With only a few sleeps until Christmas Day we managed to fit in Keiko Osame (the last training of the year) followed by a club grading! As usual, Ohta Sensei gave us an excellent workout during the special training session.
While the grading saw all students being awarded the next level, the results were by no means a foregone conclusion. Sensei highlighted some development points which we will be sure to work on together in 2011.
This year there was also a special club prize for dedication to karate, and this went to Connor, someone who stands out as having put considerable effort into his karate over the past year. We look forward to seeing continued progress from everyone next year – with the club re-opening on 8th January. In the meantime have a refreshing Christmas break!
Sensei Austin and I had our fingers crossed on 7th September, given that tube strikes were expected to cause transport mayhem. As it turned out, the majority of our group were able to arrive at the O2 in very good time for the special training and kyu grading with Ohta Sensei.
We started with the choku-tsuki (straight punch) in parallel stance, with special attention to using the core to create stability and also to tidy rotation of the forearms and fists. From there, we practised gedan-barai, with emphasis on hip twist. It wasn’t long before Sensei has us combine these techniques with the different kinds of transition needed for Kihon kata. Sensei confirmed that it is possible to understand a lot about a person’s karate ability just by seeing them perform Kihon. As straightforward as this kata may seem, a high skill level is needed to execute the different turning movements correctly and cleanly. It is a kata in which there is nowhere to hide!
The training moved on to incorporate further exercises to help students refine their basic movements as well as dissections of each of the Heian kata. We also enjoyed practising the kumite sequences for each grade, with Sensei encouraging us all to take care with the distancing and timing. It was an action-packed session requiring energy and mental focus. Sixth Kyu and above had to work particularly hard, staying on the dojo floor for the entire 90 minute training session and enduring a challenging exercise in pairs to develop strength, flexibility and targeting skills for the various kicks.
After a short break, students dug a little deeper to find stamina and concentration for the grading itself. There were a number of strong performances despite signs of a few nerves having crept in here and there. But what really stood out was the determination and spirit from each person to give his or her best.
Those who had taken the Kyu grading left with a change of belt colour and some positive comments from Sensei on how to improve further. Congratulations to all!
On Saturday morning at John Lyon Sports Centre, we were very lucky to be visited by the current JKA European Karate Champions: Roisin, Rachel and Jana.
At this year’s Championship held in Bochum, Germany, the three took European Gold in the Junior Ladies Team Kata event. Roisin also won Gold in Individual Junior Ladies Kumite and Silver in Junior Ladies Individual Kata, while Jana won Bronze in Individual Junior Ladies Kumite.
Roisin led the class stretch at the beginning and we stayed together through a selection of kihon-waza until everybody was warmed-up. Then our guests each led a group through kata. With the club grading coming up in 3 days time, this was a great opportunity to pick up some helpful pointers from some very talented, young karate-ka.
At the end of the class, Roisin, Rachel, Jana and Sensei Jeni each performed their own favourite katas: Sochin, Nijushiho, Gankaku and Chinte. All were impressive, but judging by the gasps of excitement from the audience, the most favoured part of the morning was a demonstration of the winning team kata, Unsu. With its assortment of fast and slow techniques and a dramatic 360 degree aerial manoeuvre towards the end, this is one of the most demanding kata in the Shotokan repertoire.
A special thanks to all our guests for taking the time to come and visit our club, and the very best of luck to Roisin, who left the UK for Japan the very next day, to further her karate training at JKA Honbu dojo in Tokyo.
Congratulations to our students for their success at the recent kyu grading at the O2 Centre, Finchley Road. Despite the slightly unfortuitous date, everyone turned up on time and passed!
Prior to the grading, club members were inspired by a one hour special training session with Ohta Sensei, 6th Dan and Head of JKA England.
Sensei worked us hard through kihon (basic movements), kata (formal exercises) and kumite (sparring). Throughout, the focus on hip rotation, smooth footwork and correct form provided a challenge for Shiranamikai students and instructors alike!
It’s great to see club members making progress through the ranks and we look forward to seeing continued effort in the dojo.
Another great opportunity to train with Ohta Sensei is coming soon. It’s the Spring 2010 JKA England International karate course at the Guildford Spectrum, which will also feature visiting instructors Osaka Yoshiharu and Naka Tatsuya from JKA HQ in Tokyo and Mori Masataka from JKA New York. See our events page for further details.
JKA Summer Training Course & Grading, 28th–30th August 2009, Guildford with Ueki Sensei 8th dan Japan , Taniyama Sensei 6th dan Japan and Ohta Sensei 6th dan England
This weekend was an enjoyable one for Shiranamikai Harrow. Sheila, Daniel and Parth all attended the JKA England Summer International Course at Guildford, alongside Club Instructors Austin and Sasha.
The course featured top level instruction and as always we learnt a lot and came away inspired. Sensei Austin was really impressed with the energy and enthusiasm that everyone from our group put into the training. Each day of the course started with an hour of energetic practise involving the whole group, after which students were split into groups. While Shiranamikai students were among the least experienced of the course attendees, they showed true karate spirit by giving 100% effort to everything that was asked of them.
Daniel did a great job of keeping up his energy levels over all three days of the course. There was also great determination from Parth, who at age 6 was probably the youngest course participant!
On the Saturday there was a kyu grading. Parth and Daniel were successful in passing their first grading for 9th kyu. Sheila moves up to red belt having passed 8th kyu. Congratulations to everyone. We look forward to seeing continued progress.