The third York course and grading of the year was held on Sunday 19th October. Despite the course clashing with the JKS Scotland Nationals those that attended the course were in for a treat. Instructing alongside Head of JKS England Alan Campbell Sensei 6th was Jan Spatzek Sensei 7th Dan from JKS Denmark who is also a JKS Shihan Kai (International Masters Circle) member. Many, if any, had not trained with Jan Sensei before and his visit had been greatly anticipated!
Jan Sensei took the younger students first and concentrated on stances and stepping quickly forward in zenkutusu dachi and choku-tsuki punching.
Alan Sensei concentrated on distance in five step Kumite for attack and defence and weight shift while stepping, Mae geri was also practised for weight shift and kicking to target.
Alan Sensei continued then moved onto Junro Godan which was practised in detail. He reminded everyone that all Junro Katas should be practised and perhaps sometimes it would beneficial to practise the katas starting with Godan first while training because sometimes time is short so it may not be practised enough.
For the last session Jan Sensei taught the seniors where the focus was put onto Kumite. The first exercise was pushing of the back foot into a long gyaku tsuki but pulling the back leg with it into a short stance, everyone was trying very hard and we were quickly getting tired. He asked all of us to relax and just practise, to get it right first, this was his way throughout all the session. His quiet relaxed way of explaining what he wanted encouraged everyone to do their best. This developed into partner work and the focus on correct timing against a moving target and then moving away quickly from a counter. The kumite routines developed with the defender practising Tai sabaki to deliver the counter, building up to an explosive sequence.
The best was still to come where Jan Sensei demonstrated a number of very close quarter attacks and defences in a way that both students could practise together at the same time against each other. Again he reminded everyone that smooth relaxed movements practised well could be very powerful. Many of the students were using their strength instead of technique.
Whilst Jan Sensei taught the last session Alan Sensei conducted gradings but managed to join the class for the last 30 minutes. Jan Sensei introduced the Asai-Ryu kata kata Kihoken No4. Unfortunately time was short, so we didnt get chance to learn the bunkai for this kata, perhaps next time.
A great day of interesting and intriguing Karate from Alan Campbell Sensei and Jan Spatzek Sensei.