Shiramizu with Wadokai England members
from British Karate Academy – Sensei Lee Minion
& Traditional Karate-do Wadokai – Sensei Jamie Jewell
& Hartlepool Wadokai – our club!
Tonight Amy and I took 15 of the Wadokai England entourage up to Sugito to train at Shiramizu with Takamasa Arakawa Sensei. We had to take the train in two waves because some of the guys were delayed getting to the hotel, I sent Amy on ahead and I brought the rest of them with me… By total chance, we all somehow ended up on EXACTLY the same train that pulled into KUKI station for the transfer on the Tobu line to WADO station.
It was a scary sight, and one that has never been seen in the sleepy Sugito town before – 15 foreigners strutting along… all heading in the same direction, to the Shiramizu dojo. We turned up just in time for the start of class and we were all greated like old friends, and some bemused smiles before the guys quickly got changed for the start of the class. The dojo isn’t very big so I was pleased with the warm welcome that we received. I must admit, I was embarrassed taking so many people at one time since we effectively took over the dojo.
I’m still out of commission with my knee, so I got to compare the English with the Japanese, I must say that there wasn’t much in it between the cadet/juniors in the kata. It was a really good session, led entirely by Arakawa Sensei himself. I think Arakawa Sensei spent sometime ‘sizing up’ the various cadets & juniors during the basics and foot work drills – because let’s not forget, they’ll be competing against each other at the weekend. The session moved quickly onto Kata, with groups of students performing a number of kata at a time. This quickly becomes a mental endurance game due to the heat and humidity. All the students fed off each others energy and it was great to see our Kata guys performing on par with Shiramizu. The session finished with line / partner fight drills against a partner.
The entourage on the platform at ‘Wado’ station after training
Arakawa Sensei’ great sense of humour and friendliness came across instantly in the class and as usual everyone worked very hard, but had a great time doing it. The Shiramizu team didn’t want to be out done by the English and vice versa, so the atmosphere was great with everyone working that little bit harder. Sensei also had a chance to practise his English too.
Arakawa Sensei said a few words and asked me to translate, I paraphrased and thanked the England Team for training at Shiramizu and said something like ‘it’s good practise for everyone who’ll be competing at the Wadokai Nationals at the weekend’ and wished everyone luck. Sensei cracked a small joke at my expense explaining that Amy studied tons of Japanese whilst on the internship whereas I didn’t… I explained in my best Japanese that I was very busy… 🙂
After the session everyone was presented with a special ‘Wado’ face towel and keyring, we took a couple of group shots and everyone hung about for a while practising their English and getting to know each others names. We them headed back to the station for an eventful trip back to Ikebukuro where I got to practise (and totally blag!) a number of conversations in Japanese with the station ticket masters.
It should be noted that Jamie Jewell Sensei & all his group had only just got back from climbing Mount Fuji – the biggest and most famous mountain in Japan when we set off for the Dojo. No rest for the wicked!
On Tuesday, Amy and I took Nicole, Abby & Aaron (Kobukan Darlington) but Sensei was running a pre-belt test examination straight after the lesson so we all forgot about the group shot BUT I did get this one:
Thank you Arakawa Sensei and Shiramizu for letting us all train… we’ve all had a great time!