Category Archives: Special Club Sessions & Kyu Gradings

Imamura Tomio Sensei 7th Dan Visits Shiranamikai

Shiranamikai was delighted to welcome Imamura Tomio Sensei 7th Dan, from the JKA Tokyo Sohonbu, to our dojo on 19th September for a special training session.

Imamura Sensei is a regular guest instructor at JKA England’s international courses and brings with him a wealth of experience. Having him visit to teach at class-level was an opportunity too good to miss and with Ohta Sensei on hand too, it was priceless.

For course attendees who had a hankering for more training after the end of the gasshuku or those who found the prospect of 3 hours training of the JKA England course a little demanding, this session was spot-on. It was class instruction in body dynamics for karate. Imamura Sensei took care to break down everything he could, in the time allowed, to aid development. It was nothing short of a masterclass.

Imamura Sensei explained directional energy – how to create it, hold onto it, and redirect it. To demonstrate the strengths and weaknesses of projecting and holding energy in front stance, he used Ohta Sensei as model: pushing, pulling, stepping on, and climbing up his body frame!

His kumite exercise was defending against mae geri, oi tsuki by using gedan barai, age uke. First with a step, second with a slide. Counter was slide back in gyaku tsuki. Defending against the front kick is very close so you have to block on the way. The punch then comes in very quickly so you need a fast reaction to escape and block before closing the distance back down for the counter.

We finished up the training with Heian Sandan, Godan and Bassai Dai and, like with the rest of the lesson, he had a close eye on everything we were doing, correcting us as we were counted through each move.

In Sensei’s closing words, he asked that we practise what we covered in class. And of the details that one can habitually forget, Sensei stressed it is important to remember them all.

This was a superb lesson and we are all grateful for Imamura Sensei for taking the time to visit.

Shell-A-Nami-Kai Beach Training, Summer 2016

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.

Training by the sea is enormous fun and something we’ll continue to do as a club. We can all enjoy the beaches safely by being well-informed and with the added reassurance of RNLI lifeguards who will, hopefully, become a permanent fixture:

5th Shiranamikai Summer Camp, August 2016

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!

Club Training & Grading, June 2016

Ohta Sensei taught a superb lesson of fundamentals, kumite and kata, paying particular attention to Heian Nidan, Bassai Dai and Jion on this occasion.

The atmosphere inside the dojo is noticably more intense when Ohta Sensei visits, and rightly so – great to see everyone training enthusiastically!

Well done those who have been practising so diligently recently, it showed during your grading!

First Training of the Year 2016

Welcome back to the dojo!

Our Christmas break was shorter this time than on previous years and we had the mid-holiday session too. Even just a few days rest can make it difficult to get going again especially after a sedentary Christmas, but it felt good being back in the dojo!

Maybe you’ve had a few days rest or a few years, or perhaps you are new to martial arts and thinking about trying some karate classes. Whatever your motivation, the main thing to do is get yourself along to whatever it is that catches your interest. Give it a go. The New Year is a great time to start.

And if you do find your way to one of our dojos, you’ll be most welcome.


Last Training of the Year 2015

Our final class of the year took place on a Sunday morning. After stretching and a light jog around the grounds, it was back into the dojo for upper body basics and kumite. Leg work came later on once we’d properly warmed up. Having just a few days off has such a marked effect on the body! We finished off the session with Heians 1-5 and Tekki.

The mood was good and the atmosphere really positive – well done guys, you trained really hard! Tea and mince pies (thanks, Sensei Sho) were thoroughly deserved!

See you back in Swiss Cottage dojo 2nd January 2016!


Club Training & Grading, December 2015

After a brilliantly inventive warm-up, Ohta Sensei took lead of the class; slowly through basics to check positions and similarly during kumite, where lots of repetitions with the aim of correct movement over speed and power allowed time to make adjustments. Katas too, were each carefully counted before grading level groups split off with their own instructor for extra practise and to implement any last minute corrections.

Overall, the standard was good and everybody passed their grading. But there is always room for improvement so make sure you practise regularly while away from the dojo and keep checking your own movements even if you’re sure you are doing them correctly. Sensei gave lots of feedback during the class and helpful advice after the grading so please take it onboard and use it to help you progress your technique.