Saturday, 16 November 2013

Trainee from Spain: Sergio Rivas

Sergio Rivas recently came to Japan to train under me. Sergio is from the Basque Country in Spain, and besides being a very serious karateka—he is a great guy. A really great guy! He even got injured here in training - and pushed himself to keep going...OSU. It was precisely one year ago since he attended my seminars in England, so I was very happy to catch up with him here in Kumamoto; moreover, that he was so keen to train with me again. Despite the long journey from Northern Spain to Aso-shi, we straight away began training. Here is a brief outline of some of the practice he experienced whilst he was here in Japan (please note, this is far from complete—as he also made an trip to Miyazaki):
Sergio outside of my private dojo where I self-train in Aso-shi.

1.      ENBU (Demonstration) and LESSON at Namino Junior High School: I firstly had Sergio assist me for a demo at Namino Chugakko followed by a basic lesson for the students. This included a history section of traditional Japanese karate-do, which was conducted by Ono Sensei, the schools taiku no sensei (Physical Education teacher). In the demonstration we engaged in yakusoku-kumite, and performed kata. Sergio performed Heian Shodan and Heian Yondan, and I executed Tekki Shodan, and Nijushiho. Following Heian Yondan we demonstrated beginner level bunkai (analysis) of the movements. Essentially, this was accentuate that kata are not just patterns of movements but are intrinsically linked to kihon, kumite and goshin-jutsu (self-defence) in general.
After the demonstration and practice at Namino. The children loved the lesson and meeting a budoka from Spain.  
The LESSON at Namino Junior High School… (a) Karate-Do etiquette and formalities were practiced: I primarily taught the students how to do seiza and do rei correctly. Special emphasis was on posture, attitude and having pride their culture (this was a point stressed by the school—and very pleasing to emphasise via the lesson); (b) Karate-Do techniques we taught: 1. Shizentai (Hachinoji-dachi); 2. How to make a fist (seiken); 3. heiko-zuki (for hiki-te practice); and 4. Karate taiso needed for developing the base strength and flexibility required to properly/effectively execute karate-do waza; and (c) The philosophy emphasised for the students: Funakoshi Gichin Shihan’s “Karate-do ni sente nashi”; that is, “There is no first attack in karate-do”… Overall, the demonstration and lesson was a great success.

2.      KATA while in Kumamoto: I re-taught Sergio Gojushiho-sho and simultaneously the complete oyo (applications) for all of the movements in the kata. At the Takahiro Dojo, under Nakamura Shihan, we also went over all five Heian and Tekki Shodan numerous times along with a number of sentei-gata, and jiyu-gata. Sergio worked on Bassai-dai, Empi, Jion and Jitte; while I did Nijushiho and Bassai Sho.

3.      KUMITE: The prime emphasis was on the application of kata techniques and principles in self-defence; namely, oyo-jutsu and oyo-kumite. This included an analysis of karada no buki (the weapons of the body) and generic atemi (vital points), which, needless to say, optimise ones capacity in the messy reality of a violent/unexpected attack.  At the Takuhiro Dojo we also practiced Gohon Kumite (Five step sparring); Kihon ippon kumite (Basic one-step sparring); and Jiyu ippon Kumite (Free one-step sparring). Sergio really enjoyed the wonderful training under Nakamura Shihan.
 Sightseeing and relaxing in Kumamoto: Out and about, we also visited the grave of the legendary Musashi Miyamoto--which is not far away from our home, Kumamoto-jo (Kumamoto Castle), Aso Jinja (Shrine), and numerous other places. Sergio also enjoyed the volcanic nature of Aso-shi, onsen (hot springs) and a vast array of delicious Japanese cuisine. Still, this didn’t stop us from practice when chilling out...i.e. – the occasional kata outside the backpackers, kata applications, kihon and so forth.
Sergio at the park where the legendary Musashi Miyamoto rests.
On the whole, we had a wonderful time with Sergio and greatly enjoyed his company both in and out of the dojo. Accordingly, I would like to use this opportunity to wish him all the best in his karate-do endeavours. Moreover, We really look forward to seeing you again Sergio! Keep talking with your karate. Osu, André.
© André Bertel. Aso-shi, Kumamoto, Japan (2013).

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