Sensei Keith Walker course
Saturday 4th July 2015 saw the return of Sensei Keith Walker to the club for another excellent Wado Masters course.
Thank you to Sensei for once again coming to Hartlepool, and to those from other clubs who made the journey to support the event. Thank you also to our students who came along to train too.
The course started with full body exercises to get us moving, with a particular emphasis on keeping the hips low and went on to cover the centre line in detail, especially whilst practising basics. This was broken down by taking junzuki-dachi to a neutral position at the half way point, before finishing. The centre being key to the entire movement, and not allowing the punch to drag the body into place, but rather have the hips be the driving force. Body torque was also covered extensively, in particular with gyakuzuki (reverse punch), and neko-ashi-dachi (cat stance), again with an emphasis on the centre line and relaxation.
All the basics were really an exercise in internal relaxation and movement, fundamental to Wado and the difference between being able to deliver maximum force into an opponent with minimal effort and, well, hurting yourself. The basics naturally progressed to Kata where it was actually quite difficult to put our learnings from single movements into a complete Kata – much more practise required.
Image from indigosociety.com
I think a lot of Karate training, in particular the sport side focuses too much on the ‘external’ i.e. what a technique looks like, what silhouette your body makes etc… we tend to train hard on making these shapes and build up strong muscles but are we actually causing more harm? is our typical training overemphasising muscle development over relaxation? causing muscle imbalances and alignment problems? There’s a really interesting graphic on the Internal Power Facebook page which summarises this point perfectly.
Wado should really be about using the centre and being relaxed. Learning how to teach these two elements better to our students is vital, else Wado Karate will simply become another ‘sport’.
This exercise (which I’ve stolen and dubbed ‘Box Kata’) was all about focusing on the movement of the body rather than the shape of the technique. As Sensei explained, when performing a Kata, we are often focussed on the end result, the shape of the technique rather than how the body actually gets from A-B.
We performed a Kata inside a small 3x3m box marked on the floor with belts, the Kata movements could be performed in any direction, rather than sticking to the Kata structure. To keep things interesting, there were 3 students inside the box, all practising at the same time. Unfortunately we weren’t supposed to step on the belts, or strike through our team if they got in the way. It was an interesting lesson in Zanshin (awareness) as well as taking note of the way the body moves.
We progressed to more difficult Kata, and, with an even smaller box marked out, solo Kushanku (quite a long Kata, with multiple dynamic changes of body position and direction).
Sensei gave a Masterclass in Kihon Kumite which I’m not even going to try to explain in detail. He basically showed how the exercises work on the simple premise of working your opponent on the inside or outside with either a gedan, chudan or jodan strike, whilst using the mechanics of the body maximally rather than making pretty shapes, no bells and whistles, but effective.
Another excellent course, and once again I personally learned tons.
We will hopefully be able to get Sensei Keith Walker up to the club again over the next few months, we’ve got a crammed calendar but we’ll see what we can do.
Sensei Keith Walker course @ Dojo HQ
We arranged a last minute training course with Sensei Keith Walker at our club today. The course was mainly to help our higher grade students prepare for their upcoming Dan grades but we also had a session just for our juniors too.
The juniors trained 12-2pm and the seniors 2-6pm (we had an extra hour than planned!). We were all put through some great movement exercises and a thorough warm-up. This was followed by basics, with special emphasis on the correct way of moving the body without diminishing the effect.
Working with partners, we continued with the theme of effectively using the body and this progressed for the seniors into Kihon Kumite and Kumite Gata (advanced pairs work). This is exactly what our advanced students and us instructors need.
It was a very good course, we would have liked to have seen a few more students attend but understand that this was very short notice – and there is a club event on every weekend until Christmas! It actually worked well that each group was small as it allowed Sensei Keith to spend extra time with each student, sometimes when you attend a course with 50+ people in the hall it can be difficult to grasp the more difficult things being taught, or if there is a great mix of abilities then the course may be tailored to the less experienced – this was great because it was advanced theory and practical for advanced students. Well done to all, we’re looking at dates for early next year for another course with Sensei Keith Walker.
It’s been a busy year so far at the club but we’ve got loads of events coming up for you to enjoy.
Saturday 15th November – EKF Northern Regional Squad Training, Dojo HQ, Hartlepool
This is competition fight training for anyone 10 years & above, the course needs to be booked on to in advance. Please visit the EKF website to download the form. Note the form must be submitted by 5pm on Tuesday 11th November.
Saturday 20th November – Wadokai England Squad Training, Leicester
This training course is only suitable for selected students and is compulsory for all athletes wishing to be selected to the Wadokai England team. Please speak to Sensei Amy or Sensei Carl if you are interested in attending.
Sunday 21st November – Hartlepool Wadokai club-only championships, Dojo HQ, Hartlepool
This is our annual club-only competition. This is a perfect chance for students to try out Karate competition as it’s a really small, friendly competition – and it’s only our club. Categories are typically split by age/grade so that it’s fair. Please sign up at the club no later than Wednesday 19th November.
Sunday 30th November – Sensei Keith Walker Masters Course, Dojo HQ, Hartlepool
This will be a fantastic training opportunity for all of our students. We’ll be splitting juniors and senior sections so that the course can be specifically tailored to each group. The times & costs are to be confirmed but it is likely to be 12-5pm, 12-2pm 13 years & under, 2-5pm 14 years & above. The course fee will also be subsidised from the club fundraising pot to help keep the cost down (we know that a lot of events are going on!).
Wednesday 3rd December – CLUB CLOSED
This is just a reminder that ALL Little Ninja & Karate classes are cancelled for Wed 3rd Dec only.
Saturday 6th & Sunday 7th December – Hartlepool Wadokai Grading, Dojo HQ, Hartlepool
Full details are available at the club. Please look at out for your letter this coming week…
Saturday 13th December – Wadokai England Squad Training, Dojo HQ, Hartlepool
We are really pleased to be hosting this course, which forms part of the 2015 competition season and the build up to both the Wado World Cup (Japan, August 2015) and the Wadokai European Championships (Oct/Nov 2015). We would like to invite ALL students interested in competition to this course. Again, this is a fantastic opportunity for our students to train with some of the best Wado instructors in the UK – without having to travel!
Saturday 13th December – Hartlepool Wadokai Adult Meal & Social
Full details and menus are available at the club but we would like to invite all of our parents, students & friends (14 years+) to join us for a bite to eat and a bit of a social.
Saturday 20th December – Hartlepool Wadokai End of Year Course & Christmas Party, Dojo HQ
Once again we are running a FREE end of year training course for ALL of our Karate students 12-2pm.
Our Christmas party is 3-6pm and tickets are just £3 each or £10 per family (same household). As usual we will have a buffet, disco and more importantly a ‘best decorated cake’ competition. The entries last year were fantastic & delicious!!!
New Hartlepool Black Belts
Last weekend members of the club headed down to Alfreton for a training course with Okumachi Sensei, 6th Dan JKF-Wadokai and a further two days with Sakagami Sensei, Peter May, Keith Walker and Lee Minion. The session on Saturday was also lead by Okumachi Sensei who had a little bit of extra time before his flight and decided to stick around and teach some more. The Sunday was a further opportunity to run through the elements of the Dan Grade (Black Belt Test) that hadn’t already been covered over the previous two days. The actual test took place after the training.
It was a long weekend, and all the training (except the test) took place on a typical concrete sports hall floor so by the end of everything our bodies were aching.
A massive congratulations must go to Sensei Michael Jorgeson who was finally coerced into taking his 2nd Dan – after almost 20 years of being 1st Dan! Also, a massive well done to Sensei Vince Dawkins and Beth Gray who have just become our latest Black Belts. They’ve both put in a lot of work over the past 12 months and beyond to get ready for the test and it showed. High Five!!!
Pictures will follow…