Sunday, December 28, 2008

Shiramizu End of Year Training Course

Carl here...

Sunday 14th December was the end of year training course for the Shiramizu dojo. (Training at the dojo didn’t actually finish for the year until the 21st).

300+ Shiramizu members, out of the 450 total.

The course took place at the Asukaru sports centre in Satte City. This is the venue for the Shiramizu branch dojo on Monday nights.

Kindergarten training
The Shiramizu kindergarten kids were up first and with so many tiny students (maybe 70!) I thought Arakawa Sensei was right in doing a roll call to line up each student. In order of branch dojo, he called up each student by name and then they were marshalled into line by one of the many assistants. It’s certainly a better system than letting them try and line themselves up, we’d have been waiting all day!

This session was very short; Arakawa Sensei led the kids through a warm up. Then we bowed in and the students went through some basics and kata.

Being the official intern, I was informed beforehand that I would be Santa Claus at the time Amy was still ‘tag along intern’ so she had to make do with being a reindeer. Yoshiba-san, a student from the Wednesday morning adult class (who wants to be a Shiramizu instructor) was the 2nd Santa Claus.

During the kata, Amy, Yoshiba-san and I were taken away to get changed into our costumes and when we got back, all the kindergarten kids were sitting in seiza meditating. As we walked to the front of the hall, only a few sneaked a peak! Amy, Yoshiba and I then gave all the kindergarten kids a small present from Shiramizu. After posing for a group photo everyone disbanded and we quickly went and got changed again.

Kids and Adult training
Straight after the kindergarten class was everyone else, at a rough count I would say maybe 250 – 300 students, mostly kids and cadets but with approximately 20 adults.

The hall was jam packed so we were pretty limited in what we could do. We started off with a short warm up and some basics. Then we moved onto kata, at this point the students were split in two. All the Dan grades trained first. We went through a number of kata a few times slowly and each one at full speed. It was like a massive performance of teem kata with everyone synchronised in their movement.

Next up was the kyu grades, which followed a similar program to us, though they did different kata.

After a short break we started on the year-end tradition of 1000 punches, which was relatively easy to keep count. Each row had ten people in, and each person gave a count of ten. Two of the parents had microphones and they overlapped each other to keep a continuous count. This system worked really well until they got to the end of a row, where they weren’t quick enough to get to the next person so all the students just continued to punch without a count. The adults at the back of the hall gave louder ‘kiai’s’ to keep the rhythm. The punches were finished in less than 15 minutes and I think we actually done maybe 1250!

After the training we all got together for the customary group photo, me being one of the tallest got the job along with Ueno-san to hold the Shiramizu banner in the background.

It was really fun and everyone had a great time. The fact that everyone, students and instructors do the 1000 punches side by side makes it a great team build for the dojo.

I’ve borrowed this idea for my own dojo Hartlepool Wadokai. In January, my dojo will gather at our local training venue for a special start of year training course. I’ve dubbed it a ‘Hartlepool Wadokai Technical Seminar’ because the course will cover all the basics, all the pinan kata and a bit of kumite. The finale for the course will be, yes, you’ve guessed it 1000 punches! As a special present from me I’ve also insisted that they perform 1000 kicks too! (Richard here - at my own dojo and at Toshiaki Maeda Sensei's dojo we do 1000 kicks to at the year-end practice, but with so many kids at the Shiramizu club, it might take too long to cycle everyone through.)

I think this will be a great way to kick start the new year and get rid of the excess Christmas poundage!

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