23rd IOGKF European Gasshuku in Murcia, Spain 2005
After a 3 hour delay at Gatwick airport, due to the 9,000 people that were travelling that morning, I finally arrived at San Javier Airport in the province of Murcia, small but conveniently situated.
A hired car would be our means to shuttle to and from our villa to the Gasshuku Venue, which was in a place called La Unión, a little mining town with a rich history.
While there, the chief instructors of each country were to have an audience with the Mayor of La Unión, to finish the afternoon we were invited to accompany him to the city hall for a cocktail.
The first two days of training with the Master, was for Chief Instructors and 4th Dans and above. Higaonna Sensei explained the importance of doing the Sanchin and Tensho Kata, with detailed explanation on technique and breathing, he also spoke about his research trip to China, details of which he shared with us.
Then arriving from all parts of the globe, it was the turn of all grades, a staggering 480 people lined up to receive instructions from the Master, with a heat to match their enthusiasm. The training began with the traditional warm up with the Master, an introduction to what lay ahead, then the class was split into groups to maximise the wealth of knowledge that was available. The groups would rotate and have a different instructor and theme on each occasion, the feedback received would suggest complete satisfaction. After 5 hours of training it was great to be able to have a dip in the swimming pool, and then to relax in the sun.
As to the evenings, for those young and energetic the night life was there to explore down in La Manga. As for myself and those staying nearby, a trip to Los Alcázares, a very nice small town situated on the coast to sample some excellent fresh fish was our evening routine. We had an excellent evening's BBQ at our villa entertaining Higaonna Sensei and his son, Bakkies Sensei, Sensei Nunes and Nakamura Sensei.
Looking back, on attending these Gasshuku's they are awake up call to your health and ability, and gives you an insight to what you can achieve and sustain.My special thanks to Master Higaonna for his guidance and Nakamura San for his translations without this, much information would be lost, all the Gasshuku staff for there work in making this a memorable event.
All photographs kindly submitted by Howie Hamilton of Canada