I once asked a gasshuku veteran what he liked best about these training camps. “Bureiko,” he said—a word that refers to an informal get-together, a time when rank and position are laid aside as much as possible and people who enjoy karate gather for a good time. Maybe that’s why we rarely hear of gasshuku in this country: Perhaps here, where rank and title is a big deal, martial artists are more comfortable with seminars and their boot-camp mentality. Too bad. Sleeping bags, campfire cooking and the inevitable 3 a.m. rainstorm are par for the course at gasshuku. So are budding friendships, fond memories and the camaraderie of shared hardship. As far as I know, no one has ever issued a certificate for attendance to a gasshuku. And because everyone is expected to participate in the training and in the chores, a lot of the big-name masters might not be around. But we could do with a few more gasshuku.
I was reading some some old columns by Dave Lowry and came across the following quote in a column titled "Training Camps" from September 2002: