Tuesday, 10 December 2013

The Seminars...Day 1

Javid  (South Africa) and me at the Okinawa Budokan
The first day of training got underway at the Okinawa Prefecture Budokan, in one of the many dojo housed in the building. The floor was made of that magic kind of wood you often find in Okinawa that allows you to train for hours without getting sore feet.

After a rather informal start, where everybody lined up in no particular order as far as rank or seniority was concerned, a couple of speeches were delivered. The first speech, by Miyazato Kancho, welcomed everybody to Okinawa, and the second by Tsuneo Kinjo sensei, outlined the purpose of the gathering and provided a few practical snippets of information regarding how the seminars were to be run. Once the speeches were over a general training session got under way that ran for two hours.

Kihon is always a good way to begin 
After a comprehensive junbi-undo session, we kicked, blocked, and punched our way though the basic waza of goju-ryu for the next hour before pairing up for san-dan-gi (three step technique) training. I was slightly put off by the presence of a camera crew from a local T.V. station, but thankfully, nothing they shot of me made it to the broadcast.

Kyu ranks and shodan's working on saifa kata
After a bento style lunch, the second two hour training session of the day found me helping out with instruction. Together with Jean Frenette sensei from Canada, I assisted Sunagawa sensei as he took the kyu level and shodan students through  gekisai dai ichi, dai ni, and saifa kata. I was a little surprised to be asked to help with instruction, I guess because I still regard myself as just another student.

One of many line-ups
Training ended a little after four in the afternoon, leaving plenty of time to clean up and enjoy a leisurely dinner and a few cold beers. The heat and humidity left everyone thirsty, and so the proliferation of vending machines (in Japan you'll find a drinks machine on almost every street corner) was very welcome. I think my friends and I stopped at almost all of them on the walk back to our lodgings.

With day one complete I was looking forward to dinner, and soon enough the Australian contingent, all seven of us, found ourselves gathered around a table eagerly waiting for our steaks to arrive...yum, yum!