Wednesday 12 July 2023

Don Walker Sensei back in Oita

Don Walker Sensei (5th Dan) returned to Oita--between July 10th and 13th--for private karate training. This time, in addition to again bringing his lovely wife Bev, he also travelled with his ten-year old grandson. Beyond the practice in the dojo, and as always, we also had great time off the tatami. 

Don Sensei and me after the final session today: July 12th, 2023

This time I focused on 上級基本 (Jokyu Kihon) underpinning the core/standard Shotokan-Ryu, extended through Asai Tetsuhiko Sensei’s ‘extension of JKA style Shotokan', and real world/practical application of our style. Kata-wise the prime focus was on 鉄騎初段 (Tekki Shodan); however, rather than application this time, I emphasized technical points: namely, (1) 立ち方 (stance) moderation; (2) the command count in relation to 決め (kime) and 技の緩急 (waza no kankyu); and (3) several subtle technical points, which are rare, including a variation of 浪返し (nami-gaeshi). This was later applied and concentrated on in an 足払い (ashi-barai) partner drill. Kumite practice consisted of impact training - which is an imperative aspect of IKS, several forms of 基本一本組手 (Kihon ippon kumite) and 自由組手 の基本動作 (Jiyu kumite no kihon dosa).


As always there was the overarching theme of “…‘Relaxation’ to increase power through increased speed, fluidity and external mental awareness”; furthermore, to avoid self-resistance. Allow me to expand on this simple yet CRITICAL POINT for everyone who reads this: “The muscle that is contracting is the agonist and the muscle that is lengthening is the antagonist; consequently, if these ‘opposite action muscles’ are both tensed, one is ‘figuratively speaking’ hijacking their own movements”. As Asai Sensei always stressed “RELAX”, “SNAP” and “FLOW”.


Overall, I was once again that Don, who is in his 60s, is still seeking to refine his techniques in the dojo. Even coming again to Oita with that quest. BIG RESPECT!!! Lastly, through karate we can build wonderful friendships which go beyond the walls of the dojo. I’d once again like to thank Don and Bev, also Hudson. We look forward to seeing you all again. Until then, 押忍!! — AB.


                        © André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2023).

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