Last Saturday, we held our 30 year anniversary Shorinji Kempo demonstration. In the grand scheme of things, the demonstration was a success (once we successfully gained entry to the gymnasium where the demonstration was to be held) with many participants both from the children’s and adults’ class. We were happy to see so many visitors, and among them were journalists from two local newspapers – Nya Wermlandstidningen and Värmlands Folkblad.
In the Monday paper edition of Nya Wermlandstidningen, there was an article about the demonstration (see picture on the left). The article gave a brief overview of the history of our club, and also told the story of our member Alva Neu winning the bronze medal in tandoku at the Swedish Shorinji Kempo Championship last month.
Two days later, Värmlands Folkblad published two separate articles. The first was about Alva Neu and her participation in the Swedish Championship, and is available in full (in Swedish) on VF.se.
The other article, titled “The legend wants to host a demonstration every year” was about Anders Pettersson-sensei and his involvement with Shorinji Kempo over the years. This article is also available (in Swedish) on VF.se. For the benefit of our non-Swedish speaking readers, we’ve taken the liberty of translating this article in full below.
The legend wants to host a demonstration every year
He started the club in Karlstad 30 years ago, and his chairman of the Swedish Shorinji Kempo federation. He is also the only Swede to have reached 6th dan, competed in the World Championship last year, and was nominated for the “Traditional practitioner of the year award” at the Swedish Martial Arts gala ealier this year. To say that Anders Pettersson is a legend in his sport is hardly an overstatement.
In 1984, Anders Pettersson and Åke Olsson were the main driving forces behind the formation of the Shorinji Kempo club in Karlstad. And they’re both still going strong. Together, they participated in the World Championship in Osaka last year, where they came in 8th.
“That was mostly for fun. We’re too old, really”, says Anders with a laugh.
Due to illness, Åke Olsson was unable to participate in Saturday’s celerbration, but there were many other things on offer in the Gjutaren gymnasium. There was meditation, a talk given by Anders Pettersson about why they meditate, a demonstration by the children, a randori demonstration where two of the club’s black belts strapped on protective gear and had a go at eachother in free sparring.
At the demonstration, they also showed that neither age nor family life need be an obstacle to practicing the sport.
“That’s one of the advantages of the sport. The youngest here today is 4 and a half years old, and the oldest fourty-five (sic)”, says Pettersson.
There also something called oyaku embu, where children and their parents practice together – something which was demonstrated, where among others Neo Bäckstrand and his father Niklas made a demonstration together.
“The family can come here and practice together, which makes it easier back home”, Pettersson says.
Anders’ own last two years in the sport have been eventful.
I febuary of 2013, he was the first Swede ever to attain the rank of 6th dan.
This year, he was nominated for the “Traditional practitioner of the year award” at the Swedish Martial Arts Gala.
“That was great, even though I didn’t win the award. It was good for Shorinji Kempo, which isn’t a very big sport, to get that amount of media coverage”, says Pettersson.
One part of that, and gaining new members, is to continue hosting a demonstration every year in Karlstad – even if the club doesn’t have a big anniversary every year:
“This year, it was mostly to show the parents, but in the future we’d like to use it to recruit new members”, Pettersson says.
Article by Joakim Lindström, Värmlands Folkblad. Translation by Christer Enfors.