Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Shiramizu Summer Camp- 17-18 July

Peter Here:

Goodness, what a weekend!

On Saturday and Sunday 17th-18th July The Shiramizu Summer camp was held in Nasuyumoto, In the Tochigi mountains. We were blessed with fine weather for the weekend, and the stunning landscapes did not disappoint.

The Coaches departed early saturday morning, with a 3 hour journey ahead of us. During this time, Fabian Sensei, Uehara Sensei and I were discussing the difficulty of language, before being united in the entertainment of My Neighbor Totoro (my Favourite!), which was put on for the kids but I was just as wide-eyed as any of them.

Arrival was celebrated by a quick lunch, elegantly wrapped in boxes (mine was branded 'mystery box' as Yamazaki Sensei could not tell me what was in it), then off to the dojo.

Warm ups were taken by the support Sensei, Yamazaki Sensei with the stretching, and Uehara Sensei with the kihon- intensive drilling of Juntsuki, Gyakutsuki, with kette and no-tsukkomi.

After that, we split into groups for Kata. I was support staff for the weekend, so I was helping with the green belts to learn Kushanku, while the Yellow/Blue belts were learning Pinan Godan, and the more senior grades practicing Wanshu. Wanshu Aside for the black belts, it must be noted that these Kata are above what are required for the grades of the students- so it was interesting to gauge the different reactions; who was excited for new kata, who was frustrated with the unknown- although the latter hardly happened, and the opportunity to climb a little higher in the Karate world was attacked with great enthusiasm.

This enthusiasm took it's toll on my knees, as I had to help repeatedly instruct the two big drops in the kata, in the manner of a lightweight flexible karateka- which I am not!

After the practice sessions the groups performed the kata as best they could in front of the whole class. I'm happy to say that most of them retained the movements. Wanshu was particularly impressive, furthering the love I have for that Kata even more.

Then the top students performed their kata- Mikea did Wanshu, and it was award winning.

Evening time was spent with a very traditional Japanese meal, some games and study of the JKF rules for kids, then a nice relaxing soak in the onsen and an after-party for the adults and support staff after the kids were tucked up.

In the morning, the hotel had a Mochi demonstration. Being the adventurous sort, Arakawa Sensei joined in...

...this was quite infectious...

Even with Fabian Sensei!

Kumite training lasted from 9:30 to 11:30 (after a brief Kata recap), where I was supporting Fujimoto Sensei in his group. His drills were well structured, involving movement shadowing, and line deviation by moving around your opponent and striking as fast as possible (a drill that Richard Sensei also showed me when I visited his dojo). After which was an endurance kicking drill where you had to literally kick your way down a line of 13 people. Impressively, the kids did amazingly at the drills.

The weekend was finished by a trip to the Nasu Switzerland Theme Park, where we enjoyed a 'viking' style barbecue and a good walk around.

After another 2 hours journey, we arrived back at the Satte Dojo to deliver the exhausted but happy children back to their parents, many of them thankful that the next day was a public holiday so they can sleep off the training!

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