We enjoyed world-class training at the weekend with Senseis, Imamura Tomio 8th Dan and Kurihara Kazuaki 5th Dan from The Japan Karate Association’s Tokyo HQ and Ohta Yoshinobu 7th Dan, Chief Instructor in England. This was a brilliant, intense, and immensely technical, 3-day course!
Kurihara’s distance-making during his kumite class was a sight to behold – him covering ground with astounding speed and power. The partner changes seemed relentless to some as his drills became ever more challenging.
Ohta’s session couldn’t have been more of a contrast, advocating the feeling and connection of technique through muscle engagement during controlled kihon and kumite. As he explained, many advanced katas contain slow movements so when practising it is vital to consider the point at which you start, transition and finish the techniques.
Imamura‘s lesson featured many close-quarter techniques and reverse hip twists that one encounters throughout kata. Many applications felt awkward at first and somewhat opposed to the expansive style of Shotokan but after practise it felt more positive. Great to explore these movements.
Congratulations to Subhash! After training finished on Sunday there was a black belt examination where he passed Shodan. Very well deserved!
Ohta Sensei’s Birthday There was another cause for celebration on Sunday with it being Ohta Sensei’s 60th birthday! There were two huge cakes organised by the association, along with a gift. It’s difficult to sum up in how high a regard he is held by everybody he teaches but Tony Cronk captured it well when he said, without you there would be no association.
Many happy returns, Ohta Sensei, from everyone at Shiranamikai!
Shiranamikai members participated in a 3-day winter gasshuku (training camp) hosted by The Japan Karate Association in England.
Tutorage was by special guest instructors Imamura Tomio 7th Dan and Hanzaki Yasuo 7th Dan from the Tokyo Sohonbu, alongside Ohta Yoshinobu 7th Dan, England’s Chief Instructor. In turn, they were supported by Senseis Adel, Roy, Gary and Giuseppe of England’s technical division.
Kata choices for brown and black belts were Friday: Chinte / Meikyo / Empi, Saturday: Jitte / Bassai Sho / Kanku Dai and Sunday: Jion / Bassai Dai. Ohta Sensei also had a section for those who were grading with alternative kata choices. Other Kyu grades were able to focus on the Heian katas while exploring applications.
These karate courses also offer a chance to catch up with friends from other clubs in the association and when not practising, the time to do other things, like on our Saturday side trip to Hever Castle!
After the last training session on Sunday, there was a Dan grading. Congratulations go to Ollie and Alex on passing their Shodan grading. Well done guys, you’ve worked long and hard. Your black belts are well deserved!
Arriving in Rye on Thursday afternoon was well-rewarded with lunch at Fletcher’s Cafe. Visiting Rye Castle was insightful, with a fascinating, brief history on what used to be one of the most notorious prisons in England. We received a thorough drenching afterwards while exploring the wider grounds and took refuge in a haunted inn(!) before our dinner in Webbe’s Fish Cafe where we met up with the wider group.
Overall there were a few red faces (and feet) at Shell-a-nami-kai this year, the result of the fantastic weather we had. Training was light, relaxed and great fun. The kata of choice this trip was Jion with appropriate basics and applications to make it easier to learn.
After training Friday morning we headed to Dungeoness, stopping for lunch at the superb roadside Snack Shack which served fresh fish of the day, and The Old Lighthouse which offered fantastic views for everyone unaffected by vertigo. The pre-radar Denge Sound Mirrors were next, with us getting as close as we possibly could, lightheartedly brainstorming how we might get even closer. In the evening it was back to the cottage and negotiate elbow space in the kitchen as we all mucked in to prepare dinner.
Our last session on Saturday morning was followed by a quick and tasty bacon bap and cup of tea at Salts Farm Cafe before heading back to London for our afternoon training session.
Training on the beach, fun outings, superb meals and great friends! That’s what Shell-a-nami-kai/Sand-A-Nami-Kai and karate is all about :-) and with theses great British summers looking set to continue, why not put aside a few days in August and join us?
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.