All of our classes have been running live online since 24th March. We have a stable, interactive feed, with instructor-student interaction just as we would in our regular sessions.
Let’s not forget the importance of looking after one’s mental health in these challenging times. Enjoy the fresh air and sunshine of the beautiful spring weather to exercise, whilst maintaining a safe distance from others. And indoors, follow the sessions, watch the details, check the technique and practise safely.
Wash hands before and after training and/or use sanitiser
Try not to touch your face or anything else
Have tissues at hand, then dispose and sanitise
Keep a face towel to hand instead of using sleeve
Wash gi after every session
If practising outdoors, use suncream
Stay hydrated but avoid public water fountains
Maintain a distance of at least 2m away from others
Parents should monitor their children during practise
Keep up to date Feel free to reach out via the contact form. Email is still the best method of contact for club members and I will send session weblinks and updates using this method so make sure the club email address is added to your email whitelist, and Follow our Twitter and Facebook accounts @Shiranamikai
[Fully in line with official guidance at the time]
Shiranamikai instructor, Austin Biesty, talks with London-based TV correspondent Alexander Khabarov about the measures adopted by the karate club in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
With gyms, schools and halls closing because of concerns about virus transmission by touch and being in close proximity, we moved to hold a contactless class outside, thereby also ensuring good ventilation and distancing by remaining at least two meters apart.
One of the unique benefits of many Japanese martial arts is the ability to practise effectively without contact. Karate training comprises three core elements: Kihon (fundamentals), Kata (set patterns), and Kumite (partner work). Having already dropped the kumite aspect we were able to continue practise whilst adhering to official guidance.
In budo, the overwhelming aim is the development of oneself, and as such, by being able to continue practising alone but with direction, one places a much higher demand upon their own state of mind and physical form than they would do when facing an opponent directly.
Shiranamikai Karate has been featured in The Sunday Telegraph’s ‘keeping active’ pictorial. Students were pictured practising two meters apart and completely in line with guidance at the time. The caption reads…
Keeping active With cafés and attractions shut, in Primrose Hill, London…a martial arts class takes place – making sure they keep their distance from each other.
Shiranamikai members performed a karate display at the 2019 Japan Matsuri in London’s Trafalgar Square, the largest outdoor Japan-UK cultural event bringing together the best of music, food, dance and of course, martial arts!
We did our best to illustrate core elements of JKA Shotokan karate, demonstrating Kihon (fundamentals), Kata (set pattern sequences) and Kumite (partner work). We also saw a lighthearted interaction between one of our most experienced members and one of our most junior, with a little help from her friends!
This year was an occasion where the best of Japanese culture met the test of UK weather so we’d like to thank everybody who braved the elements to stay and watch our performance – we really appreciated your warm welcome – and hope you enjoyed the whole festival as much as we did 🌂🥋🇯🇵🇬🇧
Japan Matsuri 2019 also marked the official launch of the Japan-UK Season of Culture, celebrating the unique bond between our two island nations as Japan plays host to the Rugby Work Cup and the 2020 Olympics.
We participated in Hyper Japan at Olympia London in Kensington.
Shiranamikai students demonstrated the three pillars of JKA Shotokan karate: kihon (basics/fundamentals), kumite (partner work) and kata (forms). Katas shown were Heians: Shodan, Nidan, Sandan, Yondan and Godan, followed by Bassai Dai and Sochin. We also incorporated light-hearted bunkai (application of technique) of Heian Godan.
From the J-Culture stage we could hear something big going down on the other side of Olympia but it wasn’t until reviewing the video footage that we realised that during our Ippon kumite, tsugaru shamisen rock artists Kuni-Ken, were performing their own ‘Ippon’ on the main stage! Of course, we had to get in touch :-D
Thanks to everyone at Hyper Japan! See you next time!
Music by KUNI-KEN Available on Spotify, iTunes store etc. Check them out!
Shiranamikai started 2019 on a high by celebrating the club’s 10-Year Anniversary. Ohta Sensei, our association’s Chief Instructor, visited to deliver a two hour training session with lots of basics and kumite followed by Heian Sandan, Tekki Shodan and Bassai Sho!
Afterwards we enjoyed dinner together where there was an unexpected presentation with an eloquent speech, a beautiful hand-drawn card filled with paper cranes (and touching messages!), and an incredibly thoughtful gift… club instructor Austin Biesty was so overwhelmed that he forgot to take any photos!
Shiranamikai members participated in a 3-day winter gasshuku (training camp) hosted by The Japan Karate Association in England.
Tutorage was by special guest instructors Imamura Tomio 7th Dan and Hanzaki Yasuo 7th Dan from the Tokyo Sohonbu, alongside Ohta Yoshinobu 7th Dan, England’s Chief Instructor. In turn, they were supported by Senseis Adel, Roy, Gary and Giuseppe of England’s technical division.
Kata choices for brown and black belts were Friday: Chinte / Meikyo / Empi, Saturday: Jitte / Bassai Sho / Kanku Dai and Sunday: Jion / Bassai Dai. Ohta Sensei also had a section for those who were grading with alternative kata choices. Other Kyu grades were able to focus on the Heian katas while exploring applications.
These karate courses also offer a chance to catch up with friends from other clubs in the association and when not practising, the time to do other things, like on our Saturday side trip to Hever Castle!
After the last training session on Sunday, there was a Dan grading. Congratulations go to Ollie and Alex on passing their Shodan grading. Well done guys, you’ve worked long and hard. Your black belts are well deserved!
Arriving in Rye on Thursday afternoon was well-rewarded with lunch at Fletcher’s Cafe. Visiting Rye Castle was insightful, with a fascinating, brief history on what used to be one of the most notorious prisons in England. We received a thorough drenching afterwards while exploring the wider grounds and took refuge in a haunted inn(!) before our dinner in Webbe’s Fish Cafe where we met up with the wider group.
Overall there were a few red faces (and feet) at Shell-a-nami-kai this year, the result of the fantastic weather we had. Training was light, relaxed and great fun. The kata of choice this trip was Jion with appropriate basics and applications to make it easier to learn.
After training Friday morning we headed to Dungeoness, stopping for lunch at the superb roadside Snack Shack which served fresh fish of the day, and The Old Lighthouse which offered fantastic views for everyone unaffected by vertigo. The pre-radar Denge Sound Mirrors were next, with us getting as close as we possibly could, lightheartedly brainstorming how we might get even closer. In the evening it was back to the cottage and negotiate elbow space in the kitchen as we all mucked in to prepare dinner.
Our last session on Saturday morning was followed by a quick and tasty bacon bap and cup of tea at Salts Farm Cafe before heading back to London for our afternoon training session.
Training on the beach, fun outings, superb meals and great friends! That’s what Shell-a-nami-kai/Sand-A-Nami-Kai and karate is all about :-) and with theses great British summers looking set to continue, why not put aside a few days in August and join us?
Shiranamikai’s summer camps are a week of learning and development sessions that aim to help students of all levels improve techniques while exploring advanced katas and applications, in a relaxed dojo environment.
This summer we studied Heian Shodan, Empi, Heian Yondan, Gojushiho Sho and Sochin. Those who attended the whole week received a certificate and on the last day we enjoyed our traditional club lunch together!
Put the dates in your diary for next year: 29th July – 2nd August
By the way, that was maneki neko, lucky cat soft drink. Have you tried it? 👊🏻😺🥋
Special guest instructors Imura Takenori 8th Dan, Kobayashi Kunio 7th Dan and Shiina Mai 4th Dan from the Tokyo Sohonbu, Sawada Kazuhiro 7th Dan from Belgium and Ohta Yoshinobu 7th Dan from JKA England lead the brilliant, spring May Bank Holiday Weekend, training camp.
Four days training can initially seem a little daunting but by taking one day at a time, you get to experience the various methods and personality of each instructor. We are all individual so sometimes a different take on basics or applications can click with one person more than another.
Shiranamikai members were present over the weekend as always which was great to see. Participating is a prerequisite for taking shodan but sessions are for everybody, not just brown belts and above. They present a fantastic opportunity to learn from highly experienced, world-class instructors, who you might not otherwise have the chance to see.
Imura Sensei has an imposing presence and he amazed students with his take on press-ups. Kobayashi Sensei linked a superb basics and kumite lesson with Gojushho Sho kata. Sawada Sensei has a wealth of knowledge and his classes have always been informative so it was great to see him back. Shiina Sensei is incredibly fast and strong and people always leave her sessions with a smile on their faces. And with Ohta Sensei, you’re looking at a technical masterclass every time.
So, plan your diary ahead and attend as possible in order to experience all that these world class instructors have to offer.