I arrived in Gdansk to a chilling morning and was met by Sensei Marian Czylkowski. We made our way to Leba where I would stay for the duration of my trip; the guest house is run by Sensei’s Andrzej and Monika Markowski. After settled in, I was invited to join Andrzej and his family and Sensei Marian for dinner, because I have not been to Poland for 2 years we had a lot to catch up on, and to discuss the schedule for this visit.
The next day I invited Sensei Marian for private training, I checked his Kata and he as improved then breaking down Seisan Kata he was very pleased to be corrected, then I invited Andrzei and his wife Monika to join us working through the curriculum and corrective training all seemed very happy.
The Gasshuku was over 3 days starting on Friday evening, with Basics and Kata with Applications the time went so quick.
Saturday morning after breakfast we made our way to the Dojo where I was greeted by the Children, who were eagerly waiting for training, and then it was the turn of the Adults. After a brisk warm up, Kata and Bunkai dominated most of the session, as a plus I talk, about using your imagination in Kata and added some Buddhist concept in Kata.
On Sunday morning once again it was the Children ready and waiting; as I entered the Dojo I was greeted by Sensei Adam Litwinski a long time student of mine, and the Senior Instructor of IOGKF in Poland. Then once again Adults training with warm up first, then Bunkai from Gekisai to Sanseru, and then an introduction to basic knife defence, to finish Sanchin, Turning Sanchin and Tensho with Bunkai, everyone was happy with the diversity of techniques.
After 8 hours of Karate – Do it was time for the examination, 5 people lined up ready to test then after scrutinising each one only 4 sat the test, then after 2 hours of the curriculum, I’m please to announce the all were successful in their attempt. So congratulations to Andrzei Markowski, 3rd Dan Pass, Monika Markowski 2nd Pass, Katarzyna Becker 2nd Dan Pass and Slawomir Zdanowski 2nd Dan Pass, I would just like to add how much I was impressed with the Ladies, well done to all.
My special thanks to the Mayor of Wicko Mr. Dariusz Walaśkiewicz for his support in making this Gasshuku a very successful event.
This Summer the OTGKA held a residential training course at Ardingly College in Sussex. Training together, eating together and sleeping under one roof, coming together as a community. Students started arriving late morning on Friday 19th August in time to start commence at 2pm. After 3 hours of training several students took advantage of the large swimming pool on site to relax in. We then gathered in the dining hall of the college for our dinner. Everyone agreed that the food provided over the weekend was superb. The first day was rounded off with a "pub quiz" - kindly provided by The Empress pub in Cambridge.
On Saturday we trained for a full day, 9 - 12.30 and 2.30 - 5. The day started with everyone training together under Sensei George. We then split into three groups according to grade and enjoyed the rest of the day training further with Sensei George, who focussed on knife defense, Sensei Andre, who kindly provided an introduction to the bo staff and Sensei Joost, who ran a session devoted to break-falls and ground work techniques. After another chance to relax in the pool and sharing our evening meal, we listened to brief lectures on a variety of topics.
The weekend finished on Sunday with a final morning of training in groups under Sensei George, Sensei Dick and Sensei Dave. This was the largest event that the OTGKA has run for several years. Many thanks to all of the instructors and participants for making this a great event. We have received lots of positive feedback so the association will organise a similar event for next Summer.
It was a very good Gasshuku according to the feedback I received, the challenge this year was to complete 2500 Push ups, Sit ups, Leg squats and Samui Star jumps, which was required in the morning training after a warm up and 45 minutes of intense Pad work, 180 of the above mentioned. The same was required in the evening training after the completion of technical and methodology training, Kata and Bunkai; everyone was feeling the apprehension about completing this mammoth task over the week.
However, by Thursday evening everyone was eager to complete the programme and some even did more. I’m pleased to report that some people lost 5 kilos. This Gasshuku is limited to 30 people and on this occasion there were 22 people, including contingents from Vietnam, Denmark, Germany, Malaysia, Thailand and England.
After each morning session, there were lectures on Physiology and Anatomy, Nutrition, History of Karate-do, Criminology and Prevention of injury.
At the end of the Gasshuku I was approached by Sensei Geoff's wife, Aell and we had a meeting about future Gasshuku in Samui Dojo Resort. It was quite emotional and she said that she will close the Dojo after we finish, because she wants to create more rooms to rent, we were both very sad, but I said no problem you must do what is best for the future of your family.
You may remember when the Marble Factory Dojo was destroyed by fire I just thought that it is time to move on, and the same with the Institute, and now I must move on again, so I’m pleased to pronounce that I have found a place which is a Muay Thai Gym. It is fully equipped with showers and toilets and they are very happy to accommodate us.
I have confirmed the dates with them and this will be 20th – 26th March 2017, I will send all details out soon. Looking forward to seeing you all again on the Gasshuku in Paradise, Koh Samui, Thailand.
San dan gi number one and number two are part of the IOGKF curriculum. The remaining exercises have been developed by Sensei George Andrews to prepare the body for the demands of kata. These drills provide a system to practice basic offensive and defensive techniques while moving through the stances utilised in kata.
Start with right leg back in Sanchin Dachi, blocking left Chudan Uke – Chudan Kamae. The basic pattern incorporates three steps forward followed by three steps backwards, but to develop both sides of the body the pattern should be repeated, i.e. moving forward six steps before moving backwards.
San Dan Gi One to Five focus on Sanchin Dachi, Shiko Dachi and Zen Kutsu Dachi. These drills can very easily be incorporated into a two person drill. San Dan Gi Six to Ten focus on development of Neko Ashi Dachi. This second set of drills can also be performed as a two person exercise with the attacker moving in a straight line and the defender moving very quickly across to the line of attack
Saturday morning we made our way to the well known London landmark Trafalgar Square, to perform a demonstration of Goju Ryu Karate-Do, the weather didn’t look promising, but as the day progressed the Sun came out with lovely blue sky.
The official opening was by his Excellency Mr Keiichi Hayashi, Ambassador of Japan.
There were many thousands of people coming and going, the main stage was for Classical and folk music and Taiko drums, there was also Classical and modern dancing. On the Martial Arts stage there was Satsuma Kenshi Hayato, Karate-Do, Kendo, Aikido and Judo.
There were many stalls which offered traditional Japanese Food, Tea and crafts. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the members of the team for a wonderful performance especially the Children, Ross, Harry, Abdul and Joaga.
Photos courtesy of Jean-Marc Baudoux. For more photos see the album on flickr.
The training was held in Malaga, the temperature was 35-37°C, one day it was 40°C and with no air conditioning at the venue. The venue was 15 minutes by taxi from our hotel, it was quite a big Sports Stadium with an array of active sports available for Children and Adults alike.
After all the greetings, we were called to line up, I counted about 300 people which was down on previous Gasshuku, as this was due to the Master being absent, there are normally 500 – 700 people that attend this annual event.
As to training every morning for one hour 3rd – 8th dans trained under Sensei Bakkies and I must add the training was informative by breaking down each Kata move by move.
The general training was started by Sensei Nakamura, and then it was split into groups, the most senior instructors would share their knowledge with each group for an hour, when training had finished we would make our way back to the hotel to a small but welcoming swimming pool, and then bask in the Sun, and yes replenish our thirst with a cool beer.
In the evening we would meet in the lobby, and walk the short distance to some fine restaurants in the back streets of the town, and my favorite food is Fish and Sea Food, the Sea food platter consisted Calamari, Squid, Prawns, Sardines and Fish in abundance, and sometimes we were entertained with local musicians.
My Special thanks to Sensei Luis and his Staff for a great job, and not forgetting Martin and Louise for arranging my accommodation and Gasshuku.
Seminar on street fighting techniques. Sensei George Andrews, Moscow 1994.
Chief Instructor OTGKA