The latest black and brown belt course was hosted in Nottingham at the Djanogly City Academy in Nottingham on Sunday 12th June.
The course was delivered by JKS England National Squad Coach Matt Price Sensei (6th Dan) and JKS Wales National Squad Coach Matt Stockham Sensei (4th Dan) JKS, standing in for Alan Campbell Sensei (Head of JKS England) who was recovering from injury. Big thanks must go to both instructors for their input on what was a very varied and absorbing course with another impressive attendance.
Following a warm-up the class was split and it was Matt Stockham Sensei who began with the black belts. Matt Stockham Sensei explored the importance of weight transfer and movement both defensively and offensively over the course of his session. Drawing on a wealth of experience from a noteworthy career in competition, Matt Sensei opened with punching drills and footwork exercises to promote the importance of smooth, continuous delivery of technique. Students were then partnered and encouraged to think more closely about creating scoring opportunities by manipulating distance and feinting as part of the attack combination.
These ideas were furthered by following a block with a fast kick, utilising mawashi-geri (roundhouse kick), ura-mawashi-geri (hook kick) and ushiro-mawashi-geri (back roundhouse kick) counters. Matt Stockham Sensei demonstrated with speed and control, the ability to respond to an attack quickly or to meet the attack with a targeted, effective kicking technique. Following this, the same principles were applied as students attacked with the jiyu-ippon kumite sequence before ending with these techniques done randomly. The session was physically demanding but also covered many important points in terms of hip action, distance and flow.
Matt Stockham Sensei then introduced the brown belts to similar principles, concentrating closely on the elements of kicking technique and how to integrate them into kumite when faced with a partner.
Matt Price Sensei began by covering the finer points of the Shodan syllabus with the brown belts, a tough ask for only one hour’s teaching! Not quite squeezing all of the sequences in, Matt Price Sensei was able to concentrate on the elements of the basics which are both unique to some of the combinations and those which apply to all. A very important lesson with both technical detail and vital practice gave the brown belts a deeper understanding of how to perform the basics whilst maintaining an approach which would mean all of the techniques would be effective against an opponent.
The dan grades were then taken through a comprehensive analysis of the kata Chinte (unusual hand) which Matt Sensei had been keen to cover this year on a trip to the JKS Headquarters in Tokyo, Japan. All elements of the kata were covered in depth with Matt Sensei also offering a number of interesting stories and anecdotes from previous experiences of the kata’s supposed teachings. Applications from the kata were demonstrated but Matt Sensei was keen not only to “go through the moves” but also ensure that students recognised the need to bring the kata to life with timing and focus.
Following the training session some important examinations took place as part of the JKS Referee, Judge and Table Recorder Programme. In preparation for both National and World Championships later this year, the examinations follow some excellent courses held recently by Geoff Dixon Sensei (5th Dan) who is Head of the JKS Referee Development Programme, working hard to expand both the reach and quality of these crucial positions.
Matt Price Sensei then took the open squad session which gave students the chance to train on a matted floor and appreciate the difference from a wooden floor. An ever-increasing turnout reflected the many benefits of these sessions, which are much more than just improving competition kumite.
Matt Sensei worked on how to integrate ashi-barai as both a distraction and as part of a combination, following it with kicking techniques to pressure the opponent. This was explored from an attacking viewpoint as well as a defending one with students also learning how to recover from a sweep through proper footwork. Matt Sensei enthusiastically supported the students to “stay classy”, asserting their authority on their partner. Matt Sensei covered the fundamental requirement to have fast and efficient footwork in order to be able to perform well in all aspects of kumite and dominate the situation in hand.
The end of the session saw students attempt to recognise attacks and immediately repeat against a number of partners. This was built up and enabled students the time to analyse and try to quickly recreate the combinations, an important part of keeping the mind working which is equally as important as the body in kumite. Students took great pleasure in this when succeeding (which wasn’t always easy) and pushed hard to bring all of the skills together which Matt Sensei had mentioned.
All students had a great day and were impressed by the variety of karate covered. It is also worth noting that the Summer Course is approaching and filling quickly so don’t forget to book your place to be part of a seminar which involves the best of JKS instructors from England and Japan.