Shihan André Gilbert

In the 1950's he joined the Immaculée Conception Centre and took trapeze lesson. A few years later he started training in Judo.

Shihan André GilbertIn 1956 Karate started to appear in Montreal. His initiation was with Roger Lesourd, the style taught at that school was a mixture of Kyokushin, Shotokan and Kung Fu. When he was an orange belt, his instructor asked him to fight all the 40 students present. At that point in time, it was common to do this and was called "to do the line".

Black belt in 1968, he begins to teach karate in Montreal suburbs. Wanting to know more about Martial Arts he went to New York to learn karate from Shigoriu Oyama (no relation to Sosai) and Tadachi Nakamura, both 6th dan. These men were the first two Japanese sent to North America by Sosai Oyama. Shigoriu Oyama made him complete 27 fights. He then had to stay in bed and could only drink water for 3 days.

He stayed 8 years, until 1974, under their direction. That year, because of his leadership and strong character, Sosai Oyama named him regional director (Branch Chief) for Canada.

Student of Sosai Oyama, he participated in many seminars on Mount Mitsumine.

In 1985, he passed his pre-test for 6th dan before Sosai Oyama in New York. All candidates had to go to Japan for 6 training camps, in order to officially obtain the 6th dan rank. Since the 13th of May 1990, André Gilbert proudly holds the title of Shihan. He was expected in Japan in May 1994 for a test to obtain the 7th dan rank. However, Sosai Oyama passed away in April of the same year. Shihan later obtained his 7th dan in November 2007

On November 26th 1971, he opened his first school in Montreal on St Michel Street. He moved the school to the corner of Guy and Sherbrooke Streets in 1981. In 1986, the school which is now at 4010 St Catherine West Street in Montreal became the Honbu because of the number of affiliated schools.

In 1975, after an intense training of 3 days, he is chosen to represent Canada at the First World Championship in Tokyo.

In 1979, he breaks 4 ice blocks with his head. On the 14th of December 1986, he broke 16 ice blocks with his hand (by groups of 4) placed around him. He is the only one to have accomplished this feat in Canada. He is renowned for his ice breaking and makes demonstrations at various Championships.

Seminars, clinics and demonstrations have taken Shihan André Gilbert to the four corners of the world in order to promote the Kyokushin style.

As the official Canadian Kyokushinkai representative, he was invited to many radio and television shows between 1973 and 1990 such as; Parle Parle – Jase Jase, Ad Lib, Samedi Magazine, Garden Party, Les Carnets de Louise, Wow, l'Or du Temps, Sylvain et Tony.

He hosted and produced a self-defense information show, between 1978 and 1980 on CF Cable TV.

In 1988, he made a karate demonstration on "Cocologie" show.

karate pour tousHe wrote two books; Le Karaté, Éditions de l'homme, 1980 & Le Karaté pour Tous, Éditions de l'homme, 1991

In 1995, he co-produced a video on karate "Kyokushin A State of Mind" distributed in many countries.

He promotes karate as the:

  • Organizer of the annual Eastern Canada Full Contact Elite Championships since 1988.
  • Organizer of the North American (All Divisions) Championships in Canada every 2 years.
  • Organizer of the One Match (One try / on fight) show.
  • Organizer of many televised kickboxing and karate fights.

In 1972- 1973, becomes bodyguard for international stars: Tom Jones, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Diana Ross.

He participated in the movie productions: 1971: "Ma maîtresse", stuntman with Pierre Lalonde.

  • 978: "L'homme en colère", extra with Lino Ventura.
  • 1978: "Caro Papa", mob boss with Vittorio Gassman.
  • 1979: "La main de Dieu", documentary on karate (Japanese production).

In 1977, he played the part of an instructor on the CFTM television show "Chez Dominique".

He participated in advertisement for the War Amps, and Coca-Cola where he broke ice blocks with his head.