2022 ~ The 27th Annual IRKRS Honour Roll Award Recipients

James Pankiewicz sensei is honoured by the IRKRS for his work in promoting Okinawa karate


Breaking down walls that divide and building roads and bridges, has long been our motto. In 1988 the IRKRS boldly took an ambitious step when we became the first traditional Karate group of its kind to blaze a new and unique path upon which to unite like-minded learners in pursuit of common goals, irrespective of style or political affiliation. 

In the years that followed we built a strong membership base, received widespread support, international accolades and a sterling reputation for unreservedly serving our alumni, empowering learners and celebrating personal achievement while warmly embracing the camaraderie this wonderful art inspires. In 1996 we initiated the Honour Roll in an effort to recognise individuals whose exceptional dedication, commitment and contributions, influence, inspire and touch the lives of so many.

It is my great privilege to announce this year’s annual IRKRS Honour Roll award recipients; your important contributions have not gone unnoticed and you’ve been inducted … congratulations. 

Kinjo Humanitarian Award  Jim Mather [USA] Posthumously 

Lifetime Achievement Award  Chris Willson [Japan]

The Brett Hall Gaman Award       James Pankiewicz [Japan]

IRKRS Ambassador Award  Hemanth Kumar [India] 

Person of the Year Award  Jason Perry [USA] 

Kurofune Researcher Award Scot Mertz [Japan]

Writer of the Year  Kregg Jorgensen [USA]

Instructor of the Year  Reece Cummings [Australia] 

Innovator Award Marco Forti [Italy]

Yudansha of the Year  Rodney Vandemoortele [Belgium]  

Mudansha of the Year Marina Triantafylidis [Germany; Koryukan Willich]

Dojo Award  Ryukoku Seidokan [Japan]

Honourable Mention[s]  Ari Nuutinen [Finland], Joe Glavin [Ireland] & Brian Moore [USA]

As mentioned, your important contributions have not gone unnoticed and we believe your dedication to the art, and continual efforts to study, preserve and promote its practice, culture and values, has been exemplary. The journey for each of them has not been without significant discipline, sacrifice and failure, and yet it is through adversity that we all truly grow, both inside and out. Ralph Waldo Emerson is remember for having said, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” I like to think that much of our collective journey is about better understanding this and, on behalf of the Society, I’m honoured to be associated with you all.

Highly challenging, and deeply pensive, the fighting arts condition the body, cultivate the mind and nurture the spirit; in an effort to improve health, its holistic purpose; be better prepared to protect oneself, its defensive application; build moral character, its social aim. Karate also represents the perfect fusion of science and art coming together to create a transformative magic. This time-honoured process can also become the pathway upon which a journey of self-discovery offers a unique opportunity to enjoy a healthy, happy and deeply meaningful life; Karate-do is Okinawa’s gift to world peace… and today we recognize and celebrate you.

As another cycle around the sun comes to an end, we reflect upon both its challenging moments and indelible memories; For many, the physical distance separating us may be great, but that unshakable bond holding us together in friendship, means that we’ll never ever be very far apart, in spirit  

Congratulations to you all …

Patrick McCarthy


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