Wado Ryu Karate-Do Academy
Summer Course 2013
As in previous years the Academy held its summer course in Lymington on edge of the New Forest. Arthur Meek Renshi and Kazutaka Ohtsuka Sensei conducted the course from the 27th to 31st July 2013; it was very well attended with over 80 students putting themselves through their karate paces. Members of the Academy came not only from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland but also from Finland, France, Germany, Italy and The Netherlands. On the second day the Academy’s Chief Instructor M. Shiomitsu Hanshi Shihan paid a visit to the course. Still recovering from his stroke, it was good to see him and everyone felt uplifted by his presence, after observing the training he then presented Dan grade certificates. During a break and after shaking as many hands as possible he left with Maya to return home. We look forward very much to seeing Sensei on the winter course next year.
Training was from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with a fifteen minute break in the middle of the training for much needed water and the opportunity to reflect on what had just been taught. Day 2 through to 5 also saw the addition of early morning training for those steely enough to test themselves in this way. This started with a run followed by exercises, which were designed to reinforce the principles of movement and use of one’s body that had been applied in the dojo. They were also fun. On Day 5 the exercises were replaced with a “dip in the sea” as the run took place not on the running track of the leisure centre but on the coastal path at Milford on Sea. This year the magnificent view of the Isle of Wright and the Needles were obscured by fog and the sea was very rough. Undaunted, but with safety very much to the fore, training was conducted in the boiling surf as we practiced our punching in kibadachi stance and tried to out roar the sea with our kiais! If the looks of the passer byes at 6.30 in the morning were any measure of our achievement, we may have given the sea a run for its money even if only for a very short time.
On each day, as stated above, the main training was divided into 2 sessions. The first session being taken by either Arthur Sensei or Kazutaka Sensei, while for the second session the class was split in two, with Arthur sensei putting those aspiring to undertake their Dan grading, either on this course or in the future, through their paces; while Kazutaka Sensei took the rest through advanced study of Seishan kata.
Every day brought new insights into the fundamentals of Wado Ryu Karate-Do. The initial warm up sessions, before the main training, were by and large focussed on the development internal muscles and in making the connection between the upper and lower parts of the body easier to achieve. As Shiomitsu Sensei would say one needs to be able to feel one’s body and control it to achieve the right technique, with the minimum of effort but allowing the karate-ka to apply the maximum force with devastating results. Some of the principles and techniques emphasised by both instructors were:
Ten-I – to change position
Ten-Tai – with your body
Ten-Gi – with technique
San-I Ittai – all three of the above put together
Hiraki Ashi – opening of the feet
Hiraki Koshi – opening of the hips
Tanden Training – to connect with the internal muscles of the body and to allow one’s vital energy to flow effectively when executing techniques
Kuzushi – the breaking of an opponent’s stance
Sundome – the control of one’s energy in attack so as not to injure a partner in training
On the final day a Dan grading was held. The panel consisted of A Meek 7th Dan Renshi, N Quilliam 7th Dan Sensei, K Ohsuka 6th Dan Sensei, R Howells 6th Dan Sensei and P Hill 6th Dan Sensei. Eight students put themselves forward for a grading and the following were successful and they are to be congratulated on their achievement:
Benjamin Walsh – 2nd Dan
Leonard Vincent – 1st Dan
James McCann – 1st Dan
Mark Preece – 1st Dan
Jordan Harris – 1st Dan
Adam Guntripp – 1st Dan
Finally, a word of thanks to Akiyo Shiomitsu for all her hard work in administering this course, this is the second time she has undertaken this task. As on the previous occasion she rose to the challenges and demands of 80 plus students with a great deal of patience, grace and administrative competence.
Thank you Akiyo.