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.
Watching our new club promo together on the small screen at the big screen before it goes live. But how did the popcorn go from being ‘on the club’, to being all over the floor? Never mind, it was a fun thing to do!
Many thanks to all the staff at Odeon Cinema Swiss Cottage for being so welcoming and taking such good care of us. The newly refurbished IMAX screen will open in two weeks time – can’t wait!
And here it for those who couldn’t make it to training on Saturday:
Every year, at the beginning of August, Shiranamikai holds its 5-day karate camp with the aim of learning advanced katas and the practical application of techniques which we don’t always have time to break down during regular classes.
This year was our 6th summer camp. We worked through basics and kumite relating to our focus-katas Heian Sandan, Jion, Gojushiho Sho and Empi. There was lots of group work to encourage inclusive, creative thinking.
We finished up our last day with Ramune, sushi and mochi ice cream which went down particularly well after a whole week of training!
Well done if you attended the whole week! Put next year’s dates in your diary: Monday 30th July – Friday 3rd August.
December 2016 was a busy month at Shiranamikai. For the last month of the year, we had a lot to cram in…
Christmas Dinner, 17th December
Enjoyed our traditionally, non-traditional club Christmas dinner, which doubled-up as a leaving party for Kentaro. As well as a chance to say goodbye it was also a good opportunity to get to know the new members of Shiranamikai. Needless to say, we all had a cracking time!
Last Training Before Christmas, 21st December
I was intending to run some games in order to win some sweet prizes during the latter part of the session but actually, exercising beneath those toasty, synthetic Santa hats was deserving enough of a treat. Plus, the three kata requests of Jion, Kanku Dai and Unsu didn’t leave much time for anything else. Thanks to those who brought along mince pies and chocolates for snacking on afterwards!
Keiko Osame, 27th December
The last lesson of the year was a free session, a small gift back to all of you. Coming the day after Boxing Day, the timing was perfect to get moving after several days of sedentaryness. The suggestion was to bring along any leftovers from Christmas so that we could help each other polish them off after training but I nearly ended up leaving with more than I had brought along myself! Never mind :-)
The 27th was also Kentaro’s last club karate session for a while. Kentaro, Hina, Miyuki & Hisaharu, we wish you all the very best for the future and look forward to seeing you again soon!
Shiranamikai members enjoyed a lively Sunday afternoon, bouncing around Oxygen freejump centre. Most were straight into the dodgeball arena where, given the energy spent and a feel of my t-shirt, I was sure we spent a good half-hour. In reality it was just ten minutes.
We witnessed some impressive jumps and backflips on the larger trampolines while the pugil sticks provided a challenge for competitive types and entertainment for those watching. The most difficult part here was surpressing the urge to jump over the foam pit when losing (balance)!
If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball
Once the hour slot was up (an hour of this was more than enough), we retreated to the cafe to recharge with some much needed refreshments.
We had some exciting weather during this, our second, beach gasshuku: warm and sunny on Thursday, mild with light showers Friday (great for keeping cool) and on Saturday, strong winds that whisked up a light sandstorm (apply sun cream in these conditions for a great skin exfoliant).
Beach training sessions are more relaxed than regular classes but provide superb physical benefits: the unsteady sand base causes lost spring and momentum, forcing a greater reliance on the important core muscles to maintain stability and direct ones’ power.
During our four sessions we covered Heian Shodan, Sandan and Yondan, and Kanku Dai. Partner exercises used the katas’ elements of tai sabaki, foot sweeps, joint locks and take-downs.
Between training sessions there was plenty to do away from the water: walking through picturesque Rye town, visiting its shops and tea rooms, appreciating the views from St Mary’s church, Epryes Tower and the old fortifications. Further along the coast, is Dungeness with its nature reserve, narrow gauge railway and old lighthouse. All set against a backdrop of a flat, barren, post-apocolyptic-looking landscape. Striking.
With fifteen of us down there, plus Cocoa and Sensei Sho, eating out together was always going to prove tricky but we all came together on Saturday evening for a delicious home-prepared dinner.
At this year’s summer camp, we looked at body alignment, posture and the mechanics of making smooth transition between positions. Body control is fundamental to making efficient movement in karate.
Monday through to Thursday was a mixture of control exercises, kumite and kata with applications. Each day we also recapped on the previous days’ technical information. Friday, was a kata-only session to revisit our four primary course katas to check everyone could remember the applications in their groups and explain what they were doing. It is important to be able to show an understanding of the meaning behind each movement of a kata. This in turn, contributes to a better impression of the kata when performing. Explaining what you are doing while you are doing it is very difficult!
Our primary katas were Heian Nidan, Heian Godan, Bassai Dai and Gankaku. We also squeezed in Sochin on Friday, before wrapping up the training and taking a leisurely stroll to enjoy a delicious lunch for a proper finish to the week’s training.
To those who attended each day, well done, you receive a certificate for your efforts! Five students got special mention for training in the evening at the Tuesday and Wednesday sessions – every possible Shiranamikai lesson over the five day period.
Put the first week of August in your diary for 2017, beginning Monday 31st July – Friday 4th August. In the meantime, we have beach training to look forward to in just under two weeks time!
For three days on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday preceeding the August Bank Holiday weekend, Shiranamikai held its first beach gasshuku (or ‘Shelanamikai’ as it became affectionately known) at Camber Sands, Sussex.
At the start of each session we had a gentle jog along the beach to help us warm up. Thursday and Friday we had the place pretty much to ourselves but on Saturday morning, the amazing weather brought everybody flocking to the beach. Fortunately the coastline at Camber is vast and has a gentle incline so there was still plenty of space to train on one of the many banks of sand closer to the sea. Nobody kicked sand in our faces. But they didn’t need to anyway as we seemed quite adept at doing it to ourselves. (Have you ever tried doing mae geri on a sandy beach?)
We had a total of four chilled training sessions, during which we practised Heians Shodan, Nidan and Godan, Kanku Dai, Empi and Sochin. The evenings too were enjoyable with a great bunch; back at the cottage, dinner included delicious takoyaki, courtesy of Sonoko and Miyuki and a tasty barbecue with lots of fruit and veg. With Camber being just over two-hours’ drive from London, we’ll definitely be doing it again next year!
Once training had finished on Saturday, there was just enough time for a splash around in the sea before a quick change, bite to eat, and shooting back to Swiss Cottage for our afternoon session.
Back at the dojo, it was the last* club session of the year for Sonoko, Anju and Yuma until they return next summer. We all wish them our very best and hope that they enjoy training in Japan.
*Nearly the last as they were back on Sunday morning… then trained on Monday evening too! See you soon, ladies!
This year during summer camp we looked at Kihon kata, Heians Nidan through to Godan, Jion, Empi, Unsu, Nijushiho and Sochin. Team exercises helped students explore the meaning of each sequence.
There were some very creative interpretations and entertaining demonstrations (!) but everybody worked well together to show their understanding of the kata bunkai.
After our final session on Friday it was off for some well-deserved sushi – a fitting end to the week’s training.
To those who attended each day, well done, you get a certificate for your efforts. Two students received merit for also training Tuesday and Wednesday evening, while three picked up distinction for outstanding attendance by coming Saturday and Sunday too – that’s every possible Shiranamikai lesson over the whole week!
After training on Saturday, we were out to eat again for Sonoko, Anju and Yuma’s farewell dinner!
Put the first week of August in your diary for next year: Monday 1st-Friday 5th August 2016.
Learn authentic Shotokan karate as taught by the Japan Karate Association. Come and join our karate classes in Harrow-on-the-Hill, Swiss Cottage, West Hampstead and Stanmore.