Judo Masterclass

We all admire Olympic champions for their success.  We think “I would like to be like them” and that their lives must be so glamorous and easy.

I recently had the pleasure of attending a Judo Masterclass with Karina Bryant, an Olympic medallist from London 2012. 12541135_1673834262854789_7063568194133129491_n It was a great experience.  Detailed instructions from Karina were a real eye opener (I’m not a Judo player so a lot of it is new to me).  It was interesting to see how much the small things matter.

I thoroughly enjoyed the session and had a chance to train with Karina as her partner, with her correcting my clumsy movements and positioning.

12573778_1673834292854786_9083340743829225848_n She is such a nice and successful person, life must be easy for her right?  Not exactly.  We had a chance to ask Karina questions and one of them was “how did she get to the top?”  Her answer was through hard work, battling against everyone.

A lot of people advised her that after failing at previous Olympic events she should retire.  No one gave her support and they said that she was too old and should find a new job.  Karina mentioned how difficult this was for her, but she decided to prove everyone wrong.  She has certainly achieved this against the odds.

This was very motivating for me and has allowed me to appreciate more one’s stubbornness and the belief in one’s ability to achieve their goals.  I hope that I will be able to persevere through difficulties like an Olympic champion.

Advertisements

Kagami Biraki 2016

The members of our club were invited to take part in a Kagami Biraki celebration at The Mid Sussex Martial Arts School, run by Kyoshi Roger Payne.  I was very happy to accept their invitation as their events are always excellent.  Sensei Roger and the other instructors that are invited to teach at The Mid Sussex Martial Arts School all have vast amounts of knowledge in their discipline and so it is always a great opportunity for my students and I to learn something new.

Regardless of whether a technique, custom or philosophy is being taught the instructions are always clear and sincere.  Sensei Roger is always keen to help and is straightforward in his approach, which I really appreciate.

Kagami Biraki Is a Japanese traditional ceremony that literally translates to ‘Opening the Mirror’ or ‘Breaking of the Mochi’.  It traditionally falls on the 11th of January (odd numbers are associated with good luck in Japan) and refers to the opening of a Kagami mochi, or to the opening of a cask of Sake at a party or ceremony.  The 4th Tokugawa Shogun was the first one to hold this ceremony 300 years ago as before going to war he gathered his Daimyo in his Castle to break open a sake cask, as the battle was successful, from there on a new ceremony was born.  The ceremony nowadays is also performed at weddings, sporting events, opening days at new companies, plus other significant events worthy of being celebrated.

Unfortunately I was the only person able to represent Shin Ai Do Karate at the event this year.  However, I was joined by a good friend from another style of Karate.  When we arrived we were welcomed by Kyoshi Roger who briefed us on his dojo’s etiquette, explained to us the Kagami Biraki tradition and showed us their mochi.  After catching up with friends the whole group took part in a warm up and games.  Following on from this was the main part of the event where Sensei Roger explained the arts being taught at The Mid Sussex Martial Arts School.  Whilst his students demonstrated Judo, Aikido and Iaido Sensei Roger guided the parents of his younger students through the moves, philosophy and discipline of the arts, providing a clear justification of why they do what they do.

As a guest at the event I was asked to demonstrate Shin Ai Do Karate.  It was a great honour for me.  I performed Tensho kata and explained our interpretation of the movements with the help of my fellow Karateka, Chi.

10422248_1567825006789049_2472021369096897672_n

At the end of the training session all of the participants took part in cleaning the dojo, regardless of grade.  Black belts alongside white belts were working together shoulder-to-shoulder to keep the dojo tidy.

The Kagami Biraki finished traditionally with Sushi, Sake and Mizo soup.  Parents, teachers and students had a chance to socialise, ask questions and get more knowledge about the traditional martial arts.

I am very happy that I was able to take part in this event.  If you get the opportunity I would highly recommend taking part in a traditional Kagami Biraki!  Many thanks to Sensei Roger and all of those that attended the Kagami Biraki for making us feel welcome and for sharing your knowledge with us.

Seminar weekend

Last weekend, the 20-21st of June, our club took part in two events.

The first was a seminar with Sensei Kris Wilder on the Saturday that covered the kata Sanchin from Goju Ryu Karate.  This event was organised by Sensei Matt Jardine from Jardine Karate in Kingston and I would like to express my thanks to him for inviting us and for making us feel so at home.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

To be honest I had expected this session to involve a lot of kata repetition with little or no explanation, as is quite common on seminars.   However, I was pleasantly surprised and really happy to find that Sensei Kris is a very practical person and open to questions and conversation.  I found the way he taught truly inspiring.  He delivered clear instructions with humour coupled with an impressive level of anatomical knowledge, which made it very easy to understand his points.  He also provided visual support to his descriptions using excellent drawings that he sketched up on a whiteboard.

For me, the most interesting part of this seminar was that despite a distance of over 8,000 km between Seattle and Krakow I have now encountered another teacher (in addition to my Sensei) that uses very similar principles in applying techniques.  Maybe because of this I felt at home at this seminar as I was already familiar with Sensei Kris’ approach.  I definitely plan to borrow some of his descriptions when explaining movements to my students!

Apart from being a great teacher Sensei Kris is a very approachable person so I felt comfortable speaking with him freely about any subject, starting with Karate through to communism in Poland and ending up with gun problems currently experienced in the USA.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

If you have the chance to attend a seminar with Sensei Kris Wilder I would highly encourage you to do so, it is well worth it!

On the Sunday I represented our club at Reading on a Yawara Jutsu seminar with Hanshi Terry Wingrove.  I had really been looking forward to this event as a lot of my close friends from Poland have trained under Hanshi Terry for many years.  I had actually planned to attend seminars with Hanshi Terry for some time, but something had always come up that had prevented me from being able to join.  So when I heard that Hanshi Terry would be at a seminar that is so close to me I knew that I had to attend.  This seminar was organised by Sensei Rakesh Chenchery from the Kensho Dojo and I would like to thank him for the very warm welcome.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This seminar was very interesting with the vast knowledge of Hanshi Terry being somewhat overwhelming – the ways in which this man can cause pain is just unbelievable!  I had been introduced to Jutsu before by my friends so I naively thought that I knew what to expect.  Well it turns out that I was definitely wrong and there was a significant difference between techniques applied on me by my friends and those applied by Hanshi Terry.  The latter is a whole new level of pain.  I found the anatomical aspects most interesting in terms of how the body responds to overlapping pain and how it is unable to pay attention to anything else other than trying to ease the pain.  Some of the concepts of Yawara are similar to what I have experienced before, others are quite alien.

Having attended this seminar I am hoping to go to further seminars that will be run regularly by Hanshi Terry, which will give me a chance to broaden my knowledge and experience in martial arts.

In a similar way to Sensei Kris, Hanshi Terry is very open and approachable and both teachers encourage you to ask questions and think about what you are doing.  I do love this approach that is more involved than the simple “monkey see, monkey do”.

Having written a previous article about the lack of Modesty, Kindness and Honour it is great that life proves me wrong and gives me the opportunity to meet brilliant teachers, for which I am very grateful.

If you ever have the chance to attend seminars with Hanshi Terry or Sensei Kris just go and do it – you will not regret it!

Karate June

Looking forward to two events in June. Our club will attend two seminars with world quality teachers!

First one will be with Kris Wilder from Goju Ryu, big thank you to Matt Jardine from Jardine Karate for kindly inviting us.

More info about Kris Wilder

Second event will be seminar with Hanshi Terry Wingrove who is legendary expert on Yawara Jutsu, this event is special to me as I did try to attend one of Hanshi’s seminars but always something pop out that I could not attend. Hanshi is regular teacher in Poland for years and some of my good friends training under his guidance.

Hanshi’s  knowledge about karate jutsu is paramount.

More About Terry Wingrove

Martial arts weekend in Poland

DSC05379

Last weekend Martin and I visited Krakow.  The weather was wonderful, sunny and hot just like mid-summer.  The purpose of our visit was to join our friends at their Shorinji Kempo seminar.   The seminar was run by the Polish Shorinji Kempo organisation headed by Sensei Jacek Marchewka who we have known for many years. At the seminar, the main instructor was Sensei Seppo Ruusukivi, a 4th Dan from Finland.

To our surprise there were actually more British than Polish people at this event, which seemed a bit ironic…  The U.K. was represented by Shorinji Kempo clubs from Oxford and Bristol along with us from Shin Ai Do Karate Guildford.  There were also groups from Germany, Finland and of course, Poland.

DSC05385

It was very interesting to see different concepts of combat, especially as their perspective was quite unfamiliar to us.  The new patterns of movement and techniques along with different body balance were a bit mind-boggling for us.  However, it was a great experience and definitely took us out of our comfort zone.  As always, training with nice people compensated for all of the struggles.

DSC05368

We found their approach to ceremonies and rules for all dojo activities intriguing – they appeared to be almost religious.  This was not necessarily my cup of tea, but it was fascinating to take part and gain first-hand experience of these practices.

After two days of familiarisation with Shorinji Kempo it was time to spend a few hours with the head of Shin Ai Do, Sensei Artur Marchewka, which concluded with an examination for 2nd Kyu brown belt for Martin.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The examination was held in a relaxed atmosphere outdoors in quite rough terrain with a 30 meter drop, which afforded us a beautiful view of Krakow.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After the examination we went for some light refreshments

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Personally I was very happy to see Martin’s progression and am looking forward to his examination for black belt in a few years.

It was great to have the opportunity to catch up with our old friends and to make new ones from around the world.  It just goes to show that martial arts really can widen your horizons and connects people across the globe J

Trip to Poland

Since last week a lot has happened and so I have been very busy!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I must start with a short review of our annual wresting seminar, which this year was a bit smaller than expected.  However, as we say in Poland “there isn’t a bad thing that doesn’t turn out to be good” or “Nie ma tego złego co by na dobre nie wyszło”!  With less people we had more space on the mats and so coach Marek and his assistant, Klaudia, could pay more attention to our techniques.  As always the knowledge and skills of coach Marek is astounding as he is able to change our performance dramatically just by making a few tweaks to our technique execution.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We would like to give a big thanks to our guests for their time!

In addition to the seminar we also welcomed our guests along with the participants to a dinner, which is now turning into something of a tradition…  The meal was delicious and we are very grateful to Anna who cooked for all of us.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We also managed to fit in a trip to Hampton Court Palace so our guests could find out a little bit about the history of England.  The palace is an extraordinary place, both in terms of its beauty and history.  I would definitely recommend visiting.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

With the busy weekend gone there was still no rest for me as I joined our friends on their way back to Poland.   I spent the whole week back in my home town of Kraków, training at our Hombu Dojo with Sensei Artur.

10407057_1549320631972820_1527975373896421354_n

As I mentioned in my New Year’s article, I have also started studying soft joint manipulation therapy.  I was very excited about this new experience as it puts me right out of my comfort zone.  Training-wise it was great fun to visit the Hombu and I have been given some great tips about training and technique.  I also had the pleasure of joining our friend, Grzegorz, at his dojo for ju jitsu training.

10305951_1549817775256439_5100478753398040895_n

Whilst in Kraków I embarked on an intense study regime that covered the mechanics of body alignment and how to correct misplaced joints.  It was amazing to see first-hand how this method works, for example I had the joy of seeing the benefits gained by an 86 year old lady with Parkinsons disease who had been able to regain her mobility thanks to realignment treatment sessions.

1334841464563

After covering the theory and a few practice sessions I was able to start performing treatments under the supervision of my teacher.  I have to say that I was surprised at how quickly the sensitivity of my hands improved.  On the first day I could not feel different levels of muscle tension but now after a week I find them easy to spot.   It was a great week and very satisfying on a personal level – there is a lot of work ahead of me, but I am definitely looking forward to it!

Thanks for reading,

Les.