JKA England Brown & Black Belt Course, September 2013

It was apparent upon arrival at the Triangle Leisure Centre in West Sussex, that it was the same as the K2, just 20 minutes further south and just a bit smaller. It wasn’t long from once the course started until Ohta Sensei had us practising attacks and escapes linearly – stepping and sliding in a progressive gohon kumite. Kicks were delivered as non-linear ippon kumite with front, side and roundhouse; the defender blocking on escape, pulling back the front foot then using this shift energy to quickly switch legs and counter with the back foot. All exercises were driven by Sensei’s commanding shouts of “get out; get in; get away!”.

Angelo Sanna, JKA England Chief Referee gathered the 100-or-so attendees around as he demonstrated common referee motions and phrases of the type heard during competition. The idea was for everyone to listen, repeat and hopefully understanding what it all meant. Then it was mitts and gumshields ready for match practise.

Admittedly, it can be tricky to remember all the physical actions and words required for the different scenarios. Knowing what you want to say but having to remember the Japanese equivalent was just as difficult as spotting a score or deciding who, out of an exchange, was the first with an effective technique.

Finally, the people taking their dan grading later this month or in December, were asked to nominate a kata to focus on. This resulted in four groups for each of Bassai Dai, Kanku Dai, Jion and Sochin for half an hour of practise.

This was a very good course teaching distance and methods of attack, defence and counter attack. Crucially, it also served to provide all those present with an appreciation of judging and refereeing by observing scenarios from different perspectives whilst allowing some time for discussion.

Course (and AGM) over, it was time to join the heavy traffic on the M25. I stopped off at Cobham Services for a snack but after observing some people tucking in to their fast food, decided to just visit the conveniences instead.

We’re back here at the end of the month for JKA England’s Autumn Course.