SportKarateCanada: First of all Kyoshi , thank you for doing this special interview with SportkarateCanada.com. We know this is unusual for you to agree to do this kind of thing, and we appreciate it very much. Our readers will be thrilled to know more about you and your martial arts career.
SportKarateCanada: Please tell us about yourself; your style, your rank, how long you have been studying martial arts, etc.
Kyoshi Christopher DiLiberto: I started in the martial arts in 1966. Within the last 39 years, I have trained in a number of different arts. I hold a 7th dan in Okinawan Goju-Ryu karate-jutsu, a 7th dan in Okinawan Kobu-jutsu, a teaching license in Nami-Ryu lai-jutsu.
SportKarateCanada: Where do you train and/or teach, and who is your teacher?
Kyoshi Christopher DiLiberto: My family and I reside in Ancaster, Ontario. My dojo is in Mount Hope, Ontario, both are communities just outside the City of Hamilton. My teacher in karate and kobudo is Tetsuhiro Hokama, san, Hanshi 9th dan in Okinawan Goju Ryu and 10th dan in Okinawan Kobu-jutsu of Okinawa, Japan. My teacher in Iaido is Akir Achimura, san, Hanshi, of Ibaraki, Japan.
SportKarateCanada: What do you consider your finest achievement to be in martial arts, in competition or otherwise?
Kyoshi Christopher DiLiberto: My finest achievement in competition is winning Gold in Okinawa at the World Tournament. Since 1999, out of a potential of 355 divisions, I have placed 1st in 346. Current success rate in all Grand Championship Divisions is 95%, won the Grands at the Ontario Provincial Open 7 years in a row. In non competition, receiving my 7th dan Kyoshi Samurai title from Dr. Hiroyki Hamada, Hanshi, on behalf of His Royal Highness, Sosai, Higashi Fushimi Jigo. (Royal Family of Japan) and the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai.
SportKarateCanada: What makes Christopher DiLiberto tick? What drives you to continue to compete, even although you are rarely out of first place, no matter where, or on which circuit, you compete?
Kyoshi Christopher DiLiberto: I do not look at it as competition. (if that makes any sense) I come out to demonstrate my art. It is my responsibility to demonstrate my art (Kenshi-Kai Karate) to the martial arts public in this country.
SportKarateCanada: Do you plan to retire from competition eventually? What about training and teaching? Will there ever be a time when Kyoshi DiLiberto does not have martial arts in his life?
Kyoshi Christopher DiLiberto: I train 2 hours a day in karate, kobudo and Iai-jutsu. I teach 2 nights a week. Half of my weekends are spent at tournaments and seminars and the other half with my family. IÂ¡Â¯m having too much fun to retire from my martial arts way of life.
SportKarateCanada: Can you tell us about your students, and your philosophy of teaching?
Kyoshi Christopher DiLiberto: My dojo is principally a black belt club. Several of my black belts drive in from other cities to train with me. I have approximately 25 black belts from shodan to godan, ranging from 17 years of age to 57. The average years of training for my black belts is approximately 20 years. My philosophy of karate teaching is in the following definition,
“Karate” The expansion and contraction of the human body, while in motion, in a state of total harmony with the universe. To produce maximum destructive power, while at the same time, neutralizing incoming aggression with the least amount of energy. Achieved through hard physical training to unify the mind, body, and spirit for the purpose of self enlightenment and to promote world peace.
SportKarateCanada: What do you believe is the most important part of training?
Kyoshi Christopher DiLiberto: The most important part of training is to train at least an hour everyday, 7 days a week, kata with bunkai and on basics, basics and more basics.
SportKarateCanada: Please tell us about the 600 year old weapons kata you perform with the oar.
Kyoshi Christopher DiLiberto: This lyeku kata is known as “Tsuken aka chu no lyeku de” is one of the many kobudo katas of the Â¡Â°Okinawan Kobudo FederationÂEbut the only one for the lyeku. It is one of the oldest of all the weapons katas.
SportKarateCanada: For open hand forms, we have seen you perform Kurunfa many times. Do you also perform other forms in competition, and is there a reason you prefer this one?
Kyoshi Christopher DiLiberto: I have performed the Kushanku, Passai, Nipaipo/Fukiensho Hakutsura Ken, Anan, Wanduan, Aragaki (Niseishi, Sochin, Unsu), Rohai, Kumemura Hakutsura Ken, Sepai Seiyunshin and Suparinpei. I have won with them all.
The Nahate Kururunfa is one of the most advanced of all the katas. It demonstrates maximum expansion and contraction of the human body and total harmony. It is pure Goju Karate-jutsu. It is my favorite of all my katas.
SportKarateCanada: You are a very traditional martial artist. The area of Southern Ontario has produced a number of very successful traditional martial artists over the last few years. Do you believe you have had an influence on this?
Kyoshi Christopher DiLiberto: Yes, I have proven that traditional karate kata is alive and well. That there is no substitute for real traditional kata.
SportKarateCanada: You seem to prefer to support local circuits, rather than go further a field too often. Can you tell us why you prefer this option?
Kyoshi Christopher DiLiberto: I feel I have had the most impact by supporting local circuits. (approx. 22 tournaments a year ÂEmostly in Southern Ontario). It is like heavy advertisement in a local market place. This massive local exposure has allowed my easy access to the local seminar market, and therefore influences Southern Ontario Martial Artists.
SportKarateCanada: In competition, who do you see as your most difficult opponents or competitors?
Kyoshi Christopher DiLiberto: My real pursuit of competition is an inward one. I strive to achieve power, precision and perfection in my form. My true opponent is myself.
SportKarateCanada: What do you think is the most important part of martial arts?
Kyoshi Christopher DiLiberto: The most important part of the martial arts is to study the old to understand the new.
SportKarateCanada: How does martial arts fit into your every day life?
Kyoshi Christopher DiLiberto: Only through hard physical training will one be above to unify oneÂ¡Â¯s mind, body, and spirit which is the primary recipe to cope with daily life. Martial arts training has taught me my short comings and therefore has enabled me to deal with people and accept people for what they are. This allows me to be at peace with myself.
SportKarateCanada: Can you share with us what you carry in your pouch? We know it is a mystery to most people.
Kyoshi Christopher DiLiberto: I carry a gift from my Teacher Hokama, san in my little pouch.
SportKarateCanada: What do you like to do when you are not doing martial arts?
Kyoshi Christopher DiLiberto: I am a big game hunter. I have hunted in Alaska, the Yukon, North West Territories. I am also a ski instructor and enjoy the outdoors very much, but most of all, I enjoy Â¡Â°ballroomÂEdancing with my wife Enza.
SportKarateCanada: We know you have a son who is prominent in martial arts, and a very supportive wife. Can you tell us more about your family, and how they fit into your life?
Kyoshi Christopher DiLiberto: My wife Enza and I have been married for 30 years. We have two sons; Baldassare Christopher (22) and Charles Vincent (20). Both are in post secondary studies. My wife and I run our own professional Real Estate Appraisal practice in the “Golden Horseshoe” area. My wife and I both enjoy fine dining, ballroom dancing and have traveled extensively throughout Central and South America
SportKarateCanada: Please share with us anything else you would like to tell our readers.
Kyoshi Christopher DiLiberto: The past president of the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai Manabu Adachi, Hanshi Judan (10th) dan, Kendo said: “The essence of Kendo is to be able to cut. I am afraid that the current picture and substance of Kendo today seems to have been reduced to only athletic competition.”
I’m afraid the same is true with karate. Traditional karate is over one thousand years old. Think about that statement and ask yourself how an invisible edifice built my man, with no walls and no floor, can last a thousand years! Answer: Kata with its hidden bunkai. At the same time keep in mind, sport karate has only been practiced for a few decades.
SportKarateCanada: Once again, SportKarateCanada would like to express our appreciation to Kyoshi DiLiberto for granting us this interview. We are sure the readers enjoyed it as much as we did.