Monday, January 19, 2009

Kagamibiraki and Dan Shinsa

Dan (Kyu) Grading
Well that was a busy weekend; unfortunately I was wrapped up in business on Saturday so I couldn't attend the seminar but I did manage to catch the Kyu/Dan Shinsa.

It was good to see so many people there; among the highlights: Shin Sensei graded 7th dan; Ohtsuka Sensei (OS) graded 4th dan and Oshima Shacho graded shodan.

My personal highlight was watching Ohtsuka Sensei's Unsu. It was just magnificent; not only technically excellent but well; how you describe something that is brimming and vibrating with power and menace. Ohtsuka Sensei's Unsu was good 12 months ago, but it has clearly moved into new territory.

YS Unsu was famous for its vibrancy-- every move brimming with power; but what I personally noticed was that YS had the ability to float- as if momentarily slowing time down- at the height of the apex of his jump. Well, OS has got it. I was grinning at the sheer pleasure of watching a really great Unsu when OS performed it, but when he floated through the apex and looked as he'd jumped over a mountain it was just pure pleasure. Paradoxically, after that supreme effort, OS Bassai Dai looked a little tense!

The other highlight was watching Scott Foster, my great personal friend, grade to 8th kyu. Congratulations! For years I went on and on about Karate and YS to him, and eventually he joined the KWF ShotoKan as an executive member- probably to shut me up...

Sunday was given over to our Kagamibiraki and one of the highlights was meeting new people and old friends. It was a pleasure to meet Okazaki Shuitsu Sensei, our Kumamoto General Manager, who seems to like British people a lot, and from the vast northland wastelands of Kyushu, Yoda Sempai, from Fukuoka. The main embu today was Bassai Dai, which was good to watch.

People are always impressed by how clean and luxurious the ShotoKan dojo is and how much like a nice family we are. Well, of course, we are the KWF Sohonbu. Did you expect anything less than the best?

Dan Shinsa Points
In what is quite rare at KWF Honbu, all the gakusei passed their shodan and the last couple of sessions that I have attended have been helping them pass. The key things to emerge with YS overall hyoka (evaluation) were as follows:

1. Each and every move has to have the appropriate spirit and focus (this is the only thing I have going in my favor- kiai cover!)
2. Heian Shodan is the key that demonstrates a Karateka's understanding and ability with Kihon
3. Focus for Shodan is koshi no kaiten; Nidan is shinshuku; Sandan is both!
4. Kumite is Kihon and Kihon is Kumite.

Paul. Next: Bassai Dai!

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