Thursday, September 2, 2010

Champions Seminar: 1st August 2010

Pete here!

Over 100 children and adults filled the Kuki Recreation Center's dojo in Kuki City, despite sweltering heat, for the Shiramizu Champion's Seminar, taught by Imai Shuzo Sensei (Wadokai instructor in Germany for the last 40 years) and Yoshitama Munesei Sensei (former Japan Self-Defense Forces karate instructor & multiple-time Japan Master's kumite champion) on August 1, 2010.

The insightful training focused on different principles from the two different Sensei. Yoshitama Sensei was advocating the power of the Tanden - the home of the spirit in Japanese religion - and how keeping the core strength of your lower torso powerful you can maintain your form and power.

Imai Sensei's lesson was the use of gravity to increase speed and power, using Tobikomi tsuki as an example of proper use (his examples on Okano-san convinced everyone with wincing authority). With the kids he had a great exercise where they had to avoid a partner swinging their belt towards him from different directions- teaching balance in a fun way, but would probably have stung a bit if you were hit!

Yoshitama sensei's training for the adults was definitely painful, however; a set of core stability drills that started on elbows and gradually spread to the extreme of your ribs as you tried to stretch out yet keep your back straight. I found this very difficult, but I was happy to see that I wasn't the only one!

In terms of kumite sparring, there was very little - Yoshitmama Sensei had a drill where one person sparred against 5, expanding the peripheral vision - but this day was more for taking in principles of movement and focusing of energy, then implementing it into one's own kumite artillery. This meant that it may have gone over the heads of some of the youngest students, but for the adolescents upwards the day was filled with inspiring thoughts and realizations and different ways of improving your technique.

Despite the day lacking 'intensive' training drills, it was quite possibly the hottest day of the year so far. The amount of sweat that happened just standing and observing the examples of these two top Sensei was incredible- where I was standing a small pond was forming, as with other people. Possibly more intensive work would have been done had it been cooler, as in this heat it was dangerously close to causing collapses, but that is not taking anything away from a great event that changed my way of considering how I keep myself strong.

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