Summer Course report by Sensei Robert Howells

On August 21, 2014, in General, by gordonfong


SUMMER COURSE, 26 – 30 JULY 2014

As in previous years the Wado Academy 2014 summer course was held at the Lymington Health and Leisure Centre in Hampshire. Over 80 people attended the course. As before Wado Academy students from many different countries came to practice. The list this year included, France, Germany, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and of course England. Thanks to everyone for making the effort to attend and showing support for the Academy and in particular for M. Shiomitsu 9th Dan Hanshi Shihan, the Academy’s Chief Instructor.

Like last year Shiomitsu Sensei, half way through the course, came to see how training was progressing and present Dan grade certificates. Everyone was delighted to see him. It is quite clear that he takes a keen interest in how the Academy progresses and is still the driving force and inspiration to all Academy students.

This year the instructors on the course led by Sensei Arthur Meek 7th Dan Kyoshi, were: Sensei Kazutaka Otsuka, Sensei Nick Quillam 7th Dan and Sensei Peter Hill 6th Dan. Sensei Rob Howells MBE 6th Dan provided support to Akiyo Shiomitsu in the running of the course and he joined his fellow instructors on the Dan grade panel at the end of the course.

Each day of the course different aspects of Wado Ryu were highlighted by each instructor. On the first day Arthur Sensei started the course with a look at some of the basic techniques, such as junzuki and gyakuzuki. He emphasised the need for minimum movement in applying these techniques and the importance of doing them correctly. They are the fundamental building blocks of Wado Ryu and if they are not applied correctly other techniques will not have a firm base and this inadequacy will come through when doing blocks, kata and free fighting. After a break Kazutaka Sensei explained and demonstrated the need to use one’s internal muscles and energy when applying techniques. He illustrated this by going through the first quarter of the kata Bassai.

Each day after this started with early morning training from 6.30 onwards for an hour, led by Arthur Sensei. Over 25 students braved the rigors of a run which was followed by additional training, but on the final day they were rewarded by training on the beach at Milford on Sea and a swim. Unlike last year the conditions were perfect; the sea was calm; the sun shone and the whole experience was very invigorating for everyone with a spectacular view of the Isle of Wight and the Needles.

On day two Kazutaka Sensei took the warm up and continued his lesson on the use of internal muscles and energy, using various kata to illustrate this. These techniques were then applied in pair work. The second half saw Arthur Sensei take those who were considering taking a Dan grade either on the course or in the future. Kazutaka Sensei continued with pair work; take downs and emphasised the use of the whole relaxed body to achieve the desired effect.

Day three saw Peter Hill Sensei take the warm up and he then took everyone through the ten Ippon Kumite that form a fundamental aspect of the Academy grading syllabus. The second half again saw Arthur Sensei go through Dan grading material and Kazutaka Sensei go through kata applications. In the evening there was a BBQ for everyone on the course. This was organised and hosted by Gordon Fong. It was an enjoyable and very sociable evening, with the opportunity being taken to raise money for charity and £150 was raised for the Stroke Association.

The following day Arthur Sensei continued to explain various kata applications and everyone practiced Gumite Gata numbers 5 and 6. The session concluded with light sparring. The second session saw Arthur continue to take training for Dan gradings and Kazutaka Sensei demonstrated Idori number 5; the correct way to take down an opponent; rolling and foot work.

The final day followed the same format as before but with the difference that the very final session was taken outside on the playing fields. Kihon Gumite numbers 1 to 5 were practiced and it was a very fitting way to finish the course.

Eight Academy students went forward to take their 1st Dan grading. Out of these eight, four were successful and our congratulations go to them for gaining their 1st Dan:

Daniele Valli – France
Bradley Squires – Bridgewater
Charley Prole Devon Wado Ryu
Norman Bolton Devon Wado Ryu