Last weekend (13-14 March) we were blessed with wonderful blue skies, sunshine and complimentary temperatures giving us a very welcome change to the harsh Winter weather we have all endured over the past 4 months. This acted as a perfect backdrop to the first of the rescheduled biannual Black Belt Grading Gasshukus. The general consensus was that it is much better for everyone to hold these in March and September rather than in June and December, because of time and financial commitments of Holidays and Christmas. This change helps to ease the burden.
Saturday. As I enter the Dojo there are a handful of people lined up ready for the days 5 hour training session. After the bow I turn to them and remind them of the concept of Goju – Ryu and of the time when Anichi Miyagi Sensei was asked the question "how many students do you have"?, he replied, "one, Morio Higaonna Sensei".
The training started with the traditional warm up, followed by Chishi in dispersed with basics, combinations and stances that are fundamental to Okinawan Goju – Ryu. This was followed with basic applications from Kata. The day finished with the Kata Sanchin, this concluded a stringent and worthwhile day.
Sunday. Being Mothers day I did not anticipate a large turn out, but to my surprise the Dojo was busy. Once again after a warm up and checking of their basics, all the class demonstrated the Chishi Kata; just to refresh their enthusiasm! After a water break it was time for partner training with basic kicking and combination kicking techniques. The morning session was finished with the Kata Tensho and complete Kaishugata of Goju – Ryu.
After 8 hours of training it was time for the candidates that wish to test and prove their proficiency to do so. As there were only 4 people this meant I could scrutinise their every move! To grade at the Honbu Dojo, for those who have "been there and got the T/shirt", is no easy task, if you have not done your home work then its best that you stay at home!!
I can say with admiration that the 4 candidates were successful in there efforts, well done to you all.
After the formalities had finished everyone was invited to celebrate and toast the candidates and mingle with friends and training partners. The Honbu Dojo over the years has been a sanctuary for members and has helped them develop confidence, independence and self-esteem in Karate and life. This month's Haru Gasshuku was no exception.