Saturday, 23 March 2013

Training with Friends

Jundokan Sensei teaching in Tasmania
I've just finished a great week of karate training with three of my sempai; Tetsu Gima sensei and Tsuneo Kinjo sensei from the Jundokan So-Hombu in Okinawa, were joined by Yurio Nakada sensei from Alaska. All 8th dan's, the three sensei brought there own unique style to the kata and applications we spent the week working on.

As well as sanchin, gekisai (ichi & ni), safa and seiyunchin, we also spent time conditioning our bodies through a number of different training drills. It was quite interesting for me to see the amount of bruising on people's arms after the first session of ude tanren. As I do most of my training against an ude kitae set into the ground at the back of the dojo, my partner's arms came as a welcome relief from the unforgiving post.

Organizing such an event proved "interesting", and I'm really glad I didn't have to do it alone. Tino Rossi sensei from Nelson Bay shouldered a lot of the arranging; and when the training moved from the mainland down to Tasmania, things could not have run as smoothly as they did had it not been for the work of my students who did so much that was unseen by the visitors.

Gima and Kinjo sensei, I've known for over twenty years, we're old friends, but this was my first meeting with Nakada sensei. Leaving his native Okinawa over forty-years ago for the wilds of Alaska, he is living prove of the health giving benefits of a life spent training in karate. Now in his mid-sixties, he moves with the agility of a man more than half that age, and hits like a hammer!!

Apart from a couple of participants who let themselves down by their lack of maturity, both inside and outside the dojo, the week was a great success and very enjoyable. Although if I'm being honest, I still prefer training each morning in my dojo, to standing in a room with a large group of karateka; still, I think the decision to keep the number of participants to around thirty payed off, as the teacher-to-student ratio worked very well.

Gima and Kinjo sensei returned home to Okinawa yesterday, and I saw Nakada sensei off at the airport this morning. I'll be seeing them all again in November when Jundokan members gather in Naha to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the dojo, and the 15th anniversary of the passing of my sensei, Eiichi Miyazato. But between now and then there is much to do.......