Monday, 17 November 2014

Kokuzou Jinja Training

Yesterday I had—like always—another excellent Karate-Do training with my close friend and training partner, Morooka Takafumi San (JKA 4th Dan). We trained at Kokuzou Jinja (, which is one of my regular `outdoor practice areas’ here in Aso-shi.

We began by engaging in Gohon Kumite (Five step sparring), Kihon Ippon Kumite (Fundamental one step sparring) and Jiyu Ippon Kumite (Free one step sparring), followed by several rounds of Jiyu Kumite (Free sparring). What I like about Morooka San’s kumite is that he is a big strong man, but he is also a `budo karate technician’—he has real ‘kime’; moreover, he is a highly intelligent guy and this is how he fights. Needless to say, it is always great and challenging to do Jiyu Kumite with him.

Following our jiyu kumite matches we worked on gyaku-zuki. I’d like to thank Morooka San here for giving me some excellent advice on my gyaku-zuki as he is a tsukiwaza specialist. My reason for mentioning this is to emphasise that ‘in our training, we have a two-way-relationship of constructive criticism, which I believe is essential for all senior karateka'. I guess this is my motivation behind this post...

We then practiced kata, starting with Gojushiho Sho, then moving on to Sochin and Enpi. The difficulty of training kihon and kata at Kokuzou is the soft surface restricts the ability to maximise the power from the ground; hence, it is a positive challenge as it pushes one to maximise their technique. To further elucidate, and without going into detail, the surface of the ground is covered in volcanic ash (as Aso-shi sits inside of a massive caldera).
After practice, at my home, we went over several points from the recent seminars under Ueki Masaaki Shihan (JKA Chief Instructor). This included Kihon Ippon Kumite—Kiri Kaeshi; the recent changes of the JKA kata in regards to elbow positions (from Morooka San's analysis of the new `Japanese edition' of KARATEDO KATA: VOL. 2); and several other aspects. Overall, a super day of solid Karate-Do training and sharing of knowledge. Domo arigato gozaimashita Morooka San.
 © André Bertel. Aso-shi, Kumamoto. Japan (2014).

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