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JKA England Spring 2014 Gasshuku

Everybody enjoyed this excellent JKA England spring gasshuku which delivered a great mix of form, energy and education!

Visiting instructors Osaka Yoshiharu 8th Dan and Okuma Koichiro 6th Dan had travelled from the JKA Honbu in Tokyo while Nagatomo Yasuaki 6th Dan, Chief Instructor of JKA New Mexico flew in from the US. All three joined JKA England’s Ohta Yoshinobu 7th Dan for this popular international four-day training course.

Each instructor brought his own unique training methods but all four were distinctly JKA. Osaka Sensei broke kata into sections for repetition and allowed plenty of time to explain muscle engagement and to check body positions. Okuma Sensei brought strength and speed to kumite drills. He introduced a scientific approach by explaining body axis movement and correct breathing in order to harness one’s inner strength. Nagatomo Sensei’s friendly manner and encouraging feedback proved popular with many people. His off-balance/over-balance and take-down lesson was very interesting while his “now, eyes closed!” kumite left many people feeling on edge! Ohta Sensei did not disappoint either with his boundless energy and superb kumite lesson which used ideas from the kata Empi. The kicking drills incorporating ushiro mawashi geri were enjoyable too.

These international training camps are an invaluable way to learn and improve technique. Three hours goes by very quickly! It’s also a nice opportunity to get to know your fellow club members better and make new friends from neighbouring countries Norway and Germany or those farther afield like Israel and Canada!

The next international course will take place at the end of September with Ohta Sensei’s special guest instructors Shina Katsutoshi 7th Dan from the Tokyo Honbu and Sawada Kazuhiro 7th Dan from Belgium.

I look forward to seeing you there!


Shiranamikai 5-Year Anniversary Training

There was a great turnout at the Swiss Cottage dojo for Shiranamikai’s 5-year anniversary. As well as our own club members, we were pleased to welcome two of our friends from JKA Scotland, Senseis Bert and Martin, who were down South for the weekend and with Ohta Sensei taking the class, it all made for a great atmosphere!

After an enthusiastic warm-up from Darius, it was down to basics and partner combinations which formed a precursor to the kata Gankaku (meaning crane on a rock). This kata shows well, the long stances particular to Shotokan karate but the complexity lies in maintaining one’s composure while changing height and direction.

Time really flew by in this session and as we neared the end, the dojo floor cleared and Ohta Sensei demonstrated Gankaku in its entirety, which was superb to observe. Finally, brown and black belts performed the kata one last time before the class was over.

Alaa was primed with two of his delicious handmade cakes and Delia had also prepared crates of bite-sized (read: mouth-filling) cupcakes – all washed down with a soft drink courtesy of Sheila! We spent the next couple of hours in a local Italian restaurant. Unsurprisingly, nobody ordered dessert.

Five years after the club’s inception, it is incredibly rewarding to see how Shiranamikai students and the club as a whole have developed. This is down to everybody who comes to train at our dojos and contributes to the great atmosphere.



Shiranamikai’s first lesson was 6th January 2009