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Training and Competing in Japan

By Admin - Posted on 09 September 2009

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This summer the Chief Instructors of the club were given the opportunity to train and compete in Japan.

Seiwakai Gasshuku - Budokan, Omagari Japan

They along with other instructors and students from all over the world; from California, Canada, Switzerland, Portugal and Australia to name a few, spent six days intensive training under Leo Lipinski Shihan, Seichi Fujiwara Shihan and Shuji Tasaki Hanshi of Seiwakai, in Omagari, Akita - Japan.

The six days of training was split into two three consecutive days, with a one day break in the middle and culminating to a waterfall trip near Higashi-Noshiro, Akita.

The first three days of training, covered many aspects of the Goju system, including Sanchin kata, Tensho kata and Kihon. Across all six days the instructors focused on movement, breathing and application of technique as well as physical conditioning. The group also covered the grade syllabus in depth and even trained in tournament kumite. All this culminating in the Seiwakai grading test on day five for some.



JKF Goju Kai Masters Seminar

The masters seminar had in attendance 15 of the senior JKF instructors including the JKF Gojukai president, vice president and senior technical advisors. Kiyohara Hanshi, who taught in England in March, was put in overall charge of the 2 day training seminar. The areas he wanted to cover in that time were circular movement, the 3 different types of breathing and using the correct breathing with the correct technique.

Intense warm up exercises followed by in depth kata training formed the basis of each session and the group got whittled down into their respective grades in preparation for future grade testing. On the second day, Indy Sensei and Marie Sensei were allowed the opportunity to test for JKF Gojukai grades. The testing itself was both physically and mentally demanding, each candidate given one chance to prove their worth in front of a panel of 5 Shihan. With only three kata and 2 rounds of kumite to demonstrate their worth, each candidate felt the nerves set in and never really go away. Both Sensei Marie and Sensei Indy were successful in their testing and now hold the rank of Nidan and Sandan in JKF Gojukai respectively.

JKF Goju Kai 35th All Japan Karate Do World Championships.   

With no let up in the action, the very next day both instructors had to report far too early in the morning for the World Championships. With many procedures to follow including weighing in, checking attendance and being briefed ahead of the opening ceremony, Marie Sensei and Indy Sensei barely had time to think before being sent from one end of the massive arena to another.

The opening ceremony of the championships was an awe inspiring deathbed memory. Nearly eight hundred combatants each representing the best from their area in Japan or other countries around the world made their way onto the competition floor. With less than 20 foreigners in attendance at the event, our duo made up the entire Great Britain contingent this year. The realisation that there would be no “easy” rounds against minority karate nations began to dominate everything; this was never going to be “just another competition”.

Indy Sensei and Marie Sensei were hoping for a delay in the tournament. To give them time for even more warming up, practise their kata and kumite, be more prepared, find some kind of inspiration; anything that give them just a little chance not to be the worst competitors there. That is the goal of any westerner at this competition as the Japanese are totally and utterly dominant and never complacent. Unfortunately, Japanese competitions run better than Swiss clocks and 300 children completed their kata rounds in less than 2 hours.

Both instructors put their nerves aside and completed their kata finishing in the middle of their groups toward the top half, a massive achievement. Kumite was a punishing and very, very fast! Marie Sensei put up a strong fight, attacking straight away and going directly for her advisery, but couldn’t make it past her first round opponent (one of the tournament favourites). Indy Sensei fought hard & made it through the first rounds before finally being bested in the last 16. An amazing experience, the pair were more than pleased with their results; doing better than any other non-Japanese competitor, and are already train­ing hard for next year’s championships.

Even with a gruelling schedule of six hours a day training, there was still plenty of time to socialize in the evening! For many it was and always will be an amazing and unforgettable experience. Indy Sensei and Marie Sensei kept a training diary so that students and instructors alike who were back in the UK can get an insight into the training and Japan's rich and colourful culture.

You can download their training diary below.





WEB Japan special edition.pdf1.46 MB