24th IOGKF European Gasshuku in Boulazac, France 2006
Boulazac in the Dordogne was the town where 270 eager participants from 20 countries gathered to receive training from the Higaonna Sensei who as always looked completely relaxed and in excellent condition, an inspiration to us all.
Early each morning 4th to 8th Dan would train in Sanchin and Tensho with the Master who scrutinised the smallest detail, then it was on to Suparimpei with detailed and precise improvement with many repetitions. Next it was the turn of all grades where everyone did the IOGKF warm up under the guidance of the Master, then 30 minutes of repetitive basics with an emphasis on generating power.
Then the classes were split into groups to maximise the knowledge that was available with many World and European Chief Instructors taking classes. The stadium was wonderful but with temperatures reaching 38c everyone was perspiring profusely, an intake of 3 – 4 litres of water was necessary during the 5 hours training every day.
The hotel where most of our team stayed was tucked away on a hill and not too far away was a river. We spent time there after training relaxing and trying to dissolve the lactic acid in our bodies, and to soak up some sun. I took the liberty to test my fishing skills, alas without any success.
It would be quite naïve not to have visited one of the many chateau's to test some of the wines that were available. We visited the Chateau la Grace Dieu where we sampled some of their very agreeable vintages.
In the evening we would meet for dinner, with some of the other contingents from around the world, exchanging stories of things that we had experienced during the Gasshuku .
Two of my instructors attempted their 5 th Dan examination and were successful under the scrutiny of Master Higaonna, Sensei Bakkies and Sensei Leon, congratulations to Andy Barker and Simon Budden.
My thanks to Sensei Bernard Cousin and all his staff for making this a memorable Gasshuku