The year goes round so quickly so here I am once again stood in front of Sensei Naka (or Naka shihan as they call him here) and another 4 days of JKA teaching. The course here in Chiclana, at the southern tip of Spain a stone’s throw from Cadiz is really worth doing. What’s not to like as the sun shines, the sea is warm enough..ish to dip in or maybe your hotel pool will do the trick. The evening is spent in what really is a holiday resort but not so crazy as the Magaluf’s, Torremolinos or Costa Brava.
We await his arrival in the dojo as usual most of us saying hello to friends from previous courses some just looking mean and warming up all the while you know they’re out of their comfort zone.
Enough. Day one.
The usual Naka 90 minutes for the brown and black belts, mainly black as this really is an instructor type class with emphasis on what we are covering over the main three days to follow. In fairness it’s starts to hurt around 10 minutes in as the quads from most instructors get a work out they rarely get and all we are doing is oi tsuki, gyaku tsuki …. well; to begin with. If you have never trained with him his revelation is what some call the double hip twist. Which is exactly what it looks like but if you work with it long enough it actually isn’t that because Naka has a mission. That mission is hips, core muscle control and using body axis points that make motion positive not negative and faster without strength. Sound complicated? That’s what development feels like… until you see it working. No doubt I’ll write more about it over the next three days.
The lesson moved from that into oi tzuki, mae geri, gyaku tzuki. Then onto oi tzuki, gyaku tzuki, suriashi kezami tzuki. This was all then added to the kata haian shodan which was fun if you like knots. Naka’s tendency to add to basic kata is nothing new, my Sensei Mick Dewey has often had course attendants scratching their bonce as the simplest of kata are turned into a spaghetti of legs and twisting heads using just kihon as the base paint.
Following that we tentatively touched (about 8 times) Sochin kata but using zenkutzu dachi stance to help with the hip exercise I mentioned earlier. I was pleased to see some of those warm up macho boys looking around for clues when the kata was underway. We finished that off with the kata as it should be performed with the correct stance, helpful for those of us that were tired and our brains seem to be turning to fudge.
After another 2 minute water break we were back talking or rather listening to Naka sensei sum up the class and the next few days, ably translated into spanish by his interpreter and into english by Akita sensei over from Germany. I first met him proper three years ago when I reminded him of his time when he was right hand boy to Kawasoe sensei in Shepards Bush. We never met then but we had stepped on the same boards. A different style to Naka but always in front doing it like the rest of us.
We ended with what I think is his favourite kata Haian Nidan. This is my fourth year and we do it everytime which is fine by me it is one of my favourites too. It links as everything does to body axis’ and the sense of budo Naka is trying to promote in how techniques are used. In essence, faster, more powerful using not strength but technique just like we were always taught but can never seem to grasp until we get on courses like this or listen more clearly to our own sensei. More from me later.
Well 2018 is upon us and no doubt plenty of resolutions will be made and broken. I’m not interested in your broken promises though, I am hoping you will change your life completely and take the first steps on the path called Shotokan Karate. The history is well written about on websites and in books all around the world so I won’t waste your time.
Gibshot, well me actually, is looking for new students. If you are over 16 and good health then I can teach you karate. We have classes which are probably the easiest way to learn as there are other students around you to follow. You must train twice a week to be eligible for examinations which are approximately every 4 months and of course you’ll need a karate suit (Gi) and the appropriate belt (Obi).
If you prefer to train privately I can do 1-2-1 sessions either at your home if you have a space large enough (a small fitness studio) or you can train with me in a studio during the daytime, lunchtime for example.
Training sessions last for 90 minutes, no you don’t get a break, yes when it is hot you can have a sip of water (please ask first as indulgence is painful) and there is contact and touch control during the training.
The first lesson is free and costs are dependant on your circumstances and whether you want personal or group tuition. I cannot guarantee you will become another Bruce/Notorious/Rock but I can guarantee you will have fun, gain confidence and improve you ability.
We also attend courses in Spain and the UK for tuition especially brown belts onwards who need it for examination purposes to black belt. We also attend UK competitions and win medals at least once a year.
Give me a shout or an email if you are interested and start your path today.
It’s been ‘a’-while as they say mainly due to me concentrating my writing elsewhere but don’t fret I’m still here. Throughout the summer Gibshot as usual decamped to a studio kindly lent to us by Transition as we still try to find a permanent home. The school spaces via the GSLA are brilliant and we are grateful but they have many down days due to school holidays etc which render them closed. Understandable but not ideal.
I’ve been busy getting my head ready for the Portsmouth Open Championship on November 18th at the Mountbatten Centre in Portsmouth, Hants. Hopefully heading there on the 16th doing some training with Sensei Dewey at Honbu dojo and Sensei Smith at Lovedean.
GibShot itself has a couple of new members Kate and Debs who are back into karate after a small lay off much like many people including myself between 1983 and 1991. It happens for a myriad of reasons the main thing is you get back into it and grow again
I have also have a few questions recently about self defence classes. Short answer is yes I will do them but I need a few people to register their interest then register their commitment by turning up for the lessons. There is a great opportunity for office workers to get an hours self defence in every week and build not only your strength but confidence as well. Just contact me at the email below.
As November gets ever closer the time has come to get your individual and club entries for the 47th Portsmouth Open Karate Tournament.
Be a part of this historical competition and finish 2017 on a high. Categories for all including Pee Wee, Juniors, Ladies, young men and girls and Men. Kata, kumite as individual and team entries. If you don’t enter you can always come along watch and support your local club.
Luckily GibShot’s friends across the border keep us updated on courses. We couldn’t make the Saturday Summer courses in Barbate as spending every Saturday morning travelling to Barbate beach wouldn’t go down well with our partners. However I have heard recently of the following courses that may interest those of you looking for a karate holiday in the autumn.
October: In San Fernando, Sensei Kobayashi 7th dan is heading over to the Cadiz province for a few days once again courtesy of the JKA.The course lasting three days will cost approx 70€
Also in October on the 27-29th weekend in Los Alcazares, Murcia, an
international karate course the following three gentlemen two are of legend one is of considerable repute, I’m beginning to sound like an advert. Either way if you have
some cash, want to mix it a little then from experience of the courses in Spain I can tell you they are worth their weight. Their training is clearly JKA and for any Shotokan student fits any model you’d care to mention. They are very affable, helpful and like a sayonara party when there is one.
This past Sunday I connected a visit to UK with the B&B course in Portsmouth catching up with SEKU members old and new. As always a friendly outfit headed by Sensei Mick Dewey 8th dan, my instructor since 1991. The instruction was ably assisted by Sensei Brian Smith 7th dan who has been part of my development on courses since the mid 90’s and like Sensei Dewey someone I consider a friend.
This course concentrated in the main (2 hours) on kata Enpi (Empi) both are correct spelling of the name and I’ve no idea how they both started. The kata was originally call Wanshu so go figure. Either way we worked through it including plenty of bunkai (application) with those of us less mobile limiting the jump to just a few efforts, in my case about 7 after which I considered myself practised.
The final hour saw Sensei Brian move into kihon ippon/ju ippon territory which is often a great exercise both aerobically and practically. In other words in the end you are both knackered and bruised, worse if you loose your focus and one gets through. We also touched on some randori to warm down which is funny watching some of us using more oxygen than previously.
So after an energy packed 3 and a bit hours we bomburst our separate ways and suitably energised headed home. As always great to see everyone both SEKU & non – SEKU thankfully we have a Chief Instructor in Sensei Dewey that has genuinely been there and done it thereby attracting students from far and wide. It is too often we get complacent and forget the talent we have in front of us every week. All my karate days I’ve sat and listened afterwards to students waxing lyrical about this instructor or that one and no doubt in some cases they are worth the fee. I’d like to make you think on this. You wouldn’t be able to cope on these or any courses if the instructor, male OR female that spent those hours every week with you hadn’t passed on their knowledge. Many find it easy to be critical, few are grateful even less are loyal.
The III Seminario with Naka organised by the JKASKTEspaña was held last weekend. Myself once again went for the whole weekend along with Paul C. Nick C was only able to make Thursday and Zyan managed the Fri/Sat/& Sunday. It is still a great effort to travel there and at least for three of us we made it into a small weekend escape with karate in between.
I won’t bore you with too many details but if you’ve ever trained with Naka Sensei you’ll know what he is like and how he works. His amiable style, clear ability and nod to details is refreshing from the early get go. His speed is exceptional. He has an eye for details too in my opinion a new direction that the JKA are taking from the old, blood and thunder days when some of us started karate. Its all hips, breathing and relaxation. Things we were all taught but only some of us took in as we just marched forward like tanks towards that ultimate oi tzuki.
As well as that we covered the following katas over the 4 days of the seminar.
Haian Shodan, Haian Nidan, Haian Sandan, Haian Yondan, Tekki Shodan, Bassai Dai, Kanku Dai, Gankaku some in greater detail than others and all except Gankaku had some elements of bunkai demonstrated. He often as he does demonstrated the difference between techniques in kata and the same techniques used in ‘budo’. Mainly it was about movement, technique and knowing that as Master Nakayama said, 10 minutes of kata a day is all you need. If the techniques are applied correctly and with efficiency.
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want a more detailed explanation or even want me at your local club I’m happy to pass on my experience and what I learn from Sensei Naka, it’s good to talk.
A huge thanks to the Associacion Shotokan Karate Tradicional de España for the invite and hopefully see you all in 2018.
The time is almost upon us, this Thursday our annual pilgrimage to Chiclana for the ASKTE Gasshaku under the watchful eye of Naka Shihan. The course starts with the instructors class at 7pm on Thursday. Another dan grade class on Friday then Saturday and Sunday are open to all grades with the class splitting after the first hour or so into black/brown belts and all other grades. Sensei Naka taking the senior grades of course. It is my third year at the class and I thoroughly enjoy his style. Very different from the previous generation.
I remember being at the Marshall Street dojo one day when Sensei Enoeda shouted for us to warm up. I looked around expecting one of the more senior dan grades to be there but it fell to me. I admit I was bricking it even though I had done many warm ups, I’m faced with a lot of visitors only here to train with Sensei and the pressure when he is behind you stretching well you had to experience his presence to understand it.
Naka isn’t the same, in fact Ohta, sensei’s right hand man at the time at Marshall Street also had a more modern friendly approach like Naka. This generation still expect the discipline for that is what we teach, traditional shotokan but there is always a smile and an understanding that not everyone is able to do everything. The Chicanla course follows this pattern, plenty of fun but a lot more technical, not so much up and down the dojo, lots more kata and bunkai too which Naka excels at through his current videos travelling around on his youtube channel (kuro obi). Whatever he does no doubt it’ll be a great course and I can only be grateful for the Spanish association for invitinggibshot.
I run a charity called Wobbles which I founded in 2010 with Debbie Garcia. This weekend was the Ernst & Young annual charity relay run for both serious and not serious runners alike including a family one for the kids in pushchairs to enjoy.
Gibshot entered a team of course Myself, Paul Crudginton and Zyan Debono. Paul being way better at running these days quickly knocked of the 6km leg myself and Zyan decided we’d jog the 4 kms leg together negating my need to jog the 2 km alone. We had a lovely morning and vowed to do it again next year but this time with some serious GibShot gear on show. Photos courtesy of whoever took them and we raised around £130 between us, thanks to everyone that donated.
When my Sensei visited last summer he left me with three kata to practise. Meikyo, Wankan and Bassai Sho which dutifully I have done. At least until my aged knee starts bothering me. Especially with Meikyo.
this past two weeks I have been adding it to the students repertoire. I was fortunate enough that by the time I hot shodan I probably had all the katas up to an including those required for 2nd dan. This was partly down to the need for competition kata to ensure I wasn’t judged directly against an opponent so I could change a kata before going onto the mat. Not ideal but if you are confident it can work to your advantage. The other reason was SEKU had regular annual week course on the Isle Of Wight, this course over 7 days had lots of content not normally done in normal training. Brilliant if you can go to courses, and training with people you know but only see at competitions is excellent for advancing your own technique.
So Bassai Sho, a short but technically excellent kata with plenty of light and dark moments. Points of power, finesse and balance. Areas of skill, strength and best of all fancy footwork. All encompassed in just over a minute with 34 moves.