Once again the Djanogly City Academy in Nottingham was the venue for the latest black and brown belt course. It was held on Sunday 2nd April and yet again another solid attendance was met with two hours of mentally and physically challenging training working of many aspects and karate principles. Alan Campbell Sensei 7th Dan JKS and Head of JKS England was to teach the Shodan and brown belt group with Geoff Dixon Sensei 5th Dan JKS instructing the Nidan and above grades.
Before the warm up, Alan Sensei introduced Geoff Sensei as Chief Referee for JKS England and Wales and Head of the JKS Referee Development Programme. Geoff Sensei benefits from a wealth of refereeing experience and with Olympic karate on the horizon has a great deal of knowledge valuable to all competitors, coaches and officials.
Geoff Sensei started his session by appreciating that people’s” karate blueprint” is different and that higher grades should allow for this, adapting their karate where necessary but always training to maintain and improve technique. Reflecting on the importance of kihon as a foundation for all types of karate practice, Geoff Sensei started with some attacks to get the body moving fluidly. These attacks then morphed into kata bunkai practice where students were encouraged to look deeper into what the first five Heian katas contain, having also began to practice the defensive sequences. Initially paired up and then into threes, students were shown a section of each kata and performed this with partners increasing speed and intent to add realism and remove any co-operative element. With the higher grades picking this up quickly and migrating out of their comfort zone there were lots of smiles all round when things didn’t quite go to plan! This very open-minded approach drew a great deal of interest in terms of kata exploration and ended with the sequence in full with partners trying to get to their positions quick enough to challenge the defender, after all, it was only Heian kata!
Alan Sensei began his class by working on some fitness and conditioning exercises, a vital part of technique development, protection from injury and improving the body in terms of strength and flexibility. Working arms, legs and core Alan Sensei ensured all students had not neglected any part before stressing the importance of these exercises in kicking which was covered in detail next.
After a short break the classes resumed. Alan Sensei continued to work on kicking, specifically mawashi geri and ura-mawashi geri (roundhouse and reverse roundhouse/hook kick respectively). The need for good posture, hip action and control were all points students fully appreciated by the end with the test to keep working hard on the things mentioned.
Alan Sensei advised that this will in turn improve the student’s overall kicking ability by cementing correct technique and application of the principles and theory behind effective leg techniques.
Geoff Sensei also worked on some fitness and plyometric drills to quickly warm the body and get the heart rate going again. Suggesting that a number of different training approaches are needed in karate, Geoff Sensei then guided the class in an examination of how to use the opponent’s intent and bodyweight against them. Looking at a number of the less obvious “hidden” applications from kata, Geoff Sensei showed how to quickly turn the advantage to the defender by changing the direction, repeating earlier comments on just how crucial good footwork is in martial arts as a whole. With various controlling techniques and ending with some wrist locks a comprehensive session had covered detail relevant to kihon, kata, bunkai and competiton long with the subtleties between these in terms of training methods.
Ending with Ten No kata, sometimes referred to as kata of the Universe. Geoff Sensei recounted it’s historical importance and used it as a warm-down. With students having picked up all of Geoff Sensei’s ideas and advice rapidly, a huge variety of instruction had taken place; often with a keen eye on applied applications the students had been exposed to deeper thoughts and considerations in how karate is absolutely a lifetime pursuit.
Alan Sensei finished by thanking everyone who attended for their support and reminded everyone that learning from a variety of instructors is beneficial as what is on offer is both accessible and encouraged. Please continue to book early as courses continue to fill fast and look out for upcoming events.
A dan grading followed the course and congratulations to those who were successful:
Yasir Alarji - Leeds Karate Academy
Jon Draper - Zanshin Shotokan Karate Club
Xiao Wei Han - Selby Shotokan Karate Club
John Kirk - Walsall Karate Dojo
Ellis Marshal - JKS York
Phil Mordey - Kensho Karate Club
Stuart Parsley - TKF
Henry Pegge - TKF
Benjamin Stanley - Walsall Karate Dojo
Mohit Vellore - JKS Harrow
Jake Hammond - TKF