_ First I would like to say thank you all for attending this weekend and supporting me, it’s a pleasure to see people that just think about their training and the pursuit of Okinawan Goju – Ryu, I have over many years given my time and effort to help people achieve their aspirations. So this is the time when effort and diligent training is put to the test and your presentation will lead to the success or demise as a grading should be just a formality.
Training started at 10am on Saturday with the Honbu Dojo traditional warm up, then basics with impact in any direction which helps to develop coordinated fighting skills. After a water break, Kata bunkai for Gekisai to Kururufa and Kata scrutinising each move. The training finished at 4pm, some of the people went straight to the Sauna to chill – out.
On Sunday 10am after the bow Sensei John Healy 4th Dan led the running. The pace was acceptable for a while then after 20 minutes the grading candidates were told to keep running and were put through their paces, trying to keep up with Sensei John, which is no easy feat. After a further 15 minutes the call to stop was welcomed by all.
After the warm up and a recap of the previous day, the Kata was repeated over and over again, then everyone partnered and demonstrated their understanding of Kakie with throws and then more Kata and bunkai.
After lunch the grading candidates lined up for the test. After 3 hours of arduous training with some powerful iri – kumi the last leg of the journey was sounded, Star – Jumps, Sit ups and Push ups, I am proud of the entire group for showing so much spirit.
After the announcements were made and everyone freshened up it was Party time. At first no one wanted to eat, I think this was because they wanted to reflect on the past two days and emotions started to show, however soon the party got into the swing.
My special thanks to the people that helped during the weekend and the grading.
Editors note: Photos are not usually taken during the grading but on this occaision some of the aspects have been documented. We join the grading with advanced kata before moving onto demonstration of bunkai. This was followed by kakie, kumite, pad work and chishi kata before the final "spirit test".
_Immediately what comes to mind is the oriental world of the graceful Crane bird.
As to the spirit world, the Phoenix bird symbolizes immortality and the resurrection of life after death. Only one Phoenix exists at one time, which would suggest only one Kata. The Phoenix was usually depicted as the Heron but in classic literature as a Peacock or an Eagle.
The first movement to the side could suggest the Crane bird warding of an attacker, the forward movement could indicate the flapping of the wings in an attack.
The movement at 45° suggests the Heron bird stalking it pray, close to the waters edge and the middle knuckle thrust could be deduced as the beak of the Heron bird piercing it’s pray.
From the low stance, and rising with both hands aloft, this could be the Graceful display of the Peacock bird, signifying detail, precision, colour and beauty.
And the last move is the representation of a Peacock bird, display it’s non-compliance to be approached, the Kiai (the shout for spirit) is quite daunting.
Cambridge Goju Ryu celebrated it's second birthday today with a special three hour open course. Thank you to all those that came to support the club and a special thanks to the guest instructors Sensei George Andrews and Sensei Dave Amber.
After a quick warm up we split into two groups. Whilst the junior grades practiced a variety of self defence techniques with Sensei Dave, the black and brown belts recieved instruction on Sanchin kata from Sensei George. After a brief break Sensei George introduced the junior grades to Sanchin and the senior grades practiced basic techniques with movement and a decent amount of conditioning led by Sensei Martin.
We concluded our training as a group with makiwara training making good use of the crash mats for both punching and kicking.
Thanks again to all the participants for making this course a success.
The OTGKA was invited to demonstrate at two Japanese events in London last year. The first event was Okinawa Day, held in Spitalfields in June. The two photos below were taken by Stephen Chung (click here for more photos).
This was followed by a demonstration at Japan Matsuri in September. This photo was taken by Laura Hilton-Smith, winning 3rd prize in the photography awards.
Thank you to the photographers for giving kind permission to re-post these images.
_There is a suggestion that this Kata could be a sister Kata to Seiyunchin, as it uses supported or double handed techniques and the absence of Zenkustu dachi.
The first move suggests interaction of the planets and space in time; it also represents the circle of life and that time is only seeing the past.
The double handed techniques suggest the power of working together as a commodity for the good of all and the prolongation of truth.
The 45° step and the double hand movement suggest the turbulent waters before a tidal wave then the descent into a low stance suggests an earthquake.
Then the spiralling movement is a fearsome tornado to the end move, suggesting the beginning of calm.
_ Your foot movements should resemble the time lapse of a hypnotic Cobra snake.
From the first kame and punch, imaging you are trying to extinguish a lighted candle without touching it.
On the retraction and the turning of the hands, imaging you are doing Sanchin breathing without noise, at the same time your arms are as powerful as a boa constrictor, until the Juji Uke, which resembles the bite of the Cobra.
_ The kick, elbow and punch suggests a stampede of horses.
From the Juji Uke think like the stealth of a tiger, ready to pounce and surprise it’s pray.
As to the last move, this resembles a begging or happy dog.
The Element that this Kata portrays is Fire.
Shisochin Kata resembles the Dragon.
The Nukite strike could demonstrate the defiant mood of the Dragon, hissing and displaying it’s tongue.
The step back and then quickly moving forward suggests Karate Ni Sente Nashi and the Mawashi like movement could be the wings of the Dragon in defence.
The distinctive Zenkustu Dachi is the element of Fire and the four different directions that the Kata displays suggest the Dragon attacking forward and at the same time defending the rear end with its tail.
The palm heel strike to the face suggests the advancing of the flame and the downward palm heel strike could represent the tail in defence.
The Hiki Uke movement and the kick into Zenkustu Dachi could represent the descent of the Dragon crushing its foe.
To the last move, Tora Guchi, this could be the Dragon proudly displaying it’s triumph.
Looking back over the years not much as changed on the Isle of Wight, it still reminds me of the early 60’s and it is a pleasure to be invited back once again to conduct a one day course with Sensei Mick Dewey 8th Dan SEKU and the coordinator Sensei Mark Elliott 5th Dan SEKU.
I travelled across by ferry which takes about 40 minutes, in this time you can witness some of the coastline and its beauty which has a long line of history. On arriving I made my way to Sensei Mark's house where I was greeted by Sensei Mike whom I have not seen for 15 years. It was quite a emotional time, we sat and talked about old times we had spent together in the past.
That evening I was invited out to dinner, I had a wonderful Fish supper then I went back to the hotel to get a good night sleep ready for training in the morning, at 9.15 – 10.30am I started with the Children I counted about 30, all were eager and ready to go.
Then it was the turn of the Adults and Cadets I counted about 35 people and after an hour of arduous warming up we split the class into groups, Sensei Mick took the kyu grades and I took the black belts and after 2 hours Sensei Mick focused on Kata and I focused on self – defence and then for the last hour I was invited to take all black belts so I focused on the Kata Tensho and Kakie (Sticky Hands) everyone was excited with this discipline.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Sensei Mark Elliott and his wife Lisa for such a lovely time.
Chief Instructor OTGKA