Saturday 26 December 2009


December Kangeiko (special cold/winter training) started in the early hours of this morning... And the big question is "where has 2009 gone?" Who in Japan pushes the 'fast forward button'? And why does Japan time , even in the countryside, not slow down? The exception to this rule is when one is suffering in the dojo, trying to keep going. "Common time, speed up!" Suddenly somebody pushes the 'pause button'! To me, this really highlights, that karate-do is such a great way, to learn to live each moment fully. Still, I have to admit that it seems like January Kangeiko was just yesterday, so I have very long way to go: The theme of this years kangeiko is 'exact technique for effective application', that is not wasting time, and energy, unnecessarily polishing techniques for mere aesthetics.

Rather than make too much commentary, I'll give a brief overview of this mornings session, with the exception of the traditional outdoor run, which was funny, and not worth mentioning! Hahaha.

A. KIHON: No technique 'lists' here, but rather the points closely examined, via all of the standard 'core' kihon (that is, the typical Shotokan grading syllabus ido-kihon): (1) Kime poise/completion/readiness, "no end and no beginning", as taught by Asai Tetsuhiko Shuseki Shihan. Technically very deep stuff! (2) Light and quiet ashi-hakobi/unsoku (footwork/leg movements/transitions). Essentially trying to avoid sounding like an elephant, as most karateka do. A review of a common theme, extensively taught by Asai Sensei, at J.K.A camps in 1990's. (3) Timing and distance of yori-ashi. Not trying to 'look smooth' but rather to 'be smooth' in transferring maximum power to the respective target. It was stressed that due to competition karate, very few karateka do this correctly, as the priority is given to aesthetics. This once again strongly brought to mind the main theme of this kangeiko.

B. KATA: I lost count of the repetitions we did of Kibaken and Meikyo-Nidan. The application of the broad training theme, and points covered in the kihon (and corrections regularly made) resulted in making this part of the session the most educational.

C. KUMITE: Oi komi! 100% purely biltz attacking techniques, aggressive and linear. This is traditional Japan style jiyu-kumite through and through. Kizami zuki kara gyaku zuki; Gyaku zuki kara gyaku zuki; Mae geri kara oi zuki; Kizami zuki kara gyaku zuki soshite mae ashi jodan mawashi geri... You name it, it was done!

Dare I say, I'm really looking forward to day two of kangeiko! Two of the photos posted here, were outside of the beautiful Nakatsu-jo, our local castle, just after today's training ended. The other was from my embu (demonstration) of Meikyo-nidan at the completion of the practice. If I have the time, and energy, I'll try to complete small reports, covering each day, of this kangeiko. But as in this post, there will probably be a delay. So please excuse my punctuality! All the best to you from Oita-ken, Kyushu, Japan.


© André Bertel, Japan (2009).

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