Sunday 27th September saw the latest black and brown belt course take place in Nottingham. The session began with dan grade certificate presentations by the Head of JKS England Alan Campbell Sensei (6th Dan).
Following the warm up the class was split into brown belts, instructed initially by Paul Brant Sensei (3rd Dan) and black belts, taught by Hans Rana Sensei (5th Dan).
Hans Sensei began with a very “lively” introduction to his class. The students were quick off the mark with some kumite exercises to raise the heart rate and loosen their muscles. This then developed into conditioning exercises for strong arms, legs and core. The final partnered drill utilised a plyometric exercise to strengthen both the legs and maximise hip movement during punching. This required concentration and a great deal of effort to perform correctly, challenging the students to maintain correct form throughout. The students encouraged each other through these energetic exercises, always keeping a good spirit and attitude.
Hans Sensei then taught one of his favourite Asai-ryu kata, Rantai. This kata, which a lot of students had never done before, involves a lot of leg techniques with a variety in kicking and blocking to a range of heights. Difficult work on leg muscles which had already been tested!
Paul Sensei’s lesson centred on kokutsu dachi (back stance) beginning with specific detail on correct foot position and alignment. Stance transition was then covered with Paul Sensei stressing the need to ensure correct hip position during the stance change to perfect technique, adopting a shomen (front facing) position for as long as possible before snapping the hips into place.
Kihon exercises were then performed in kokutsu dachi, allowing students to familiarise themselves with how to maintain good posture and deliver strong techniques. After this, the group formed a circle to practice haishu uchi (back hand strike) with the strike being delivered in back stance, being whipped into place through the hips. This idea expanded further with students exploring power creation through rotation or cutting of the hips during spinning techniques.
Utilising many syllabus techniques already covered, Paul Sensei then took the students through Kokutsu dachi no kata, a training tool to cement the points raised earlier. Students were reminded of the objective of the lesson in understanding and applying the principles of stance, movement, weight distribution and transfer, with an emphasis on maintaining these in all aspects of training.
After a short break the classes resumed with Hans Sensei instructing the brown belts whilst the black belts were taken by Alan Sensei.
Alan Sensei began with mae geri (front kick). This was delivered as a basic kihon exercise before more advanced ideas were introduced. The legs were again a focus with concentration needed to maintain the centre line and deliver the techniques to the target with correct posture and hip position. Alan Sensei presented the different ways of covering distance in kicking by demonstrating various sliding and stepping movements with the feet. The point was stressed that the technique must flow with students encouraged to feedback to their partners if there was any interruption during the technique. Students supported each other by altering the distance to allow natural, fast kicking techniques to result.
Alan Sensei then furthered the movement exercises to encompass punching techniques to follow the kick in order to ensure a forward hip position. If this was not achieved the students found that the techniques could not successfully follow another.
Alan Sensei finished with further kumite based techniques to illustrate the need for raw speed to prevent the opponent having a chance to respond. The need to maintain ones centre line was again stressed and different angles practiced to give the students a comprehensive look at how it applies in both attack and defence. Students were encouraged to deliver energetic but controlled counters to finish a testing but very enjoyable day of training.
To finish the JKS England Instructor training took place with an in-depth look at Heian Godan. Specific teaching points were covered to continue working towards the necessary standard whilst maintaining a wider appreciation of the kata’s applications.
The next black and brown belt training session will be held on November 22nd. It includes and Open Squad training session. This will be the final one of 2015. See the events page for more details.