I was saddened to hear that a friend and senior member of the Shotokan of England Karate Union (SEKU) Sensei Malcolm Bradley (5th dan) passed away suddenly a few days ago. I have known of him for most of my association with SEKU which to date will be 30 years this year 2022. I first properly met him on the annual Isle of Wight week long course SEKU used to hold every spring bank holiday in 1994. I only trained at his dojo proper once when accompanying Sensei Dewey on a visit to the IOW and Malcolm, I considered him a friend ever since.
Malc being an ex-Boxer decided at the age of 26 that he wanted to take up another sport. So he decided to take up Martial Arts and joined Newport Isle Of Wight Karate Club in 1976 The instructor at that time was Sensei Steve Allen who was a 2nd Dan. Malc trained twice a week for three months and took his first Grading in August 1996. The club at that time was member of the K.U.G.B whose chief instructor was Sensei Keinosuke Enoeda.
Malc had trained under Sensei Enoeda and always came away from these sessions full of enthusiasm. The Grading’s were taken by another K.U.G.B instructor Sensei Tomita, and again he came away full of inspiration and eager to keep training. In 1978 Sensei Allen emigrated and Malc started to teach at the club at this time he was a 3rd kyu Brown Belt. In October 1978 he graded for his 1st Kyu again under Sensei Tomita. Malc carried on instructing at the club and in March 1983 he graded for his 1st Dan (Black Belt) under Sensei Dewey who had the previous year formed a new organisation The South Of England Karate Union (S.E.K.U) Malc graded for his 2nd Dan in June 1985, his 3rd Dan in July 1988, 4th Dan in September 2008 and 5th Dan in June 2016.
Over the years there have been many members from the club who have been successful in their various Black Belt Grading’s with the help of Sensei Malc Bradley’s tuition. Malc has trained with many different instructors Sensei’s Mick Dewey, Mervyn O`Donnell, Dave Hazard, Brian Smith, Sensei’s Enoeda,Tomita, Kawasoe, and Sensei Mike Lambert from Goju-ryu.
As we hit summer here in Gibraltar thankfully Gibshot has been training even in isolation training on a low scale continued but now we are back in full swing but still following the rules of course.
We are looking at a possible weekly morning training session for kids over 5/6 years old those over 10 should be in the adult class (details on this website). However if you want a taster then drop me an email.
Although GibShot has been back training in it’s limited form and we recently had Sensei Mick Dewey 8th dan (SEKU) over to teach, which included the kata Gankaku and some kumite at distance, which isn’t easy, things have at least been moving. Our main classes have been lunchtime and as we are a small group atm distancing wasn’t a problem. Again the main thrust has been kata much easier to keep apart.
I tend to teach kata in a way that helps the confidence and concentration of the students. Yes we practice together as every club does BUT with individuals I also get each of them to perform the kata out front on their own as their colleagues watch. Always kata they know and especially kata they wish to use in competition. Whenever that starts again.
I had this idea years ago because when I was training for competition as I was away from the Honbu dojo in Portsmouth I trained often alone. Yes I trained around London often with Sensei Eric Pitch at Willesden Green dojo and when I worked in London I did lunchtimes twice a week at Marshall Street usually with Sensei Ohta but sometimes with Sensei Enoeda. These classes suited my work routine and though sometimes I was away from the main group especially in Marshall Street where they trained usually in the evenings I lived in Uxbridge so after leaving the office I tubed it home most days. My point being nothing will be better than correct training in a class group but sometimes we have to train alone. At this time in the mid to late 90’s I also taught at Uxbridge dojo on the RAF camp as well as trained myself in Yatley and Sandhurst with another SEKU dojo now long closed. In order to keep this going I often did kata in the Gym on the RAF base which takes some doing if you are not used to people watching you from competition experience which I was. These small kata practices I enjoyed because I had to get over the nerves of people including friends watching me, especially those that did not do karate.
I remember one night I was in the old gym hall alone. I’d been punching the large punch bag strapped to the boxing ring set up, the bag was heavy and full of round beads so it didn’t give too much but the ring reverberated at each punch. an exercise I enjoyed as it helped keep my technique straight. I then started to practice a few kata. Usually I would do all the Heian kata speed and power. If I wobbled or made an error I would do the kata agin slowly then again at speed, only moving to the next when I had no obvious errors.
I would then pick 2 of the brown belt kata and follow the same routine then a first dan kata. Finally I would begin the kata I was practicing for competition. It was around this time I heard several buses pull up outside the gym full of young cadets who were staying in the transit block overnight which was opposite the gym. They were chatting and then I heard someone shouting above the noise telling them to go into the gym and wait. So…. I was going through the kata as they all filed in chattering until they saw me when they politely lowered their voices (there is some good in military training, respect is one). They all lined up against a wall about 50/60 feet away and sat or stood watching as I continued to practice and I have to say once I’d finished that kata I felt like heading out with what seemed like 100 of them but more likely only about 60 looking at me.
I didn’t in fact I started to add more kime and a little speed as I grew in confidence then I added the kiai’s and it wasn’t long before we had forgotten each other and they carried on their quiet conversation. From this point I always asked students to perform their grading kata at the end of a class in front of the other students knowing the pressure would be on but their friends afterwards would be patting them on the back no matter how good or bad they had performed. It is a training method I still do and believe my students get a lot of confidence from it, eventually.
For those following randomly the Gibshot blog, yes I must write more but I am hoping a student will pick up and run with it. Anyway to carry on you may remember back in September last year I passed my Yondan exam, Sensei Dewey might say “scraped thru” I tell the story it was with flying colours!
Well Gibshot is not a place to bubble along as this past week myself and Paul Crudgington went through to Portsmouth, the spiritual home of GibShot karate under the Shotokan of England Karate Union. It is the place back in 1991 I started Karate for the second time. After Paul arrived on the Thursday from Gibraltar we gathered our gi’s and headed to Portsmouth honbu for the training session. The session was particularly tough as this focussed mainly on kumite (fighting) both pre planned attacks and freestyle as well as Sensei’s usual basic training sessions which barely leave you time to gather breath. 90 minutes later we were off for the post training debrief at the Jolly Taxpayer a local pub.
The Friday saw us again collecting our gi’s having washed and ironed them for training at Lovedean dojo under the critical eye of their instructor Brian Smith 7th dan. He is also No2 Instructor at SEKU after Sensei Dewey. Again with the pace constantly keeping you looking for a breath we focussed on combinations particularly kicking and punching some 8/9 or even 10 moves one after the other slowly, quicker then with full speed and power required. It makes your head spin. The class finished with what we call “ren-geri” a combination where 4 kicks are performed with the same leg before placing the foot on the ground. This is repeated several times on each leg and requires balance as well as technique and strength. With thanks to Sensei Brian and his students we headed to Sensei Dewey’s local pub near Portsdown Hill called the George Inn. An old staging post of an inn with no TV, no juke box and a large selection of ales, perfect.
Saturday with gi’s washed again we prepared for our final training session. This time I was given a reprieve just before we left and told I would be training today. We headed again the Lovedean dojo where Paul was taken through his paces under the scrutiny of Senseis Brian Smith and Allan Lewis (both 7th dan). The small class was taken by Sensei Mick Dewey 8th dan and Paul was again under the kosh. Combining a lot of what he had already been put through plus 12 different katas some of which required bunkai. Bunkai are the practical application of kata techniques turning what look like simple moves into blocks, punches and even throws.
Finally when all was done Paul went to get changed with the 3 Senseis discussed his performance of the 3 days. The discussion culminated in Paul being awarded his second dan. Sweet and deserved after 3 years of work getting to this point. Well done And congratulations to him.
Sadly Kanazawa shihan passed away on the 8th of December peacefully in Japan. If you practice karate at all for any decent length of time (more than a year)the chances are you will have used one of his youtube vids. As a Grandmaster winning both Kata and Kumite titles in 1958 he won the kumite in 1957 everyone I know checked their kata against his.
I personally never had the pleasure of training or meeting him but everyone who did spoke highly of him as a person and as a shotokan master. Gibshot send our condolences to his family and to the wider family of karateka who feel the loss to our art.
When I was in secondary school around 13/14 years old I had had a session of Judo at the local YMCA during the summer. It was ok but I didn’t fancy it at all. I found out one of the other kids had his green belt in karate and maybe it was the Bruce Lee thing or maybe it was the show Kung Fu but I wanted to try it and often wished I was a green belt thinking it would mean I’d be pretty good. Having successfully avoided joining a Taekwando club in Germany when I was stationed there in the late 70’s I ended up at RAF Coltishall and luckily there was a club there with the students being taught by a 1st kyu called Derek Frame (the grade below black belt). I got my licence but around 18months later Derek was posted. He’d failed his black belt exam twice at Crystal Palace with the KUGB due to excessive contact, (karate speak for either he gave someone a black eye, bloody or broken nose) I on the other hand still remained a white belt as grading examinations were not something I was offered.
That green belt ever more elusive, my journey took me far and wide until in 1991 I ended up in Portsmouth. I managed to find a club run by Mick Dewey (4th dan) and his sidekick Stacey Crowe (2nd dan). I watched one class on a Tuesday and joined the next class, Thursday. Six months later I took my first grading and “double graded” to red belt on the 5 March. I finally got my green belt on my third grading exam on November 11th 1992. This past week I have been busy. I taught at the Gibraltar Shotokan dojo as usual on Tuesday, Wednesday I went to my old club now at a different location and taught there for a change. On Thursday night I was in the line up being blasted at Portsmouth Honbu (HQ) dojo by Sensei Dewey an 8th dan these days. Stacey Crowe now 6th dan was still there too. On Friday I went to the Lovedean Karate club opened and run by Sensei Brian Smith 7th dan, No2 in the SEKU hierarchy. Both lessons were very different but great fun I was getting tired though. Thankfully Saturday was a day off.
Sunday was the September SEKU Instructors Class. This class is a tester but as always with karate you get out what you put in. It ran for about 3 and a half hours though with Sensei Brian Smith taking the first 90 minutes covering “kihon ippon” paying special attention to the methodology and set up so that student beginners and more experienced up to green/purple belt understand what we are looking for as examiners. Of course this simple class is always made harder with senior dan grade technicians going at it hell for leather but there were plenty of smiles too. I took the next period taking the class through all three of the “Tekki katas” ambitious but fun, I hope. The final period was taken by Sensei Dewey, consisting of Ju-ippon kumite and it’s usual difficulties. Like the first period this too was emphasised for the instructors on the teaching going forward particularly standardisation of technique but also with an element of “choice of defence” when it comes to dan grade students particularly. Throughout the 3 and a half hours including the rest periods for the students I was undergoing another grading exam. I was thoroughly knackered at the end and very nervous. After the class I was called out by Sensei Dewey and offered congratulations on attaining 4th dan.
After all my dreams I spent just 3 months as a green belt in fact I’d spent more time as a white belt, which probably did me some good. Thanks you to Sensei’s Dewey, Smith and Lewis who sat in judgment of me on Sunday I appreciate everything each of you have given me. I’d also like to thank Sensei Crowe because that first day I watched a class as Sensei Dewey was away. Without seeing the style, skill and level of effort on that first day I may well have ended up sticking to darts, although getting 180 is far easier than a karate exam in any colour.
GibShot has been pretty active in 2018 with the seminar in Chiclana followed by a recent seminar in Munich which I will write about next week.
Sensei Brian Smith 7th dan from SEKU sent me this video link recently which I thought for those that haven’t seen it will be interesting, especially if you are heading to Japan soon.
First of all apologies it has too long twixt blogs and that is mainly down to the GibShot or should I say “Gibraltar” summer which as always is great. Special shout out to everyone for National Day yesterday the fireworks where loud man!
We have our class allocation for this year at the following times and schools:
Monday 9pm Bayside School – Entrance is opposite (across the road) entrance to Victoria Stadium Tuesday 8pm Bayside School – (as above) Thursday 6pm St Bernards School – 1 Chicardo’s Passage
It is my intention to start a children’s class this year once our registration is done so if you have contacted GibShop please email me again and I will arrange a meeting with everyone. (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
As we start to look towards the rest of the year at this point although unconfirmed Sensei Mick Dewey 8th dan (my instructor for some 27 years) is scheduled to be here towards the end of the month any non members who wish to join the class please let me know.
In November GibShot has a busy month. I am heading to Munich for a 3 day karate seminar on the 1st November ending 4th. Following this I will again be organising the 48th Portsmouth Open Karate Tournament in Portsmouth with Sensei Dewey. Details can be found on our facebook page. The tournament is on the 17th November anyone with an official karate licence can apply to take part and GibShot hopefully will be represented as usual.
So the June 2018 Naka course in Chiclana came and went. Four great days of training and as usual with Naka sensei it hurts but you don’t know it till you finish.
The firtst blog covered the aspects of all 4 days, the second day being a repeat of the first day because the first is only for dan grades normally instructors. The actual course proper is Fri/Sat/Sun and in the heat it is serious too.
The kata’s we performed or tried to perform over the 4 days were as follows:
Heian Shodan, Heian Nidan, Heian Sandan, Tekki Shodan, Tekki Sandan, Basai Dai, Basai Sho, Kanku Dai, Kanku Sho, Sochin, Meikyo and Wankan. The kata sometimes had extra techniques added in order to both help those that were unfamiliar or hinder those that were and make them think more e.g.
Heian Shodan had the following combination added to it after the gedan barai’s. Mae geri, oi tzuki, gyaku tzuki, yoriashi kizame tzuki. The second day had the oitzuki end in a kosadachi stance with the gyaku tzuki. Is is hurting your head yet? Every kata I mention sensei also demonstrated and had us practice one or two bunkai applications helping to reinforce the kata but not spending too much time on any single one, we also did not do ALL the kata each day.
As usual his emphasis is on the punching technique and he spent a lot of time explaining the difference between a “sport karate” technique and “budo” which in essence is where most student are in their minds.
I cannot begin to implore you if you can, to search Naka sensei’s courses out wherever they may be in Europe and there are several, you just have to do some work and search for them.
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.