Sunday 8 February 2009

JKS Oita-ken Technical Seminar

Today I attended the JKS (Japan Karate Shotorenmei) Oita-ken Technical Seminar. This ‘prefectural training session’ was held at the Usa Budo Dojo, a purpose built martial arts gymnasium in Usa-city. The facility is most famous for Sumo; however it also hosts Judo, Kyudo and other traditional Japanese martial arts events.

Trying to find the dojo in the countryside was somewhat challenging, however some kind directions from a local shop owner, and my cars electronic navigation system, eased the situation. Even so, I still missed the first few minutes of the junbi-undo (preparatory exercises/warm-up).

FIVE HOURS OF 'TOUGH TRAINING'... Here's a brief overview of what was included in the seminar.

Stationary kihon: Needless to say, as usual, this was the killer part of the session... Literally a couple of hours of solid fundamentals... Karate the Japanese way! Here’s what Tachibana Shihan (JKS 8th Dan) took us through: (1) From kiba dachi, chudan choku-zuki ‘locking in shomen’. (2) As previous but ‘big’ niren-zuki. (3) Kiba dachi niren choku-zuki, pivoting on the spot into zenkutsu dachi {45 degrees} and punching migi gyaku-zuki, pivoting again on the other angle, and punching hidari gyaku-zuki. – Exact hip timing... (4) As previous but after each gyaku-zuki stepping forward on the angle with zenshin gyaku-zuki, then stepping back with koutai gyaku-zuki. In between the three gyaku-zuki attacks, execute niren choku-zuki in kiba dachi. (5) As previous but after the very last koutai gyaku-zuki, execute a single choku-zuki in kiba dachi, from here jump forward in kiba dachi executing choku-zuki, then finally jump back in kiba dachi for a final choku-zuki. (6) The previous five drills were then adapted for mae-geri with the exception of the jumping movements in kiba dachi. These were exchanged by a zenshin mae-geri into zenkutsu dachi, ushiro ashi mae-geri stepping back into zenkutsu, and finally mae ashi mae-geri returning to kiba dachi. Really speaking, classic Asai Shuseki-Shihan Karate!

Ido-kihon : Tachibana Shihan then had the black belts go through last year’s newly establised Japan Karate Shoto-Federation dan-shinsa kihon (which we've been doing heaps of over the last eight months). This was comparatively easy, compared to the initial stationary training, as each technique was only performed 30-50 times at full speed. Techniques included (7) Tobi konde kizami zuki kara sanbon zuki. (8) Tobi konde kizami zuki kara gyaku zuki. (9) Tobi konde kizami zuki kara mae geri soshite oi zuki. (10) Ippo sagatte jodan age-uke kara mawashi geri, ushiro-geri, uraken yokomawashi uchi soshite gyaku-zuki. (11) Mawashi-geri kara ashi o fumikae ashi-barai soshite gyaku-zuki. (12) Migi and hidari sonoba renzoku-geri: Mae geri kara yoko geri, mawashi geri soshite ushiro geri. To conclude Tachibana Shihan had me demonstrate my yoko-keage, yoko kekomi, mawashi geri and ushiro geri, for all of the participants to study. He also had me demonstrate the sonoba ren-geri.

A very short break and on to kata (goodbye lunch, hello Kankusho):
The lunch break was very short for me... I went to my car to get my bento, and almost immediately, a female black belt, who placed 3rd in kata at the last JKS World Championships, came to me asking for some coaching. I immediately checked if Tachibana Shihan said this was OK, and she said “Tachibana Shihan wants you to improve my tokui-kata.” So for the remainder of the lunch break I worked with her on her Kankusho.

Group kata training: When the lunch break concluded, Shihan had the entire class go several times through the following kata: (1) Jo no kata; (2) Heian-shodan; (3) Heian-nidan; And (4) Heian-sandan. I’d like to add here that besides the tough physical nature of the training, some phenomenal points were made. I learned some very valuable things, especially in regards to the Heian kata. This was by far the most educational part of the seminar for me. (5) After that, Tachibana Shihan had me lead the brown and black belts many times through Bassai-dai, whilst he taught the other students.

We covered all forms of 'examination kumite' doing dozens rounds of everything up to, and including, kihon ippon kumite (that is, Sanbon kumite, Gohon kumite and Kihon-ippon kumite). From there we did a couple of rounds of Jiyu-ippon kumite (brown and black belts only) and finally Jiyu-kumite. In the jiyu kumite section, Shihan had all of the adults line up in front of me, and fight me one after the other. I have to say that this was the most 'fun' part of the seminar for me.
Tachibana Shihan ended the five plus hours of brilliant training with several Asai style 'ashi-uke' drills to put everyone under high physical stress. A great and spirited way to end a fantastic day of hard karate practice. I'd once again like to express my thanks to JKS Oita-ken chief instructor, Tachibana Shihan, and the Japan Karate Shoto-renmei for their invitation.
© André Bertel, Japan 2009

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