOICE Chris Bonanno

Karate enthusiasts from around the country and even as far away as Canada gathered on Aug. 10 and 11 at the seventh annual Soke Nagamine Matsubayashi-Ryu Karate Memorial Weekend.

The event was held at Cocoa Beach Karate, located at Cocoa Beach Health & Fitness.

The event is held each year around the same time to honor the memory of Soke Takayoshi Nagamine, who was the head of the World Matsubyashi-Ryu Karate-Do Association and son of the founder of the discipline for which the organization is named after.

Nagamine visited Cocoa Beach in July 2011 and was slated to do so again in 2012. However, he passed away at the age of 66 in April of that year before he was able to return. The event is held each year on a date near or on his Aug. 12 birthday.

“Saddened by his early passing, we decided to hold this event in his honor since we were already set up,” said Sensei Des Chaskelson of Cocoa Beach Karate of the inaugural event in 2012. “It’s open to all styles and in the spirit of sharing karate and fellowship, we have this every year.”

As part of the gathering, preliminary karate workouts were held on Friday before a main workout on Saturday. At that point, each participant had an opportunity to perform kata, or forms of karate, by group and dojo, giving everyone an opportunity to demonstrate their skills in a welcoming environment.

Among the 50 or so participating was a contingent from Suntree Martial Arts.

“I love the tradition of it,” said Suntree Martial Arts owner/operator Sensei Morgan Frechette. “Modern-day karate, it’s a lot of times just a lot of training and looking at the competitive side maybe and the instant gratification or earning my next belt. And, you know, that’s not what karate was actually for. So, coming together to embrace the tradition of Sensei Nagamine's birthday is very special.”

Suntree Martial Arts Sensei John Currie Jr. also practiced kata, or forms of karate, along with his daughter, Melania.

“Most of my favorite parts of the event (are) getting together with the fellow black belts with Matsubayashi style. “It’s actually great, enjoying that.”

Currie Jr. also noted that he enjoyed meeting others who traveled to Cocoa Beach for the event.

“These guys are very honorable and respectful. These guys know what they’re talking about. They have a lot of technique and a lot of knowledge.”