Report by Shyam Raithatha 5th Dan JKS
On the 21st of January, 9 members of JKS England, led by Head of JKS England Alan Campbell Sensei set out from various parts of England to head for the JKS Headquarters in Tokyo for Kangeiko – Mid Winter Training. For some, it was their first time in Japan, for others, they were Japan and Kangeiko veterans. We all met in Amsterdam Schipol airport to continue the 11 hour journey to Tokyo. We arrived on Sunday to our home for the next few days, the Kimi Ryokan in Ikebukoru, An interesting and colourful part of Tokyo, to say the least.
The day started at 5am and hitting the snooze button twice...trying to get the last few minutes of sleep while trying to get over the 9 hr time difference between London and Tokyo. We left the Ryokan at 6.15am for a march down to Ikebukuro station to jump the 2 stops to Sugamo where the World Headquaters of the JKS is located. When we arrived, the sun was just breaking and the temperature hit a not so mild 3 degrees. We changed into our Gi's and had a brief warm up before putting our trainers on and jogging through the streets of Tokyo to the cries of "Wa-Shai" (The closest English translation being Heave Ho) being led by Arimoto and Toyama Sensei’s who were leading the runners this morning.
After the 20 minute jog, we arrived back to the dojo. The class was taken by Inada Sensei 6th Dan, former WKF World Champion and All Japan Champion. We started off with basics...Working on Hanmi and Shomen and then Age Uke Gyaku Zuki, followed by Soto Uke Gyaku Zuki, Uchi Uke Gyaku Zuki, Gedan Barai Gyaku Zuki and Kizami Zuki Gyaku Zuki 10 times each on both sides with members of the class counting in sets. We then moved onto kicking drills and working on Giku Ashi. We then paired up to check each others techniques on Oi Zuki and Mae Geri. After, with the same partner...We worked on timing drills where the opponent attacked Oi Zuki...This in turn was met with Kizami Zuki 5 times...Then Uraken 5 times...Then Mae Geri 5 times. We finished with Kihon Ippon Kumite.
Many of the younger Hombu Instructors were flying to France the day after for the WKF Paris Open, so this was the last time we saw many of them this trip. It makes you realize though, how lucky we are in the JKS to have so many world class competitors, at the top of their game, all at the JKS Hombu. During these trips, there is plenty of time to experience Japan also. We visited the Meiji Shrine in the heart of Tokyo. The shrine building itself is only decades old, as much of Tokyo was rebuilt after the war. The shrine was rebuilt using the same techniques as the original shrine built hundreds of years ago. We were also lucky enough to see a Shinto Wedding being conducted in the traditional manner which was interesting to see. We also visited Harajuku which is a bit like Camden with people dressed in crazy Japanese fashion.
In the evening we did the 6pm to 7pm session this evening, taken by Sensei Nagaki 5th Dan...Another former WKF World Kumite Champion. Kagawa Shihan just seems to produce champion after champion. The session started off with the usual shout of "seiratsu"..."line up" shouted by one of the regular Black Belt attendees who was class Captain.
After a brief warm up taken by the Captain, the action began with Kizami Zuki Gyaku Zuki followed by Mae Geri's to warm up. We moved onto a Shuto Uke drill...Step forward and block, switch feet and block, step back block, switch feet and block. After this drill, we moved on to kicking drills...We worked on Kekomi, then Kekomi Gyaku Zuki. We then paired up to check each others kicks. This was followed by Mawashi Geri forward, switch legs and kick, then right kick to your left and left kick to your right.
After a quick drinks break, we paired up...Juniors and Seniors all mixed. First attack was Gyaku Zuki with your opponent blocking and countering. Then again attacking Gyaku Zuki, this time block and counter with a kick.
Next we changed partner...This time the attack was Kizami Zuki Gyaku Zuki. This time countering Gyaku Zuki in between your opponents 2 punches. Very tough with Japanese junior students showing great speed and a no fear attitude.
The final drill was the attacker attacking Kizami Zuki Gyaku Zuki with the defender moving back and then side to an angle and attacking with a counter kick.
We were then told to get mitts on for 3 rounds of jiyu kumite with different partners. My final partner was a very good black belt of about 15 years old who caught me with a stinging chudan Mawashi Geri that wrapped around my back. I caught with a nice Jodan Gyaku Zuki just before Yame though lol We finished off with Heian Yondan kata twice. Good first day of Kangeiko. We all went for dinner and drinks and some rest before the next session.
With the usual 5.30 am start, we left the Kimi Ryokan at 6.15 and almost sleep walked to Ikebukuro station. We arrived at the dojo and got changed. After a brief warm up, trainers were back on for a jog in the 0 degrees cold. It's so cold that even during the run, you don't break a sweat!
After a quick stretch taken by Toyoma Sensei...We lined up. Kanayama Sensei took centre stage this morning. He is affectionately known as The Machine by some, The Beast by others. He passed his Instructors Course in the late 80s before the JKA split and currently a 7th Dan. He is one of the most senior Hombu Instructors and his classes are the most physically demanding with squats and push ups etc. If he tells you to do 500 squats...He'll do 500 with you in half the time with a smile on his face! Hence the nick name, The Machine!
This morning, we were also graced with Kagawa Shihan training with us. The class started with squats! Only 100 today, with Kanayama Sensei counting the first couple of sets, followed by each member of the class on the front row counting.
This was followed by hopping forward and backwards in Kiba Dachi, then side to side and then corner to corner switching legs. Next, lunges, switching legs. This was followed by Mae Geri and lunges. Thankfully, he was in a happy mood this morning, so that was it for the legs...He even let us open the windows! After this we worked on stepping forward oi Zuki, Step back Kizami Zuki then stop forward Oi Zuki...working on Shomen and Hanmi. This was then followed by stepping back, Kizami Zuki, Oi Zuki forward and back Kizami Zuki again. Next was blocking, step forward Age Uke, Step Back Soto Uke, Step forward Uchi Uke. This was then done at speed adding Gyaku Zuki. Leg drills, Mae Geri step forward, switch legs Mawashi Geri then step forward Kekomi. This was then done again at speed adding Gyaku Zuki.
We then lined up for Kata...Heian Shodan and Heian Nidan. Kanayama Sensei made a point about the importance of preparation on Gedan Barai and to have the preparation hand completely forward to bring the hip forward so to bring the hip back when you block...Classic Shomen and Hanmi. The class finished with Kihon Ippon Kumite. My partner was Toyoma Sensei. He was Silver Medalist at the JKS World Championships and a Hombu Dojo Instructors and lightning quick! I managed to block everything...But I think he was going at only 75% with me. Kanayama Sensei made a point about distance with the attacker really getting inside his opponent on attacks and the defender pulling back out after the counter punch. As we left after changing...The Instructors class was warming up with Jiyu Kumite under Kagawa Shihan, who himself was sparring as well.
Daytime was spent looking around Sunshine City, It has one of the best views of Tokyo and has the Sky Circus on the top floor. It also has some of the best shopping in Tokyo. As is usual when you have Matt Sensei with you, we stopped off at pretty much every hat shop in the place for him to get some new headwear which you will see on display at various courses over the year.
This evening’s class was taken by Matsue Sensei. Matsue Sensei speaks the best English out of all the Hombu Instructors, so he explained much of the lesson in both English and Japanese which was much appreciated. We started with one of his favourite exercises...Squat back on one leg, then up to Gyaku Zuki. This was then followed by Mae Geri and stepping back into a lunge. Next was combinations...30 is the magic number at the Hombu...Everything 30 times...This time, Kizami Zuki Gyaku Zuki on the spot, then 20 times moving forward then 10 times moving forward and back. After, we did some kumite work...First working on movement, bouncing for one minute...Then for 30 secs following your partner...Then switching person...But no attacks...Just movement. This was then followed by attackers and defenders. After about 45 mins in, the rest of the lesson is a blur to, as I ended up taking a fall and banging my head which knocked me out...I came about with people giving me a chair, water and an ice pack lol I was told it finished with kata!
This morning I arrived at the dojo with the group, I felt like a minor celebrity. When I arrived yesterday and had a photo with Nagaki Sensei...He mentioned he liked the photo of my kick on my Facebook profile...This morning, I was known for a whole other reason. After knocking myself out on the floor yesterday, I saw Kanayama Sensei looking around for someone, he then spotted me and came over to ask how my head was, we had a chuckle, 2 minutes later, Matsue Sensei was looking around for someone which turned out to be me again, he came over and also asked how my head was...News had even got to Kagawa Shihan who also came over to ask and told me to take it easy after laughing for a minute or two!
The lesson started with the usual warm up and jog with Toyoma Sensei leading the way and the cries of "Wa Shai" ringing in the air with the locals looking on with curiosity. We arrived back to the dojo at the usual 7.30am...a time so precise, it as if we were a Japanese train coming to a station. This morning’s class was taken by Matsue Sensei. We started in Kiba Dachi, punches x 30...The double punch x 30 then triple punch x 30. This was followed by push ups...30, then hopping side to side in press up position. That was going to be the tempo of this class, after various combinations, more press ups, hoping front and back in press up position, kicking combinations, then sit ups, 30, then roll over on to your stomach and working on lifting your arms and legs in a parachute jump position. More combinations, then planking, 30 secs, then lifting opposite hand and legs and planking. More push ups and hopping side to side. We then moved onto Kihon Ippon Kumite. Just jodan and chudan, but each side attacking and defending so you are constantly moving forward attacking and stepping back and blocking. We finished with Heian Yondan. Matsue Sensei making the point about not letting the back heel slip back when doing the Elbow strikes and on the head grab.
The day time was spent going to Akusuka Temple, a tourist attraction attracting many. You’d see many women dressing up in traditional Japanese dress and people asking for photos. After a quick lunch, we went to Japan’s oldest theme park, which had motorized Panda’s that could be ridden which the 2 youngest members of the group, Connor and Lori-Ann jumped at the chance to go for a ride. We also took a roller coaster and ghost train ride with many of the rides being from the 1950’s! Matt Sensei’s moustache also attracted more Japanese school children to ask for selfies with him.
I sat out the evenings session as my head still wasn't great, especially after the rollercoaster earlier. Toyoma Sensei was teaching this evenings session. It was straight into partner work after the warm up. Started with Gyaku Zuki to your partners stomach. Then Gyaku Zuki sliding in making distance correct using a longer than usual stance. After this was a timing drill, as the opponent attacked Gyaku Zuki, you had to anticipate the attack and counter Kizami Zuki...A Sen no sen drill. This was followed by attacking Mae Geri to a target and performing the same with counter working once again on timing. The class finished with the Kata Empi.
We hit the half way stage of Kangeiko today. We got to the dojo at 6.45am. We've noticed a Japanese gentleman there from day one...Early 70s with silver hair, he is there morning and evening. He'd always speak with the other Japanese students...Suddenly in a thick American accent I hear "How's your head?"...I turn around and it is him. Turns out he speaks perfect English which he learnt from American friends (Turns out he meant Richard Amos 7th Dan) and never had a lesson in his life. He's 71 years and been training karate for 60 years!
We started out with the warm up and run as usual...The route more familiar every day...Out of the dojo up to Sugamo station, up the road by the train tracks, past the black Mercedes Benz and the flute player statue, turn left at the Right Turn only sign and straight up the road to the traffic lights, turn left second right and then second left and we are back. It takes 20 minutes to do the circuit. My fitness is getting better. The first 2 days of running, I started in the middle of the running lines and ended up finishing at the end, with one of the mums who's children is doing Kangeiko. Today...I started in the middle and finished in the same position :-)
The class was taken by Makita Sensei 5th Dan this morning. A very technically gifted instructor. We paired up and started with Shomen and Hanmi hip movement and then switched to Hanmi and Shomen. This was then followed by Kizami Zuki Gyaku Zuki and then switched to Gyaku Zuki Kizami Zuki. Switched again, this time with deeper stances and front leg moving forward. Makita Sensei making the point about driving the hip in quickly and pulling it back just as quick. This was then followed by Kizami Zuki Gyaku Zuki, switch legs Gyaku Zuki. I looked up the line to see Makita Sensei and Toyoma Sensei paired up...The speed and crispness of the techniques will leave you stunned. Even after 24 years of Karate (Toyoma Sensei is only 22 years old btw) it makes you realise how far you still need to go...plus the years that were wasted not doing karate at this level. We were then made to interlock feet with your partner...50 sit up, then roll on your stomach, 50 dorsal raises, followed by wheel barrow push ups with your partner holding your legs, this followed by lunges.
After this, kicking. Your partner was there as a target and we had to kick Mae Geri, Mawashi Geri and Kekomi, 10 sets right and then left and then the other person. I was paired with Alan Sensei. We finished with ippon kumite. 5 jodan punches , 5 chudan punches and any 5 kicks...First medium and then fast. The class was finished with the usual bowing and floor cleaning before the instructors class begins. As I was waiting for space in the changing rooms...I heard Kagawa Shihan say "Hajime"...Sensei Matt Price had been invited by Kagawa Shihan to spar with Toyoma Sensei at the beginning of the instructors class. A great personal honour for him and JKS England as well.
We had the day free to ourselves so me and neil decided to go on a Martial Arts History tour and visited the Kodokan – The World Headquarters of Judo! The dojo is amazing and has a viewing gallery on all 4 sides for tournaments. They also have a Judo Museum with one of Jigaro Kano’s original Gi’s.
The evening session at the dojo was taken by Kagawa Shihan. He needs no introduction, but for those who don't know...He is chief Instructor to the JKS, Chairman of the WKF Technical Committee, Head coach of the JKF All Japan Team, Head Coach of Teikyo University, 1 of only 4 JKF Shotokan 8th Dan's and the last great to come out of the united JKA winning the All Japan Championship in 1989 and World Championships in 1990. With out a doubt the best Shotokan technician there is.
The class started with Oi Zuki, Step back feet together and switch side...So punching left, feet together, punch right. This was continued with Gyaku Zuki and then Age Uke Gyaku Zuki. Soto Uke was a little different, this time, step forward feet together, then step back and block and counter. After we moved on to another combination Mae Geri Oi Zuki, slide back Gedan Barai Gyaku Zuki. This was followed by Soto Uke Empi Uraken Gyaku Zuki. Then Shuto Uke step forward, step forward then spin Shuto Uke, spin Shuto Uke and Slide Shuto Uke. Final combination was Ushiro Geri, Uraken Gyaku Zuki.
We then went through Junro Shodan and Nidan before breaking off into pairs for kumite. First was any single Jodan punch, one side attack and the other just block, then switch. Next was any 2 punches, other side blocking. Kagawa Shihan making the point of the defending side moving the back foot first to escape and only making small movements when blocking. Finally any 3 punches. The same was repeated with legs, one kick, 2 kicks, 3 kicks. Finally any single attack, double attack and triple attack. Kagawa Shihan making the point of making proper kime and keeping good form when countering. A great session!
When training at the Hombu, there is nothing fancy, no flash techniques or secrets that are taught. It is pure hard work, repetition and attention to detail that makes it the quality of karate it is. The number of WKF World Champions teaching at the Hombu speaks for itself.
We got to the dojo at the usual 6.45am today. After getting changed, I had a brief chat with Niru San...He is the class captain and asks everyone to line up and takes the warm ups...He came to ask where I was from, I replied London, he was impressed and said it was a famous city and talked about 007, Mi5 and Mi6 and Mission Impossible. He was trying to get another question out in his broken English...He finally got it out, he wanted to know my age and weight...I replied 37 and 105 kg which he was impressed by...He is 53 and 74 kg just so you know.
The morning class was taken by Nagaki Sensei. We started with the usual Kizami Zuki Gyaku Zuki. This was then moved on to Kizami Zuki Gyaku Zuki but sliding forward with a double step motion. Nagaki Sensei making the point for the arm to go first and the leg to follow and not the foot landing first and then the hand. He also said to keep shoulders relaxed. This then moved onto Kizami Zuki Gyaku Zuki and any kick, quick turn and then same again, continuous.We then paired up and we're asked to perform our favourite combinations on one another, back and forth. After this we split into 3 lines...We practiced blitzing up and down the dojo. First hand techniques, medium and then fast. Kicks, medium and then fast and finally any combinations medium and fast. We were then told to pair up again and to mix between Japanese and non Japanese students for Jiyu Kumite. I had the fortune of facing 3 Hombu Instructors, namely Nagaki Sensei, Makita Sensei and Toyoma Sensei. This is the reason you come to Japan...To train with the best and I had 3 of the best. It was fun and not serious, but the speed, precision and timing of all 3 was incredible. We finished with kata Jion. Great class.
The dojo was busier than usual today being a Saturday. Some familiar faces who have only been doing evening sessions during the week and some new faces as well. This morning the class was taken by Kanayama Sensei again with many of the Hombu Dojo Instructors still away in Paris competing and some others abroad on teaching duties in other JKS countries.
The class started of as usual, Age Uke Gyaku Zuki. Showing Shomen and Hanmi. Kanayama Sensei making the point there is no need to use a preparation hand for Age Uke as the hip is already forward from the reverse punch.
This was then followed by Soto Uke Gyaku Zuki, Uchi Uke Gyaku, Gedan Barai Gyaku Zuki and Kizami Zuki Gyaku Zuki.
Repetition, repetition, repetition. This was then followed by Mae Geri, left and right sides, Kekomi right and left and then Mawashi Geri right and left. Once again repetition, repetition, repetition. We then did Heian Shodan. Kanayama Sensei emphasising Shomen and Hanmi again. The dojo was so busy, we couldn't make our 3 steps forward so had to switch on the spot for the Age Uke's and Oi Zuki's. Kanayama Sensei wasn't happy with our back stances so made us stand on one leg with the other foot behind the knee, similar to Gankaku...We then had to slide the foot out to the side slowly pushing with the toe. Harder than it sounds...Plus to do it with control, and pull it back again.
We then split the class, Juniors up first doing Heian Shodan and then the Seniors. We then paired up and had to spar, hands only, one side attacking, one side defending without moving your feet...So you had to block. We then changed leg with both sides attacking and defending, but still not allowed to move your feet. We finished in typical Kanayama Sensei style with sit ups...Lots of sit ups...Dorsal raises, lots of dorsal raises and push ups...lots and lots of push ups! Great class!
Today we decided to do the 4pm to 5pm class. As we arrived, there was a delivery of beers and saki for tomorrow's end of Kangeiko party. It was only Nagaki Sensei in the dojo today. As he signed for the crates, I asked if we were doing kata today. He asked if I wanted to, to which I replied yes. Nagaki Sensei didn't disappoint.
Although a WKF World Kumite Champion...Nagaki Sensei was also WKF Kata Bronze Medallist and former JKS World Kata Champion. We started off with some basics. From Kiba Dachi, punching Gyaku Zuki to the corner in Zenkutsu dachi, then opposite corner, then back to centre, Choku Zuki in Kiba Dachi. This was then added to by adding Mae Geri after the corner punches. We were told to pair up to check each other. Nagaki Sensei making the point that the back leg must push and lock and to use the centre of the foot to turn. We were then treated to a masterclass in Kanku Sho and Nijushiho. Brilliant!
Today is the final day of Kangeiko. For completing Kangeiko, the Hombu Dojo gave us Headquaters T shirts and asked us to wear it for the jog this morning. We left the Ryokan at 6.15am as usual after gathering all the gifts we bought to give to the Hombu Instructors as is tradition at the end of Kangeiko. We walked through the streets of Ikebukuro with people who were still enjoying their Saturday night out. We arrived at the dojo and got changed and had the usual warm up with Niru San.
The dojo was packed this morning as we had 3rd year Teikyo University students join us this morning as well as other JKS dojo members. We got our Hombu Dojo T Shirts on and went to get our trainers on. In between getting changed and warming up, I seemed to have lost a sock, so had to do the jog without them. This morning, we took a different route, we were running to a Shinto Shrine near Kamegome that has been Kangeiko tradition for decades. It was a half hour jog to the temple.
When we arrived...Makita Sensei explained how to give thanks...Bow twice, clap twice and bow again. Makita Sensei symbolically threw a coin into the offering box for us all after which we all bowed and clapped together. We had a group photo with our T shirts on and jogged the 30 mins back to the Hombu. After a quick stretch, the class was taken by Makita Sensei.
We started with various squats, lunges and dips to strengthen the legs...A common feature at the Hombu. We then moved on to Shomen and Hanmi hip exercises with our hands on hips in the same position as in Heian Sandan. This was the followed by Kizami Zuki Gyaku Zuki. A 3rd punch was added at speed, so we were doing Kizami Zuki Gyaku Zuki Kizami Zuki, then Gyaku Zuki Kizami Zuki Gyaku Zuki. Next, Oi Zuki step forward, step back Age Uke Gyaku Zuki, switch Gyaku Zuki, Gedan Barai. The same routine was done replacing Age Uke with Soto Uke. 3rd combination was Mae Geri step forward, step back Gedan Barai Gyaku Zuki, switch Gyaku Zuki Gedan Barai. All combinations are repeated right and left side, 30 times as is the Hombu way. We then paired up for Kihon Ippon Kumite, Jodan through to Mawashi Geri. Matsue Sensei taking the little ones through Sanbon Kumite. We then moved onto Kata. Seniors asked to do Bassai Dai. We then all lined up and made Kiba Dachi and fired off 10 Choku Zuki's with Kiai on each one to close a great week of training. We were all told to get changed and ready to party!!
The dojo was set up by the University students and we all lined up. Kanayama Sensei as the most senior Hombu Instructor today gave a speech thanking everyone for attending. We were then handed our Kangeiko pass certificates. They are quite rare, as you must attend all 7 days, and even many of the Japanese cannot do all 7 days. Everyone from JKS England received their certificates thankfully :-) After the speech from Kanayama Sensei, Yamashta Sempai, the grey haired gentleman with the perfect English, the most Senior attendee of Kangeiko at age of 71 gave a toast in Japanese and English. Everyone raised a glass to the shout of "Kampai" and the party began :-)
Vegetarian food was not really on the menu except for rice balls made by Toyoma Sensei. Toyoma Sensei went out of his way to get me a salad which was must appreciated and shows the hospitality of the Japanese culture and the Hombu.
By 10am...The Saki and beer had been flowing and we were all a little worse for wear!
The party finished at 11am with Sato Sempai, the Dojo vice captain bringing things to a close with everyone in the dojo firing out 3 Gyaku Zuki’s with loud Kiai’s!
On Monday, we left for Hakone, a beautiful part of Japan with natural hot springs and great views of Mt Fuji, a perfect way to relax after Kangeiko. Hakone is very much like Switzerland with cable cars and views of snow capped mountains. Alan Sensei took us to a couple of great spots where we were able to take some great “Japanese style” karate photos of us posing. We even had the locals taking photos of us posing in our gi’s.
After a few days of rest and relaxation, we are back in Tokyo for our last training session. We headed down to Headquaters for the 6pm class. The Thursday schedule lists the Instructors as Kagawa Shihan, Kanayama Sensei and Yamaguchi Sensei. We knew it be one of them but weren't sure who. We walked in while the children's class was going on. It was being taken by Yamaguchi Sensei who was fresh back from teaching a seminar for JKS India. He was taking them through the finer points of Bassai Dai.
The class started with the usual warm up. After that Toyoma Sensei came to take the first half. We started with basic Choku Zuki...Then punching to the side working on pushing the hip, without collapsing the knee. We then took our Gedan Kamae and did Gyaku Zuki. Toyoma Sensei counting the first 10 slow, then medium and then 3 students counting 10 each fast. Counting is very important, so you need to know when it is your turn to count, at what tempo and with what tone. This was followed by a blast of double Gyaku Zuki to work on hand speed. Toyoma Sensei making the point of not to shorten the first punch but to make 2 complete punches and pull back the first one all the way including the hip. He makes it look so quick and easy with his near perfect execution. Next up, Mae Geri from Heisoku Dachi, then from Gedan Kamae...Mae Geri of the back leg, the usual 10 slow, 10 medium and then only 20 fast. Toyoma Sensei making the point after the kick has snapped, don't leave your leg hanging with a bent knee and then put it back into stance, but the snap back of the kick and the pulling back into stance should be one motion. This was followed by double kicks to the count, once again to build up the speed. This was then followed by Oi Zuki forward and back. Then Age Uke Gyaku Zuki, Soto Uke Gyaku Zuki and Gedan Barai Gyaku Zuki...The usual slow, medium and then twice fast. We then made Gedan Kamae again, this time Gyaku Zuki, switch Gyaku Zuki at speed, Toyoma Sensei making the point not to jump, but to keep the head at the same level. Finally we finished with Mae Geri, Mawashi Geri and Kekomi stepping forward.
After a quick 2 minute break, Yamaguchi Sensei took the remainder of the session. When we first lined up, Yamaguchi Sensei told the regular attendees that Thursdays will now be a kata day going forward, and he didn't disappoint. Yamaguchi Sensei's classes are the most technical. He is a superb technician himself and has a very jovial manner when he teaches. First kata up was Wankan. A kata not really practiced by many Shotokan stylists. Yamaguchi Sensei emphasised pushing with the toe in the first 2 techniques. Also with the Mae Geri Oi Zuki...To push the supporting leg. He was not to happy with our Fudo Dachi's, so took us through an exercise where you push your thumb into your inner hip joint and push down into a squat, then lift yourself up, pulling the tail bone in and pushing up, while still pushing the thumbs down. This was done in Kiba Dachi first, then changed to the same exercise moving side to side in Fudo Dachi. Next Kata was Chinte. Certain points were highlighted regarding stances and where the Kiai points are and whether there is 1, 2 or 3 Kiais and if it's on the Elbow strike, double hook punch or the last punch. Also, what the last 3 hops are for. You'll have to come to a Brown and Black Belt session to find out. Great way to end the training trip.
Thank you to Sensei Alan and to Wendy who sadly couldn’t make it, for organizing everything and thank you to all the group who came and made it such a memorable and enjoyable trip. I It's been an absolutely amazing trip from start to finish. Can't wait for next year!