The First Post lockdown and Welcome Back JKS England Course in Nottingham took place on Sunday 21st November and was held for the first time in the Wild Cats Arena replacing the JKS National Championships which were cancelled. The course provided an opportunity for everyone to come back and train together for the first time since March 2020 and the enthusiasm of those in attendance highlighted how much these courses have been missed by instructors and students alike. Alan described the atmosphere as ‘electric’ with over 150 students and club instructors in attendance.
The open course was split in to four separate sessions with Alan Campbell Sensei 7th Dan Head of JKS England, Matt Price Sensei 6th Dan and Steve Carless Sensei 6th Dan putting the students through their paces.
Alan Campbell Sensei opened the course, welcoming everyone back after such a long absence following the Pandemic. He then went on to award Dan grade certificates to those students who had successfully passed their Yondan (4th Dan) and Sandan (3rd Dan) gradings during 2021. Following a brisk warm up Alan Sensei took the first session and focused on movement in pairs. The first exercises involved walking side by side and maintaining the connection with their partner while the lead person tried to break it. This was expanded with the goal for the leading partner to move in front without touching, which caused quite a bit of amusement and ignited a degree of competitive spirit. The second exercise followed the same format but involved being in Kiba-Dachi and facing their partner, which was again expanded with the lead trying to move in front without touching.
The first exercise was re visited with the lead breaking away to the side and attacking with Gyaku-Tsuki which was blocked and countered. The last two exercises of the first session saw class split into four lines and involved the second and fourth lines pursuing the lines in front across the dojo, first with Gyaku-Tsuki at forty-five degrees side to side and then sliding in Kiba-Dachi. The object of the exercise was to catch the person in front whilst maintaining the technique. This session did become somewhat competitive, and Alan Sensei was required to point out that stances and technique needed to be maintained. The session was an excellent ice breaker and raised the atmosphere in the Dojo whilst at the same time re introducing partner work and timing that had been lost during the pandemic.
Steve Carless Sensei led the second session, and this again involved working with a partner and building up a combination that focused on timing, movement, distance, and reaction. The first element of the combination was the defender using Nagashi-Uke against a Kizami-Tsuki attack to the left and then right. The exercise was built up with Gyaku-Tsuki added and defended on left and right with Otoshi-Uke and then two more blocked with Gedan-Barai. Each of the elements of the combination were numbered and after a few sequenced practice sessions Steve Sensei called the numbers out randomly and at speed. Steve Sensei stressed the importance of using the body and the students should use their hips and drop down into the block to gain maximum impact and not just use their arms.
The second element of the combination was counter attacks from the defender and again Steve Sensei ran though each of the six attacks with the addition of the blocks in sequence before randomly calling them at speed. Both sides had the opportunity to deliver the attacks and block and counter. Steve Sensei’s combination set everyone a challenge to co-ordinate the elements covered and react at speed with the correct attack, block, and counter.
Matt Price Sensei took the third session and after a short warm up with short punches at speed the students moved onto a movement exercise. He started of with foot movement exercises which involved driving with the back led and developed into a speed test in threes. Two students positioned themselves side by side and in a short stance and on the command pushed forward at speed to touch point at full stance distance. Matt Sensei pointed out there were no draws, and the judge must select the faster of the pair and not take the easy way out with Hikiwake. The focus of this exercise was not to just move the foot but use the back leg to drive forward into front stance.
The second part of Matt Sensei’s session was drive forward with a double Gyaku-Tsuki combination ensuring that it built on the first foot movement exercise with Yori-Ashi and then driving forward trying to catch your opponent who was mirroring the attackers foot movement in reverse. The focus of this combination was timing, movement and ensuring that the foot was connected during the attack. The defender was then required to block the attacks and use their hips.
Matt Sensei moved onto a slow and challenging kicking combination that started with a slow Mawashi-Geri against a partner, with the focus on lifting the knee and not kicking from the floor. This developed into a double Mawashi-Geri without putting the foot down and them moving into Yoko-Geri and pushing forwards, again without putting the foot down or dropping the knee, delivered slowly. An Ura-Mawashi-Geri was added followed by a slow turning Ushiro-Mawashi-Geri. Matt Sensei demonstrated the combination precisely and set a benchmark for the students to try and achieve. This combination was practiced with a partner and highlighted the importance of balance, posture, knee position and muscle strength.
Alan Sensei took the final session of the day and started with a four-person combination with one offering a target and the three other students in a semi-circle attacking on specific signals. The first element was attacking Kizami and Gyaku-Tsuki with the person in the centre raising both hands to indicate an attack was required without dealy. The three on the outside had to mirror the foot position of the centre person by changing their leading leg in response to their movements. At all times during the exercise the students were required to simulate kumite and constantly move and be poised to attack when the signal was given. A front leg Mawashi-Geri was added to the combination and the centre person was rotated so all participants had an opportunity to attack and to lead from the centre.
The second combination and final session of the course was a two-person combination that required movement and intent. The combination involved the students starting apart and then stepping in Oi-Tsuki followed by Gyaku-Tsuki. They then came together and stepped with a quarter turn facing each other before sliding apart, one attacked Kizami-Tsuki and the other Gyaku-Tsuki with the important element of this combination moving in and moving out with each attack. The combination then moved to coming together and turning back-to-back through a half turn and attacking in the same way. The combination continued with these quarter followed by a half turns until a full cycle was completed with one side attacking Kizami-Tsuki and the other Gyaku-Tsuki. Alan Sensei selected a couple of pairs to demonstrates the combination pointing out the differences in the way they delivered their techniques. The last element of the combination was for one of the pair to add a kick on the final move. The important elements of the combination were movement, attacking with intent, keeping the head still and maintaining the same level throughout the combination.
This brought four quite excellent sessions to a close and there will be much more of the same to come in the courses ahead during the remainder of 2021 and into 2022. Please check out the JKS England Website and Facebook Pages for the latest details to make sure these excellent courses are not missed!
A grading then followed once the course had come to a close. Many congratulations to those who passed at this attempt.
Jacob Boorman - Walsall Karate Dojo
Adam Clayton – Walsall Karate Dojo
Finley Johnson – Leeds Karate Academy
Bartek Lipowski – Walsall Karate Dojo
Imogen Milligan – Walsall Karate Dojo
Lucky Milner – Leeds Karate Academy
Robert Nation – Leeds Karate Academy
Rhys Phelps – Harrogate Shotokan Karate Club
Kacper Wroblewski - Kaizen No-Michi
Ben Chase – Kaizen No-Michi
Gustavo Ferreira – MK Shotokan Karate Academy (Crossover)
Alex Haigh – Leeds Karate Academy
Isoble McGowan – York Karate Dojo
Cameron Nakagawa – York Karate Dojo
Amy Tegetmeier – York Karate Dojo
Paolo Valloni – JKS Top Valley
Emma Wickham-Clews – Walsall Karate Dojo