Nachi's Log

Discussion in 'Training Logs' started by Nachi, Apr 23, 2015.

  1. Nachi

    Nachi Valued Member Supporter

    Tuesday, October 10

    Taiji - fan - teaching

    A good group today. I structure the class as usual, we reviewed a few things, I explained the last couple of moves for one or two people, who missed the explanation and I moved onto the next move, a bit more complicated, yet very pretty one. I reviewed my notes I took when the teacher taught our group. There were some things that went against each other - like once the teacher said not to bend the knee, the next time he said to bend it, but I took from it the version I am doing after all the reviews :)

    I remember it took us a lot of time to practice this move over and over when our gorup was learning it, but maybe the time seemed longer for me then, as I felt this group somewhat got it relatively quickly - we only had 15 or so mins at the end of the class, I think. So I was happy :) Next time we’ll work on it some more.

    Taiji - sword

    We started with basic exercises, then our group did the form twice. We only had half of the gym and there were nine of us, so we did it by groups or 4 and 5. So it took some time. The teacher had a correction for us, so we drilled one move for a while. Then we took up wooden swords and for the last 15 mins practiced in pairs.

    Taiji - 108 form

    We started with Laojia Yilu and Erlu (108 form together).

    We worked on an application of the second move. The teacher asked if we would be alright if we started working in pairs for the applications a bit more regularly. Yes! That’s what I was calling for! So I kept nodding vigorously. However, not everyone was very enthusiastic, proabbyl due to some health issues. Which is a pity.

    Nonetheless, we tried the 2nd move application today. Instructor R made a beeline for me before I managed to look around and see who would be a good partner for me.

    It worked well, R is a woman of similar height, and she is also skilled, so I would be hard pressed to find a better partner :)

    Then we reviewed the 6ht to 9th move, trying to apply the principles the teacher had explained and we tried in the partner work before. The teacher watched from the side close to when I was. I could feel his gaze and tried to do my best. But just as I made one step, he would very blatantly shake his head. Looked like I did something very wrong, but I had no idea what!

    he then explained to everyone. I keep moving my foot slightly when stepping forward diagonally. I actually noticed this when stratchign - my right foot usually turns more outward in stretches than my left one, apparently, some flexibility issue. And that exact thing applies here. It is not that it would be impossible to do correctly, but if I don’t pay attention and keep the foot in position by force…

    However, the teacher wasn’t happy about it: “You still do that thing that I corrected for you so many times.”

    Whaaat? I mean… he did correct it for me, but… that was like 3 years ago? Once? Or twice? o_O

    I mean, of course, he was correct, but I just didn’t realise I was doing it. Well, no, actually, I sort of knew, I noticed myself, but if I strained myself and kept the foot where it should be, the posture was fairly strained since then. And anyway, pretty much no one keeps the feet on the perfect spot all the time. And I am doing my best to focus on this stuff, but just came to see this mistake not as a number #1 priority. Well, I guess I’d better change that now…

    Taiji - 15 moves

    I stretched while the next class did silk reeling. Somehow, although it felt like an eternity since my last taiji class - as I skipped Wednesday last week, I felt really good about how it went today. My legs felt strong and I felt fairly comfortable throughout. And I wasn’t very tired, yet, so I stayed for this next class.

    We did 5 moves to 4 directions, then worked a bit on the 6th move, then 6th to 15th and then mostly 15th with some cool details. Instructor R and a few other more advanced students were there, so the teacher shared some nuances for us, too. Which was cool :) Always plenty of stuff to work on

    I really enjoyed today’s classes :)
    Dan Bian likes this.
  2. Nachi

    Nachi Valued Member Supporter

    Wednesday, October 11

    Taiji fan & double fan

    I started the class and we did 3 fan forms before the teacher came. We worked on a part of the form near the end, I got some corrections. I was glad, I’d like to have the best understanding of it if I have to teach it to others.

    We worked on double fan form, then. I missed last week’s class, but after one form with the teacher, I was again put to the front for others to copy me. And… I was quite uncertain as I haven’t practiced it for a while! Same thing when the teacher wanted me to show a new move - one he taught me at the beginning of July, but we haven’t really done in classes. I tried to teach it a few people, but we never really practiced if beyond that. I somehow remembered, btu as I had no time to even ponder about the details… but I did it, more or less :D

    Taiji - 35 moves

    I was leading the warm-up - the form up to the 25th move (about the middle), then we repeated the last 10 moves over and over. Till the teacher came. I thought we were supposed to do the form once, but perhaps I misheard…

    We did also one more form with the teacher. I stood just next to him and as usual, given teh opportunity, I did my best to copy. Then, as expected, he had us practice once more without him, so I did my best to keep the same pace.

    We worked on Protect-the-heart fist and later the teacher started explaining a new move: Tornado Foot. We only did the legs today. I was again reminded of some details and I was happy for the opportunity to practice

    Taiji - 7 moves

    I took the silk-reeling, I was asked to do it facing the class today - in a mirrored way, which I hadn’t done in a while, so I had to be extra careful not to mess up the directions, but I managed.

    Then our group did 5 moves to 4 directions, focusing on breath, then we worked on the 6th, then the 7th move.

    I then stretched and went home, legs hurt and were tired.
  3. Nachi

    Nachi Valued Member Supporter

    Thursday, October 12


    Sensei tasked me with Junbi Undo, so I did that before he returned. We did some crunches - what I call half-sit-ups, 200 of them.

    For today’s class sensei decided to work on a second bunkai of Gekisai dai Ichi kata - a nice quick technique. We drilled it solo, in pairs, in groups of three, with some ude tanren (iron body conditioning) right before, etc. It was a nice class.

    Karate - advanced

    I did a Sepai and Shisochin kata before sensei finished discussing something with someone. Except for me, there were two guys - 1st dan and 3rd kyu. Because of the shodan, sensei wanted to do Sanseru kata (kata for 2nd dan grading). But neither of them knew it, so sensei started explanation from the beginning. We got to roughly a middle of it.
  4. Nachi

    Nachi Valued Member Supporter

    Sunday, October 15

    I did not feel that great (not sick, just tired), and skipped kettlebell class...

    Monday, October 16

    Karate Kids - teaching

    Honza is ill, so I was taking classes alone today. Well, that is a lie, I had our new assistant there for the kids class.

    25 children today! It was very lively and it was great, however, the dojo starts to be too small. Sensei showed up, checked who goes there and will probably find a solution - either open a new class for the youngest ones, or try to move us to a gym - we are training in a classroom in an elementary school, which was equipped as a dojo. But there is only so much space…

    The kids were loud and there were just too many of them and unceasing noise. I would not really mind, if.. if I could outshout them. Which I could not. I had to shout every explanation I was trying to say and it was really tough on me. My young assistant shouted for me for the kids to quiet downa few times, when all my crying wasn’t even heard… :’( Why do the guys have so much louder voices? This is only a 15 yo lad, yet he could outshout them no problem. Dang.

    As a "punishment", I tasked him with Junbi Undo. One doesn’t need to talk much, but I still wanted to rest a little. And that was the only time when the dojo was actually quiet -_-

    Then I planned to do San Dan Gi. We stared with age and yoko uke for practice. However, we still have new students coming and there were new ones, too. San Dan Gi would be too complex for them. And I didn’t want to just keep doing very basic stuff with everyone. the plan is to split the class in two groups. No can do, my assistant got to teach the beginners the two blocks properly.

    I had no room checking how he did as I tried to work witht he majority and even hadt to sometimes split them to fit in the space we had…

    Phew. It was tough and a bit chaotic. Several parents were inside the dojo, watching, which we generally allow, se there would always be some. Today I got asked by a couple of them if there will always be so many children… Yeah, I guess it did look chaotic. Well, hopefully we’ll figure something out.

    My voice was fairly hoarse by the end of this.

    Karate adults - Sanchin class - teaching
    Ah, the adult clas was like a quiet oasis, I loved it. Anything I said, even relatively quietly, was heard across the dojo. I loved it!

    Although I slightly regretted that for today I planned (and announced!) a special, talkative class.

    Today it was more of a lecture than a training, but I hope for once it does not matter.

    I basically got a sudden inspiration to do a class focused on Sanchin kata. We do practice Sanchin and tend to say some things about it, but those things are usually about particular techniques, about keeping back straight or a reminder to breath in the abdomen.

    And yet, there is so much to say about this amazing kata. It has so many aspects and principles! BUt it is hard to delv into those randomly.

    In the weekend I took my notes. A couple of years ago, IOGKF chief instructor organized an online Sanchin seminar, wehre I think, around 10 senior senseis from IOGKF gave a talk on Snachin. Anything they wanted to say or focus on. Each had 10 mins. It wasn’t much, but basically none finished in 10 mins :D Anyway, I just sat in front of the TV and noted everything down. And I has notes frmo some other seminars. Many things were interesting, but some said randomly. When I, however organized all this info, I got a nice wholesome picture on this kata, that I was rather happy about.

    So apart from doing a few Sanchin katas at the beginning and throughout and a few exercises I had to try the stuff I was talking about, I was only talking the whole class.

    I started a bit about history and origin of Sanchin kata in our style, about its defining features. Sanchin means 3 battles. 3 forces that we try to unite. There are many options, but one of them is Mind, Body and Spirit.

    I focused on Mind, Body, and Breath. Those were the three main aspects I wanted to talk about. A bit about what the body needs to do in Sanchin and what are the reasons and outcomes of that. That Sanchin is a isometric kata and what it means. I did not focus on particular techniques, but how the body works in Sanchin in general, what is the task of different body parts, how to protect vulnerable areas like groin and solar plexus in sanchin by the stance alone, etc.

    As for breath I explained what abdominad breathing is and how it works, how to do long and strong abdominal breathing - how it creates pressure, how to work with diaphragm and how to prolong the breathing mechanically to prolong it. How strong breathing synchronized with muscle movement is important for strength, etc.

    Then I focused on the mind. The mind that makes the body and breath do what we want them to do, how to synchronieze breath adn body movement. How not to get distracted, how the mind should be focused, how the mind should deal with Shime, etc. How to lead the breath on the path it should followe through the Tanden.

    Then, as we don’t go into this stuff generally, I thought it would be good to explain what Tanden is. That we have three Tandens and how they work in Sanchin kata. Since Sanchin is a form of meditaiton and Kiko (energy work), I also talked abotu the inner energy - Ki. What it is and what it isn’t and the way Sanchin works with it. This was not very detailed, just a basic explanation.Something I also learned in Taiji and read about in a nice book about Qi from a Taiji perspective.

    I have to say I was quite happy how the info I gathered and how I understood it, made sense all together. The students listened and I hope it was interesting. Obviously, it was a lot of info that would be impossible to remember, but I just wanted them to understand the kata a bit more and maybe appreciate, like I just did, what a nice form it is.

    Karate advanced - teaching

    I got into talking and didn’T notice the time! We only had 10 misn left, but there was only me nad my assistant. Last time he learned a part of Sanseru kata and wanted to continue. Yeah, we did not have time for that, so I at least answered some of his questions about that ansd we went through the kata a couple of times…
  5. Nachi

    Nachi Valued Member Supporter

    Tuesday, October 17

    Taiji - fan - teaching

    Very few people today! Only 4! I suppose many are sick… Anyways, we reviewed then.

    We started with 3 forms and then I was about to do our exercise of doing one move involving three steps continuously across the gyma few times. We’ve been doing this for months now, so I am feeling a bit bad, but I also feel that it is sucha good exercise. This move is difficult to synchronize everything and we also focus on how to work with hips, among others and I can totally see improvements in my students, and in myself, as well.

    So when I was about to announce this, I heard one of the students - instructor R - telling to the other something along the lines: “On no, we’re going to be crossing the gym again.” With her eyes itching to roll, I could see that! So in response, i said, indeed, that is what we’re gonna do! I promised only 3 gyms, though.

    Which I regretted afterwards when the thirds student, the least experiences, was making some mistakes. But promise is a promise.

    I then had them do the form again, checking for places that could use some work or explanation. And (!) I saw the student who was doing well in the steps now, and seemed to not enjoy my exercise too much, either, slack and move the feet wrong. Apparently too lazy to focus too much! I had everyone go at it again just to check if it was only a momentary thing, but now, she was slacking,, so I gave her a bit of nagging.

    Instructor L practicing by herself in a corner heard and later asked me: “so L (the student) was slacking in the steps, correct? I have just drilled this type of steps with her! How is it possible! Hahaha :D
    The next day, L came to me: “Do you know how instructor L heard you reprimanding me for the steps? Not only did she promise me to make me work hard on those, but in the next class she taught, she told the whole large group: ‘What is this? L firs slacks and makes mistakes in the steps with the fan and now even messes them up here?’” :D :D :D Ahahahaa, good for you! I dare you to mock my methods next time! :D

    Anyways, after this I corrected some other moves before we moved tot he very last move we started last time. I explained it again and we drilled till the end of class. It is, indeed, one of the most complicated ones, and people had trouble figuring out how to keep the arms moving in the right direction while turning the body 180°. I don’t think the teacher ever explained to us in detail. He gave us tips here and there, but basically, as soon as I got the basic idea,he stood me in front of the class and had us drill for most of the class….

    Today, as I was trying to explain and find an easy way to show or an easy-to-grasp point to focus on, I came up with a good exercise of basically swinging the whole arms in the air, turning the body, keep the arms moving by having people imagine they would cut into the direction of the wall. THen I had to divide this first right arm only, hten left arm only, but bit by bit, everyone was ableot do it. It didn't look the most elegant, I guess, but hey, as long as it works!

    Taiji - sword

    Basic techniques, then two sword forms and partner work with wooden swords in pairs as usual. I, as usual, paired up with instructor L.

    Taiji - 108 form

    We started with Laojia Yilu, but the teacher arrived just as we were about to start Erlu and stopped us.

    He asked for any questions for anything within the form. No one asked and I had one back in my mind, for when there’s an opportunity, about breathing in a couple of moves. Indeed, it was a bit complicated and the teacher gave two options and we tried a few times. I will later have to try which one works better for me. Each is a bit counter-intuitive in one place or two…

    Then we worked on the 8th move we finished with last time, and maybe something else, not sure.

    The teacher promised we would do the Laojia Erlu at the end, but suddenly, the class was over, but the teacher commanded to do a quick one, so we did.

    Taiji - 16 moves

    I was planning to go home for today, skipping the last class I sometimes go to. I went to grab my things, when the teacher came by: “Can’t you do the silk reeling?”

    “Well, it is not that I can’t, but I don’t really want to.” (I was not too, but relatively tired and this worked last time).

    “I see, since you can, then you go!” -_-

    I took the warm-up then, thinking about leaving right after. But the teacher was there alone on two groups, so right away he used me to be in front fo the class doing the form and then drilling what he explained.

    Teh teacher was bullying me a little - making me demonstrate hard stuff (physically), probably as a revenge as I always tried doing it and a bit my way...

    On the other hand, though, when we worked on the 15th, then 16th move, he did give me tips and advices and it was a good class for me :)
  6. Nachi

    Nachi Valued Member Supporter

    Wednesday, October 18

    Taiji fan & Double fan

    The teacher wasn’t there, yet, so as usual, I started the class. We would do fan forms until the teacher turned up. Sometimes he shows up after the inicial few moves, sometimes it takes him 3 forms. Today he was late to come. We did three forms, tired, but he was yet nowhere to be seen.

    It couldn¨t be helped and I started the 4th form, despite some girls not looking that happy. The teacher came when we were about half in and one of the tired friends thought that was it and stopped. What? Doesn’t work like that. When we started, we finish, right? When we did, the teacher, of course, wanted to see how we were doing and told us to do one more form :D As expected.

    Then he worked with us on moves near the end, clearing some details.

    Half an hour in we took the double fans. I don’t remember those too well, and hoped to disappear behind the teacher, but it didn’t work, he would have me in the front even if he was doing the form with us, right beside him.

    The second form he’d only watch.

    Last time we learned two new moves - two out of the three I had learned ahead at the beginning of July, but, ehm, did not really practice much.

    Neither did the teacher, and apparently, he forgot. So he sent me in front of him so he could copy, too. Oh no!

    He had us practice for a bit and he checked the video of his master we are learning this from. As soon as he left the room, as expected, questions came and pleas to go through this and that again….

    Then he had me demonstrate the next move, checked it and then he added one more for us. Not a difficult one, composed of movements we had already learned, and we practiced till the end.

    And two whole forms.

    Taiji - 35 moves

    We split the groups at the very beginning, the more advanced one not doing silk reeling anymore. No one was there, so I was about to start the form with that group, but right then the teacher appeared and took charge. We did one form with him and another alone.

    The teacher was in a good mood, today, which is easy to tell when he becomes sarcastic and the class is really fun, although he is mostly low-key making fun of us….

    So to demonstrate how to do stuff, he’d show us and for us to understand (which is always a good way to see it), he’d demonstrate what we were doing. Except that although he really is doing it the same we do, I can tell, he looks … well, almost retarded. I mean, if he looks at a group of us doing that… I can’t blame him for poking fun at us :D

    apparently. He wanted us to work on the silk reeling - with the hips - in Cloud Hands and High Patting on Horse - both of which I consider some of the hardest moves…

    He was kind enough to give me some corrections, but in a somewhat haughty tone and when he said I was making a mistake, I couldn’t resist: “Can’t be…”

    The teacher changed a thing in the High Patting on Horse. He said as his understanding of the form evolves and depending on what we practice in it, there are options to do it. He had a slight change, a version of Fall 2023. He wanted us to move the foot quick, in half the time, before the arms move. To slide the foot on the floor and to do it in a way we would not lose the flow and no change would appear on our upper body.

    Maybe someone was looking frustrated as he gave a little speech about how not to thing about it that we do it wrong. It is simply a new version, a way to improve what we are doing. Not to feel bad about it, but improve it over time. It is not like you are doing it wrong.

    Yeah, indeed, but when I was trying it 5 mins ago: “That was fast enough, yes, but still wrong!” -_-

    Apparently, only I do it wrong! :D

    We then moved to the latest move - tornado kick. The teacher explained details I’ve never heard before (and thus, again, was doing them wrong). When he explained soethign and I didn’t understand the exact timing, I asked about it. But got a: “I’m not telling you, you’d just speed it up uselessly.” And he went away. -_- What the…

    After a while, though, when I stood there dumbfounded, he came back and told me… I tried really hard not to do it too fast, then :D :D :D

    Taiji - 7 moves

    I took the silk reeling for both groups - because one was a beginner group, I did it mirror-like, facing everyone.
  7. Nachi

    Nachi Valued Member Supporter

    Thursday, October 19

    Karate Kids

    Sensei couldn’t make it today, Honza is still ill, so I was teaching today again. I had the assistant instructor, thank goodness, though.

    We did a warm-up with running, I had the assistant do Junbi Undo and then we split the class to teach kata. the assistant asked for the more advanced, which… made sense. They were easier to handle, or to explain stuff. I took the group of beginners and taught them the first 6 steps of Gekisai Dai Ichi.

    Karate Adults

    We started with Junbi Undo that I asked the assistant to do, while I prepared the equipment for Hojo Undo. What a bad idea. The closet it was stored in was a mess and I couldn’t get stuff out and if I did, more came out than I asked for…

    There were 10 people, me included, and we did a round of Hojo Undo. There were two beginners, so I kept checking on them and others and did not get a proper work-out myself. But when they were at a technically easy thing, I quickly squeezed in some kongoken, weighted lunges or crunches or anythig.

    We had half an hour left, which I used to divide the people in three groups by kata they had for their next grading or wanted to practice. I taught the beginner first steps of the first kata and then went to the other groups to check and give corrections. I managed two rounds, but I think it was quite productive.

    Karate advanced

    I had the assistant with 3rd kyu there and a guy with 1st dan. Last week sensei taught them the first part of Sanseru kata - over a half ,and today I checked all my notes on this kata to be reminded of all the details, and taught them the rest. Obviously, both have racticed and remembered the kata, which was great
  8. Nachi

    Nachi Valued Member Supporter

    Saturday - getting my garden ready for the winter

    Sunday - kettlebell gym

    I have missed the last two classes (well, one was cancelled), so I wasn’t sure how it’d go today. It went well, though.

    We started with mobility again, then preparatory exercises as usual (16 kg).


    I did first two reps with my usual 28 kg, it didn’t feel worse then before, which was great. As I am stuck at this weight for some time now, the instructor decided to give me some variability and had me try TGU with a dumbbell. She said the weight might feel different, obviously it would have a different center of gravity, so she said to try with 10 kg first, then move to 15 kg.

    The 10 kg felt very, very weird. First, after the 28 kg bell it was weirdly light, and second, as the kettlebell pulls my arm outward with it’s weight and now the dumbbell wasn’t, it felt like it was pushing me inside. So it felt very weird and a bit hard in that. Still, the weight was too light, so I took 15 kg for the next rep and 20 kg for the next and did 3 reps per side with that.

    The instructor originally said not to go beyond that, but by that time I got a bit more used to the center of gravity, so the 20 kg still felt not too heavy, but I didn’t feel like going for 25 kg just yet. I mean, I could most likely do it, but it was something new and weird and I think I’ll leave it for next time.

    Then I took the 32 kg kettlebell to again just press it up and hold for a few seconds. I only did 2 rounds, it felt weird after the dumbbells again.

    I will probably us the dumbbells only after I did everything I wanted to with the kettlebells. This change was not too great…

    Single-legged deadlifts + push-ups

    I worked on the deadlifts with 24 kg kettlebell, on the version by this instructor, which I found a bit strange at first, but I am getting used to it. THen I asked for some things in the push-ups. I tend to let my shoulderblades squeeze in on my way down and the instructor previously told me not to do that. But I cannot.

    She checked on me with her palms over my shoulder blades and if I focused hard, she said I did well. But she said to go back up when I was like in the middle of the distance to the floor and right on the border beyone which I could not keep my shoulder blades apart. She said it was probably fine like that, but I was going for touching my nose to the floor before…

    Anyway, she gave me a few tips and told me to treat the push-ups like a strength exercise (which I did), but with the weird power breathing and everything. I tried in the last round, with hands elevated on a step.

    EMOM - swings

    I took 28 kg again today, I didn’t want to overexert myself especially after missing two classes. I focused on the technique which might have slipped a little today, but other than that it was ok, I didn’t even have to open my mouth throughout the exercise.

    I might go heavier next time (if I am not lazy, that is).
  9. Nachi

    Nachi Valued Member Supporter

    Monday, October 23

    Karate Kids

    Honza is still ill, teh assistant isntructor wasn’t coming. But plenty of kids certainly were! We had one new potential assistant instructor - a 15 yo girl with 6th kyu. She really has no experience, yet, just one training last week. Well, perfect time to get some!

    She was a bit nervous understandably, and as I expected, she showed some uncertainty in what she is expected to do and when nd how, etc. I planned to teach the class myself, not splitting the children into groups, but asked her to maybe take a pad and hold it for the little ones when they learn how to punch, or watch and if she sees a beginner, go help him. Maybe stand in front of him and show what they are supposed to do, give quick clear instruction, or maybe just move the hand or whatever where it needs be. She seemed to be committing these to memory. I encouraged her not to worry, I’ll tell her what I would like her to help with, etc.

    Also sensei messaged he’d come today, but I was not sure if to train or just appear and maybe ask the children something like last time. But he came, dressed in a gi! Ah, what a wonderful sight!

    There were 29 children today (29!), the dojo is getting smaller and smaller and sensei took over (I loved him for that).

    Before we started he took me and the assistant for a short briefing, which started with: There’s three of us, so let’s split the class into three groups :D :D :D

    I saw the color dissappear from the assistant instructor's face :D

    The sensei then asked what each of us wanted to do. She took pads, sensei gave her brief idea on what to do and when he was talking to the children, I did my best to give her as many details as how to go about it as possible.

    The class was full and working in three groups with children made for a lot of background noise, so I had no choice but to shout again. Especially for the largest group. And yet, the students on the flanks still couldn’t hear me…

    Karate adults - still teaching

    Sensei still had stuff to do so he left before the adult class, but I did not mind, teaching the adults is much much easier.

    We did three Sanchin katas at the beginning, followed by Junbi Undo and a few combinations - of three blocks. Two beginners worked on closed-hand blocks: Age, yoko, harai, uchi a uchi barai uke, while I had interesting open-handed stuff for the rest - inspired by what Nakamura-sensei taught at a seminar earlier this year (well, more like copied than inspired, but… :D )

    I tried to handle both groups, and it worked, I hope.

    I also planned to work on San Dan Gi Ichi, Ni and San. Ichi is easy enough for the beginners to do if they practiced the 3 blocks and San is something the rest should practice as the majority will have it for the next grading in a couple of months.

    Before we went through the blocks, however, I discovered there were only 10 mins left…. Therefore I put one brown belt in front of the big group to copy San Dan Gi San from him and explained Sna Dan Gi Ichi to the beginners. Then I checked on the advanced group and said a couple of things about it.

    Karate advanced - still teaching

    Today it was only the one brown belt and me. He has missed the last few classes and last time he learned the bigger half of Shisochin kata. So we went over it again and I taught the rest.
  10. Nachi

    Nachi Valued Member Supporter

    Tuesday, October 24

    Taiji Spear

    The teacher opened a new class as we pleaded with him in summer. Starting at 7 am, teaching the staff/spear.

    Surprisingly lot of people came, 15, I think.

    There was a bit of intro and we worked on the basic skills.

    I was only one of two people there actually knowing the form already (although I don’t preactice it and would need to think quite a bit to put it together). There is also a short, 13 form of long staff - mostly basic skills involved, which was demonstrated by the junior instructor, who was probably the only one there knowing this one and then the teacher asked the other, senior instructor to demonstrate the long form. However, most likely last time he practiced was together with me in summer and he apparently didn’t remember too well, either, as he stopped in the middle with: “A part os ok, right?” :D

    It was a good class. I am hoping it will help me improve my spear skills and give me the opportunity to practice it

    Taiji fan - teaching

    Aroudn 8 people today. Class strtuctured as usual, we reviewed today. One lady missed for over a month, very nice and enthusiastic lady.

    She went through hard things, yet she came back as enthusiastic as ever, even studied the moves she missed on on a video, so she caught on very quickly. She is awesome, always with a smile on her face.

    Taiji sword

    Basic skills practice, then one whole sword form and about 40 mins practice in the pairs. Today we went a little back, not doing the techniques continuously, and I think it was good, helped us figure things out.

    Taiji - Cannon Fist

    We started with Laojia Yilu and Laojia Erlu. Then the teacher had us show the first 25 moves, I think and worked with us on the Stepping Three Steps. Good details mentioned, nice class.

    Taiji - 16 moves

    I wasn’t too tired, yet, the last two classes weren’t that harsh. But for the last week or so, my previously injured hamstring keeps hurting a little when stretched even a bit, so I really really wanted to do a proper stretching. So I did, for about 40 mins. Ah, it was so good! Muscles around hips kinda hurt after, as I was rather thorough.

    For the last 15 mins I joined the class working ont he 15th and beginning of 16th move.
  11. Nachi

    Nachi Valued Member Supporter

    Wednesday, October 25

    Taiji - fan and double fan

    I started the class, we did, I think 3 forms, before the teacher came to teach us. He reviewed some moves with us and I got a few corrections on those.

    In the second half of the class we started with the double fan form. It is apparently not one the teacher would really practice by himself, so, as I already expected, toward the end, he forgot, and sent me in front of him as well. I didn’t review the last move from last week, but I think I got it. More or less. I forgot about the left hand, but focused on it more in the subsequent practice.

    The teacher had us practice the newest bit and went the check the video he is studying the form from and taught us the next piece. It didn’t make much sense to me on how to do it well and keep the flow, btu the teacher explained the details more and more when I was lost. I guess it made a bit more sense, but I still struggled. The teacher could do it well, though, but I got the timing wrong, somewhere, apparently.

    Taiji 35 moves or so

    I started the class with the whole form. The teacher then had us do it from teh 25th move again and we worked on the kicks for a bit.

    The newest move was a turning kick. We worked on it to detail again. Then the teacher said we eeded to kick really fast in order to not turn the leg slowly with the body. But he quickly added, pointing at me: "But the kick only! Do the arms really slow, you! Like reeeeally slow. I know you’d love to sprint through it, I saw that gleam in your eyes, when I saw quickly. But only the kick, just the leg!!!"

    Oh, come on! :D

    Well, I would love to do it quick, but… he didn’t have to exaggerate his point that much!

    Taiji - 8 moves

    I went to the front to lead the silk reeling as usual. The teacher there asked me: “So how advanced is this group, do you remember?”

    I didn’t really: “Not sure, but aren’t they around 8th move?”

    Teacher: “No, I remember now, they’re at the 15th.”

    Me, doubtful (that class was yesterday, and there aren’t really 2, or the other would be on Monday). “Are you sure, isn’t…”

    Teacher: “No I am sure.It is as I say. Trust me.”

    When I was done with the silk reeling, the second teacher took the beginner group, but the head teacher went away and wasn’t back, yet. So I would start with the more advanced group. I… did not really trust the teacher, so I first asked another instructor joining that group. “Yeah, this is 8 moves. The teacher ... he has no idea…”

    And to be doubly sure, I asked other people from that group - those who didn’t come to practice what they knew, but those actually learning here. They confirmed.
    Therefore we started with 5 moves ot 4 directions. The teacher came by then, gave us corrections for what he saw and said we’d continue with the next few moves. He stopped wehn doing the 9th. The class did their best to follow.

    Then the teacher told us to turn another direction and go a few steps back and do the “whole form” - what the group knew. Apparently, though, he was still focused on that 15 moves and we would move quite a bit to the front in the 9th and 12th…

    So I throught it was time I spoke up. He obviously didn’t check on the class schedule.

    The teacher was surprised: “What, really? … Oh, we did 15 moves yesterday, didn’t we?”

    He turned back to the class: “That is because I keep seeing the same faces!”

    Indeed, plenty people here were from the more advanced class, and were there yesterday, too…. :D

    Anyway, he then finally had us work on the 8th move, and we started Stepping Three Steps, only feet.
  12. Nachi

    Nachi Valued Member Supporter

    Sunday, October 29

    Kettlebell gym

    Mobility stuff and preparatory exercises as usual (16 kg).


    I was in a spot far from the bells and being too lazy to go and bring dumbbells, I just did 5 rounds with 28 kg. In a few hours I am leaving for Canada. I can do 28 kg fairly safely now. Even if the bell sways a bit here and there, I can keep it stable, even if with some effort on the left side. But overall, I feel improvement, even though I have not been training too consistently lately…

    Then I did 2 rounds of just pressing up 32 kg and holding it us for 15 s. I am getting better at this. I am doing less rounds, but I am able to hold it up longer or easier and I can keep even my left wrist in a good position.

    Single leg deadlift and TRX rows

    I asked the instructor last time about maybe teaching me barbell deadlifts sometime. She came to ask about that. I didn’t need it today, exactly, especially since I’m going to miss a couple classes now.

    Then… she asked about how I was doing with the horizontal bar. Well, that’s … the thing is, I am NOT doing the horizontal bar…

    She asked me if I really didn’t like it. Well, I don’t. I’ve been doing tons of crossfit style pull-ups and various stuff on the bar more times a week for at least a year and a half, but… there has really not been any progress past the inicial one. Granted, I haven’t spent as much effort now, but I do not feel consistent improvement like in the kettlebell stuff…

    The instructor let me try brown with the TRX. That was cool. I can do that, I have stuff to work on there, but it doesn’t seem as overwhelming.

    The instructor did say before that the horizontal bar is easier for lighter people and now that she gained and weights 56 kg, she can feel every single additional one. Well, what does she expect me to do with my 80 kg?

    I bet there are women weighing as much being awesome with pull-ups, but… I am just not.,

    I did 5 rounds of 5 rows and 5 single-leg deadlifts per side with 24 kg kettlebell.

    Swings EMOM

    I did with 28 kg. I should really go heavier, instructor thought so, too. But again my palm hurt and I am just a little paranoid about doing something to hurt myself in the dynamic motion last minute.

    Roller at the end.

    Woohoo, back home to do some last packing and checking, set the alarm to awful 3:30 am and I am off to Canada for a karate seminar with yet again, some of the IOGKF top instructors. 4 days with 4-6 hours of training and on the remaining 4 days I am planning to visit the IOGKF honbu dojo for the first time!

    I - CAN’T - WAIT!
    I hope everything goes smoothly. ^^ :)
    axelb and Xue Sheng like this.
  13. Nachi

    Nachi Valued Member Supporter

    October 30th

    Spent the day on the journey to Toronto through Paris with a 6 hr layoff. It is great that I arrived early enough in the evening to hop on a train, then next one, a bus and walk to a motel I was accomodated in. The seminar would be held in a hotel with a conference center, but as I was going alone and would have to pay for a whole room alone, for 8 nights, it was jsut too much. So i went for the cheapest thing I could find in a walkable distance. I heard previously there would be people accomodating in the nearby motels = here, but in the end it did not seem to be the case :D Anyway, since I had an alarm for 3:30 today and was nervous and excited, I ended up not sleeping at all. I did my best to doze off on the plane, but, well... Then rushing to by a card for public transport and catch the trains, and walk (although only 1) km to the motel, I was really, really exhausted and wanted nothing more than to crash in a bed.
    I forced myself to wash my clothes and myself first, though. I only have a small carry-on suitcase (half of which is filled by my two karate gis) and a small backpack, so I did not bring nearly enough clothes to last me a week :D I will be doing plenty of laundry...

    October 31st
    Despite being dead tired and getting to bed at 11 pm or close to midnight yesterday, I still woke up between 4-5 am and couldn't fall asleep no matter what... damned jetlag.
    When it was light outside, I went to a grocery store to buy something to eat for the following days (there's a small fridge in my room, awesome!). Not many busses running here and not really in this directions, so I made a 7 km walk and took a bus for a few km back. I had to rush to make it to the lunchtime class in the dojo, which was in the opposite direction.

    Black belt class in Shudokan - IOGKF honbu dojo
    I took a bus and came a bit early. I previously wrote sensei Adrienne, who is the administrator of IOGKF and also a teacher in the dojo, so I knew the cost for the class. I didn't know which sensei would be teachign this class, I did not see anyone familiar, so I asked a fellow student who today's instructor was and how I can pay. When I was about to put a bill in an envelope, sensei Adrienne came out of the office. Great, I can just give it directly to her. But as I was about to, Nakamura-sensei, the IOGKF world chief instructor, emerged as well, and announced that for the duration of the Festival, classes were free for guests.... "Sensei Adrienne is feeling generous today!" :D
    I was so happy to see him! And it was a very kind gesture. Also, as kind of agreed, sensei Adrienne gave me a roll of black-belt certificates to bring back home for people from the Czech Republic who recently passed their grading. She made the roll really small for me to fit in my carry on :) Lovely!

    I wasn't the only visitor today. Present was also sensei Arvo frmo Denmark and sensei David and his wife Bea who came from Canada, but from far away, anyway. Everyone was really nice to me, many people came to introduce themselves and chat and were very kind and friendly. Nakamura-sensei asked what grade I was at to help me find the right spot for the initial line-up. The black belt class runs for only about 45 mins, so we did no Junbi Undo, but started with kata - each kata once, first light to warm-up, then with more power. We did all kaishugata till Seisan (so with the exception of Pechurin, which is the only one I had not learned, yet), and did turning Sanchin kata a couple of times in the middle, working on some details.

    Adult class in Shudokan
    We got a short break then and an hour long, general adult class started.
    The general class had about 30 people present. Nakamura-sensei started with Junbi Undo and some core work-out. Then kihon - 3 basic blocks, for black belts the open-handed versions. After that we did 2x 1 min of shadow boxing. Then we did more kihon - though the not exactly karate type - with turning the back leg.
    Then sensei asked the kyu grades to do hojo undo. The black belts also got a job, working with one of the present senseis, I think, and sensei himself took the guests with 4th dan - sensei Arvo and sensei David, to teach them kata separately. The other two guests - Bea and I - were both 2nd dan, and we were to go practice kata (Sepai) with sensei Adrienne. Awesome! Sensei Adrienne gave us many tips and corrections I tried to improve on and noted down later.

    We also took picture at the end of the black belt class. Together with Sensei Arvo, as international guest, we were invited to sit in the front row besides Sensei. That was really an honor. Considering I was one of the lowest grades there, it was certainly not supposed to be my spot, but Sensei did this lovely gesture.
    Especially since etiquette was sort of, I do not want to say stricter, but cannot find a better word. More bowing than I am used to, probably more rules to adhere to, certainly no talking back to Sensei, and wiping the floor and cleaning the used equipment after class. I followed everyone's lead and helped wipe the floor. I feel it was a nice tradition :)

    Then 10 of us went for lunch to a Japanese restaurant, both and other senseis included. It was an amazing day, I was so happy to be here! Anyway, I have already attended a few seminars with Nakamura-sensei teaching. But he was always a guest, not the host and being in his dojo when he was completely in charge and going for lunch with him somehow felt a little different. I could totally get used to it, though. :D Sensei is a very kind and very humble and charismatic person. Not only him, but everyone was so sweet that despite traveling over the ocean and training and eating with people whom I mostly never met before, I already felt at home.
    I also stayed behind a bit after the lunch with sensei Arvo and sensei DK, who hosted sensei Arvo, for a pot of warm saké. They even gave me a ride back to the motel. Or rather, I asked to be dropped off at a park I wanted to visit in the afternoon to birdwatch. But I was still too excited from the class that I ended up not paying much attention to birds :D :D :D
    I followed my map, although for some reason it didn't want me to follow the path I wanted, though it definitely existed!
    I realized why when I reached the end right next to the bus stop. There were signs with no entrance before, but I ignored them to fing it would end with a fence... What the... I ignored it because if I followed the path the map said, it would ba like 5 more km and I wouldn't make it in time for the evening class. I therefore, ehm, unceremoniously climbed over the fance. Too bad it was right next to a busy road. Screw that. My shoe got stuck in pretty bad, but I managed to pull it out and climb over with paying special attention to not tear my only pants I had here by the sharp wires of the fence, nor damage the certificates in any way...

    I made it in time for the evening class, but the dojo was dark. I waited a bit, but it soon became obvious there would be no class on Halloween. Anyway, the last bus for the day had already left, but luckily it is only 3 km back to the motel, so I got to do a nice evening walk by the highway :)
    It is a bit of a culture shock. Not sure if it was because this was the more industrial part of the city, but there are no pedestrians here! And by none, I mean none! Only very rarely did I meet one or two. The busses were half empty, too, to the point the driver who had dropped me off before already recognized me when I hopped on to go back to the dojo...
    Back in the Czech Republic, the public transport is crowded as hell. But can take you anywhere, anytime! And it is also running much, much more often.

    Black belt class in Shudokan, taught by Nakamura-sensei, IOGKF world chief instructor (8th dan) and sensei Adrienne (6th dan).
    Dan Bian likes this.
  14. Nachi

    Nachi Valued Member Supporter

    November 1st

    Today I took a train to the city for a short trip, including birdwatching. I walked around 13-14 km and got rather cold on a ferry as it was windy, but I wanted to have a nice view. I turned out to be the only person braving the winds at the nose of the deck... A few were somewhere further, more sheltered, and most were huddling inside.

    Adult class at Shudokan
    In the evening I made another try for a class in the dojo. I heared today either Nakamura-sensei or Torben-sensei would be teaching, or possibly both.
    It turned out to be Torben-sensei. Nakamura-sensei was picking up other instructors from the airport and took them for dinner and allegedly thought it was a great thing that Sensei Torben offered his services. :)

    Torben-sensei is a senior instructor (7th dan) from Denmark, who has a lot to offer, so I was excited for the class again. We did spend quite a bit of time with Junbi Undo, which sensei explained to details, some of which I did not know and a few things I was apparently doing wrong.
    Later we tried a couple of joint locks and a couple of rather special types of kakie - push-hands, which was really fun. The class concluded with a variation on first bunkai of Gekisai Dai Ichi kata and the kata itself.

    Sensei Torben (just like Nakamura-sensei) yesterday, called out the international guests, who were a bit more plentiful today. Sensei does not really know me, so I was not included, but he did ask if there was anyone else. I... didn't feel like pulling the attention, especially since I was called out yesterday. As soon as the class finished, though, sensei's partner, sensei Jana, came to ask how come I did not raise my hand. I did not know what to say, so I just: "I already feel at home, here!" She laughed it off, I was a bit surprised that she recognized me, but a moment later, sensei Torben came to ask the same.... If he knew I was also a guest, why didn't he called me out in the first place?! :D No, he was actually very ncie and I was surprised he remembered/recognized me.

    Somewhere near the end of the class, Nakamura-sensei arrived together with Sensei Ernie and Sensei Linda, both from England. They did not join in, but waited till we finished to say hi.
    I went to say hi to Sensei Ernie. I do not know Sensei Linda too much (and more specifically she doesn't know me), so I did not want to bother her as she also had plenty of people to greet. Sensei Ernie was very nice as usual.

    After the class a bunch of people went for a dinner, and I joined. Sensei Torben, Sensei Jana and even Nakamura-sensei were there. And a few more people I just met. It was a really nice evening and I also got a ride to my motel... How lovely. :)
    Dan Bian likes this.
  15. Nachi

    Nachi Valued Member Supporter

    Novemeber 2nd

    I got a sore throat yesterday in the evening, and it did not get any better overnight. I had a free mornign, so I walked to a grocery shop for some food and to buy some lozenges. Couldn't make it back to the motel before the training started, so I went straight. Around 5 km walked.

    Today (in the afternoon), the event was finally starting! Four hours of training today (including breaks).
    I was really excited to be here. I met some poeple from the dojo and also several new ones. Some I recognized or knew from social media, so I got to chat irl. Everyone was again very welcoming and friendly. I am introverted and not the type to approach people much, but there were many who were not like that, so the atmosphere was really nice.

    There were around 120 students (up to 200 on Saturday) from 9 countries attending - the vast majority from Canada, though, Then nearly 20 from USA, then it was 4 from Mexico, 5 people from Denmark (2 senseis and their 2 partners), 2-3 from Germany, 2 senseis from the UK, then one sensei from Bermuda, one from Spain + his partner, and one student each from Scotland, Venezuela and myself from the Czech Republic.

    The Junbi Undo today was taken by our chief instructor - Nakamura-sensei.
    Then we split in only 3 groups, as today there would only be three blocks with the three main - most senior - instructors.
    We had a group of 1st and 2nd dan.

    Sensei Ernie Molyneux (9th dan, UK)
    We had our first block with sensei Ernie. Sensei wanted to get us warmed up with some basic kihon - techniques on the spot. We practiced separately, in short combinations, but then we'd implement those in partner drills. Sensei Ernie often teaches this type of thing - kumite or kihon combinations in pairs. At one point like a year or two ago I used to grow a bit desperate when sensei would come up with a difficult combination he'd only demonstrate once or twice, or two combinations at once, and I was getting lost and overwhelmed. He probably went easier on us today, or/and I am starting to be able to graps them quicker. But I think they were just more basic today. Anyway, these combinations were more or less familiar, so I wasn't overwhelmed and really enjoyed practicing them. When trying the whole combination in pairs and wanting to demonstrate at pace, sensei would call me over to demonstrate with him. That was really awesome! And what an honor! I never got to try this kind of thing with sensei where I could exchange a few srtikes/kicks and blocks with him. It was a really great experience. Sensei Ernie is really strong and nimble and you can tell how centered he is and grounded, so no matter what technique he does or when camptured on a photo, every position he's at looks really good and stable. I would really love to achieve that one day. He's not a 9th dan for nothing.
    For that reason, getting to try a few combinations with him was really awesome! He is a really nice and friendly person, too. :) I made sure to thank him for giving me the opportunity later. It is not always, but I used to feel that more often than not, senseis in general would pick guys rather then women for demos like that. And I can totally understand the possible reasons behind it. Maybe it was just my feeling, though, or maybe it is that there are actually more men then women practicing, but anyway, I was really happy and honored to be called up, and for all three or so combinations, too!

    Sensei Luis Nunes (8th dan, Spain)
    I have only had class with sensei Nunes on 3 occassions, I think - twice in Okinawa and once at the European Gasshuku in Prague. I last saw him in 2019 and I kind of forgot his general style and what kind of person he was. I rememeber I was very inspired by him and enjoyed his classes very much back then, though. :)
    Today sensei worked with us on oyo bunkai of Gekisai dai Ichi kata. Again, they were, I think, often finished in a lock or throw or something like that. My partner and I struglged a little with a wrist lock and subsequent take-down. Sometimes, unless done really well/precicely, these wrist locks tend to not work on me as my wrists are fairly flexible - I am not the idea partner for this.
    So I couldn't really tell if my partner's technique would work on an average person or not, as it didn't hurt to the point where I would spontaneously react by going down, as I was supposed to. Therefore we asked sensei for help. When he tried on me, the technique worked, although I felt he also had to use a bit more of his body weight, at least at first. When he worked on my wrist for a couple more times, I totally started feeling it and would go down on my own pretty fast :D Having experienced that feeling - the type of pressure sensei used, and having my wrist a bit tender from it, I could tell my partner that she was going in the right direction, then. She'd just need to make the technique tighter and stronger, but she was also obviously being careful not to hurt me.

    Sensei Tetsuji Nakamura (8th dan, Canada, IOGKF chief instructor)
    Our group had Nakamura-sensei for the last block. He taught Tensho kata. He did quite a bit of talking - about history and principles within the kata, demonstrated some of the mechanics, etc. He had us try some exercises to help us with the correct posture and tension.
    Then he had us practice Tensho bunkai. They are 5 techniques that I had learned from sensei before, but I haven't practiced them in a while. My partner was a lady whom I pereviously met in the dojo and practiced Sepai kata with.
    Unfortunately, the hall we practiced at had carpet of the floor and in the center of it were tiles. They were ok to move on, but had slightly, only very slightly sharp edges. but I had some hard skin on my toe and as I moved, it got cut and tore a bit, and started bleeding. It was a tiny tear, but I was leaving small bloody prints on the floor, so I apologized and went to find the first aid person on duty to ask for a band-aid, which I would just slap on it and be done with it. The first-aid person, however, was really nice, too, and wanted to help me treat it. So he found gloves, something to wrap the toe in and tie it up with, etc. I thought it was a bit of an overkill, but it is true that a normal bandaid could come off of a toe. Unfortunately, before he treated my tiny wound, my group finished the bunkai, there was the final shugo (line-up), they managed to recite the japanese dojo kun and do most of the etiquette and by the time I joined, I only did the final bows :D
    I didn't realize the end was so close. I got my toe all wrapped up neatly, but there was no need for it anymore since we had already finished :D Need to pay more attention to time next time!

    There was going to be a Welcome party at a nearby restaurant in about an hour. I therefore had no time to get to my motel and back, so I jsut stayed in the hall adn wrote down my notes.
    I was originally worried that I wouldn't know anyone here. Really, when going to Canada, the only people I knew a little were sensei Nakamura and sensei Ernie. But I couldn't exactly join them at the instructors' table at the party. But since I saw how friendly anyone was, I wasn't too worried anymore and would simply find a free spot. As I was looking around, sensei Adrienne, who, for some reason, didn't sit at the instructors table, waved at me and let me join her as well as another, more junior sensei and his wife. I therefore spent the evening chatting mostly with sensei Adrienne, which was lovely. She is a very nice person as well. She even gave me a ride home after the party ^^

    Today was a totally awesome day again! The training was very nice and the people as well. I had lots of fun!
    Dan Bian likes this.
  16. Nachi

    Nachi Valued Member Supporter

    November 3rd


    Stupid jet lag made me wake up before 5 am. Again! I was tossing and turning, but just couldn't sleep. And today was the only day I could would actually be taking a bus to the gym (it does not run on the weekends...), so I could sleep longer. Theoretically. Oh, well...

    Today we started with Junbi Undo led by sensei Ernie. Then we split, this time into, 8-10 groups). We had a group for 2nd dan only, consisting of up to 15 people, I think. There are 10 instructors altogether, so while yesterday everyone got a class by all three of the most senior ones, in the next few days, we'll all get one classs with each instructors (the most senior ones included).

    Sensei Bobby Smith (8th dan, Bermuda)
    Sensei focused his block around practical self defence and his favourite block, hiki uke. We also worked on some locks etc. trying to make use of some vital points. Sensei warned us to be gentle, someone can get even sick from pressurign this one. I... kind of don't feel too sensitive to these points, especially in a trianing scenario when I expect it. So I had trouble telling my training partner if she was pressing the right one and correctly. It did feel uncomfortable, but a similar pressure might feel uncomfortable elsewhere, too.
    However, some people are more sensitive to this, I guess. The guy sensei was demonstrating in, as he later told us, indeed started feeling sick after the two points being pressed, and so, as soon as sensei let him go, he'd retreat to the very back to be "safe". He said he'd really worried another demonstration with sensei perhaps would not end too well for anyone :D
    Sensei's block was nice and informative, though, the pressure points were not the main objective, but of course, it is good to know senseitive places to strike - like the throat, etc, or where to grab (right above the elbow), etc.
    We also did a bit of stuff under pressure or more realistically, practicing to make our fighting stance our natural stance and some theory about self defence. It was a really nice block.

    Sensei Moises Villegas (7th dan, Mexico)
    Like sensei Bobby, this was my very first time meeting sensei Moises. Sensei did not speak English. At all. Luckily, my training partenr was profficient in Spanish, so she could translate for us. As she was translating, sensie would be demonstating on her quite often and sometimes, when someone focuses on what they have to do for the demo and on translating on top of that, when it was our turn to try in pairs, my partner had no idea what to do. So I always made sure to pay careful attention to figure the drill for both of us.
    We started with a bit of kihon and then worked in pairs, drilling hard and fast. Block + counters. Then blocks chained in a way both hands block that I am not too used to, so I was getting a little lost as sensei wanted max speed.
    I was warned from a friend from the Shodan group, who had sensei Moises before us, that his class was very harsh - kumite drills and "faster, faster!" The friend really did look like he had had a proper work-out. But we did something different. Sensei was kinder, was going around: "Very good, very good." And urged faster, too, but not as much, I suppose.

    Sensei Linda Marchant (7th dan, England)
    Sensei Linda is the most senior ranked woman in the IOGKF. Although I haven't seen her too many times and the last time was 4 years ago, I was instantly reminded how amazing she was. I really, really wouldn't want to, say, fight her :D She had her block focused on kumite. We didn't do free sparring, but more sparring drills, including that, whatever it is called - sort of hopping you do in sports karate. Which I pretty much suck at. We don't practice that often at all. She showed how to make use of technique we know from kata, geared probably towards point sparring. And how to practice our kata as if we were sparring.
    She was demosntrating the drills with random people and I was picked, too. I was very worried I'd only embarras myself, but by the time I was called upon, I figured the hopping out - a little bit. Anyway, when showing something with a sensei, I tend to be ready for anything :D Especially when facing someone like sensei Linda in a fighting mode :D :D :D Sensei Linda is a hard worker, she's really fast and tough as nails.
    I did my best to escape back (when I found out that was expected of me) as soon as sensei moved and I was very motivated to do so! :D I was then picked a couple more times in row, which I was happy about. It was, after all, a really good experience. Sensei Linda is truly an inspiration.

    We had about a 2,5 hour long lunch break. I planned to go back to my motel, but I had to catch one particular bus, which I just missed when I chatted with a friend. In the end, he had a car and gave me a ride back. How nice of him :)
    I was back to the venue for the afternoon special seminars.
    Each lasted an hour and a half, I think.

    Seminar: Sensei Bobby Smith (8th dan, Bermuda) - Dirty Dozen - 12 joint locks
    Sensei Bobby came up with a drill of 12 subsequent finger locks. Some of those techniques were kind of "dirty", hence the name. I partnered up with a guy next to me, probably of similar grade. Sensei would show the first technique and then around 5 subsequent ones. They were quite easy, so there was not too much to explain. We just did our best to memorize. When it came to the 6th or 7th, though, it was a bit harder, to figure out the transitions. We were lost. But, close to us was sensei DK, one of the organizers and a really nice guy, who looked like he had done this before nad had an idea. He tried to show us, btu then he offered to switch up in our two paris. So I got the guy he was practicing with and already tried. But soon, sensei would show several other technqiues and at teh end we were getting lost, too. Some tiem later, the group of curious spectators around sensei DK was getting bigger and bigger, until, finally, senise DK didn't know how to, either. So we wainted for sensei to come by (this was a seminar for everyone, so there was a good number of people), which we hoped he would considering our confused group has grown quite a bit :D He did and helped us. We were then able to finish the whole drill. It was a nice one. Something I did my best to remember and write down as I would love to show back at my dojo sometime. The only thing was that I apparently have flexible fingers, too, so for some stuff, my partner would have to try harder and be more precise.
    At the end sensei also showed us how to apply these technique (or the ones that seemed more tricky or specific) in real life and potential self-defence situations. It was really cool, I thought some were starting at an akwad position/hold, but then it sort of made sense. Really nice seminar.

    Seminar: Sensei Linda Marchant (7th dan, England) - Women's Karate
    Then there was a seminar for women with sensei Linda and a parallel class for Kibudo. I chose sensei Linda. I had attended one of her women-only seminars before. And I remember vividly, how it was the toughest training in the whole gasshuku.... also somethinga botu how women also have to train hard and maybe even harder if we want to be strong. :D So I was hoping I will not be regretting this, considering we still have two more trianing days!
    But today wasn't like that. Sensei had a bit of a history and her own experience as a woman martial artist talk, which was really nice. Then we practiced some interesting and simple principles, worked on some interesting take-dows, I think from bunkai, etc. I paired up with a lady from the honbu dojo. She was a very nice partner, but had some back issues, so we did not go for the takedowns.
    In the end, sensei wanted us to do kakie, First try strongly. In the end, she had us make a circle of paris, when the outer circle would move and switch partners after 10 reps per hand. There were around 20 of us, so around 10 partners for everyone. This was fun. I only regretted sensei Linda was in my line, so I didn't get to try with her, which I would have loved to. I have wanted to try kakie with a senior instrucotr for a while now. Not that I am under any illusion I could stand up to Sensei, but to get the feel for the mechanics. I could only try with my sensei, who is awesome, but I don't get to do that too often, and I would love to try with a second person, too :) Maybe next time, then

    Today was originally supposed to be a free evening, but the two female instructors - sensei Linda and sensei Adrienne came up with a "Ladies night out" and booked a restaurant next to the gym. The training finished after 5 pm, so I made some notes and went strainght to the restaurant. It was a lovely evening with wine. And then I had to walk those 4 km back to my motel.
    What an amazing day it was :)
    axelb likes this.
  17. Nachi

    Nachi Valued Member Supporter

    Saturday, November 4


    So my sore throat didn't get better at all, on the contrary. And I got a runny nose, too. Dang it! Except for that, I was feeling perfectly fine, though, luckily. I guess it is the time of colds and there were so many people coughing around me in the past few days that I finally caught something, too, despite being rather careful in the past few weeks before this event.
    Today was the weekend, so the infrequent bus to the venue wasn't running at all. I got up early then to give myself 45 mins to walk the 4 km to the Festival. It was raining, too... And I only had small luggage with me and therefore did not bring an umbrella.... luckily the rain wasn't too bad.

    Today, Junbi Undo was led by Sensei Luis. He included some work-out and simple exercises in pairs. After that, we again split into our usual groups. It was Saturday and there were more people than in the previous days.

    Sensei Torben Svendsen (7th dan, Denmark)
    Finally we got to do a kata! Sensei announced Sepai. Which is a kata for our next grading, so it was great :) Sensei pointed out several details, some of which I didn't know. Mechanics of how to turn, etc. I will have to thin ybotu how I do that stuff and adjust.
    We also had time to practice some Sepai oyo bunkai, which were very nice. I paired up with a big guy this time, who served as sensei's partner for demonstrations. I got my turn once, too, when sensei (I think in reaction to a question about the attacker's size) wanted to demosntrate a headlock on someone much smaller for a change. He beckoned to me with: "Imagine a wild woman attacks you." -_- Lol :D
    Sensei also demonstrated Sepai kata himself, before he let us do it. That was great. It is awesome to see a senior instructor like Torben sensei show a kata from up close! It is very inspiring and motivating, too :)
    I did have one question at the end, because something seemed like it might be at odds with what was recently taught by Denmark's chief iinstructor... I didn't particularly want to bother sensei as it was time for break, but I decided I really wanted to know :D He answered very kindly. Apparently, each sensei has their way, but they aren't necessarily at odds. Good. I'll try to do both, then.

    Sensei Jacob Kold (6th dan, Denmark)
    Sensei Jacob introduced himself as someone with background not only in Goju ryu, but also in, ehm, thaibox? or was it MMA? or something of the sort, probably, and also BJJ, which stuck with him most. He also has many year experience teaching self-defence and training police. I think.
    Sensei Jacob had us practice oyo bunkai from several kata. As it often is, those oyo bunkai would be finished with some kind of a lock, throw, etc. They were pretty neat. I partnered up with a guy from Canada, I think.
    I particularly liked a Seiyunchin kata oyo bunkai, which ended with grabbing the thigh of the attacker, throwing him backward and catchign his leg in a log with my own legs. It looked really fun, so despite sensei also offering gentler, not throwing version, I really wanted to try this one :D My partner was ok with him. So I warned him I was going for the throw where he would fall head first, so he tucked his chin in. Despite doing so, I landed him flat on the top of his head anyway :D :D :D I was very sorry, but I still wanted to try again. He didn't resist, much. It went better the second time around. I was trying if the leg lock worked and was tightening it till the guy tapped. He never did, though, and I was like: "It still doesn't hurt?" And he responded in a strained voice: "It does, but I have nothing to tap with!" Only then did I realise both his arms were trapped, too! :D What a lovely technique! I was totally going to let my partner try this on me, too, but in the end, he didn't really want to. On the other hand, sensei came by to help and show how to, and ended up doing the techniqu on my partner again. :oops:
    We did several bunkai like that, but I didn't remember all of them well enough to note them down when I had the chance. I asked sensei if tehre was or could be any video of these and he directed me to a demo he had done with sensei Torben before, which is on YouTube, where most of these techniques were. Oh, awesome!

    Sensei Adrienne (6th dan, Canada)
    Sensei Adrienne arrived and annoucned right away: Sepai kata! Oh, a second one! I also had a session on this kata in the dojo a few days ago, so I heard some things again, but that actually helped me to better focus on practicing them. Sensei paid a lot of attention to proper stances and positions, which I think is fairly important. Wow, two sessions on Sepai in one day, I got a lot of info! Better not forget anything!

    After the last block came time for photography. Pictures of the teaching instructors and all the attendees and then instructors with attendeed from each country. It was my first time at a gasshuku alone! So I got a nice special photo :)
    Since everyone was taking pictures, I was approached by a lovely girl from the honbu dojo with a camera asking if I wanted any other picture, with any sensei for example, and promptly went to ask Nakamura-sensei for me :D
    Then she would try and snatch sensei Linda, too, but she was just about to leave. I thought I would perhaps like a picture with sensei Ernie, who was the only other sensei I knew a bit. Sensei Ernie was already wearing a jacket and leaving, so I was about to say not to bother him, but the photographer was faster. Sensei Enie dropped his stuff and kindly took a picture with me. It was so nice of him :) And of the photographer, too. :) I now have some nice pictures and nice memories :)

    Seminar: Sensei Jacob Kold (6th dan, Denmark) - Self-defence simply works
    So we got another just over an hour long session with sensei Jacob, It was nice to see some of the senseis with 7th dan participating, too.
    Sensei Jacob took a 3rd dan guy frmo the honbu dojo (who I hope had known what was to come his way, but I think he did) and his only task was to attack sensei and keep attacking him. What they both demonstrated seemed like a fierce battle where sensei caught the guy, lifted him up, smashed him into the floor, jumped on him, sat on his head and caught his arm in a lock - Kimura, apparently.
    When they finished, breathing harder, sensei announced that was what he was going to teach us today. I think many of us giggled, cause it looked like nothing we could learn in an hour, and honestly, I did not really understood how he was going to teach us to fight like that.
    It turned out it was a sequence of techniques to use on a wildly attacking person in self-defence, gaining a position that could hold the person down easily and for an extended period of time if waiting for help.
    I partnered up with the same lady I worked on the women's seminar yesterday. She had back problems and like yesterday, we would skip takedowns. And this one looked particularly like somethign you don't want to do on someone wtih injured back or something that a person with injured back would try on another. Luckily, sensei gave us a failry gentler option of a take-down, too, which my partenr was capable of. We did it gently, but were able to get the othe down for the next technique, which was the point.
    Sensei explained the sequence he did before step by step, each of which we practiced, explained something on exercises we were familiar with from Junbi Undo etc. and it turned out really nice. I had no idea he would really be able to teach us what he did! Obviously, I wouldn't be able to apply it right away the way he did, but I now had an idea. It was a great seminar. :)

    Seminar: Tanbo
    I did not know the sensei teaching. He was japanese, but spoke English, maybe also Canadian resident. He had the IOGKF crest, but I'Ve never seen him teaching before and sadly, did not catch his name...
    He taught us several ways to use a short stick and had us try several techniques - how to block a kick and trap the ankle, how to get out or a wrist grab, etc. We also used dummy knives.
    I partnered up with Christine - my new friend from Germany. She and her dojo is transferring to IOGKF. She has a 4th dan, though, so being of a much higher rank than me, this was a rare chance for me to pair up with her. It was great.
    At the end of the seminar, sensei had us try to grab the attacker wherever - wrist, arm, shoulder, chest, gi weherever, and the defeder's job would be to figure out a way to use the tanbo to effectively twist the attacker's hand to loosen the grip. It actually worked rather well and was also quite fun! At times Id have to use my brain a fair bit, though.
    I have to say the short stick is a really nice tool. It is short, so easy to carry, easy to handle and it allows one to sort of prolong one's reach and basically add another joint to the arm, so there are many more options to twist, trap, etc. It was fun. I wish I was able to learn more :)

    The seminars ended earlier than yesterday. There was a 3 hour long break before the Sayonara party that would be held in the same room we trained in. No buses running today, so I quickly changed from my gi and hurried back to my motel to wash my gi and myself and eat a bit. As soon as that was done, I hurried back to be in time for the party. I had only 3 hours to chenge frm my gi, walk 8 km altogether and get myself ready, after all. I didn't really get much of a chance to sit and rest....

    The room had completely changed, there were around 13 tables for 8 or so people, one long table for instructors, a stage, bar, tables with food, photo booth and all looked vry fancy. I didn't expect that! The grading results were announced and then we were encouraged to dance. Ugh. I am not really a dancer. I had trained for around six hours today (ok, there were breaks in between blocks, but still!), I walked 12 km, I had a cold so I had a hard time speaking and I had barely any time to rest and now they tell me to dance?! Before going the 4 km back to my motel again....
    But after we ate, all peole from our table left to dance or do whatever and when sensei Luis beckoned to me, I could only join. I was shy at first, but it soon turned out to be really fun and plenty people danced, senseis included. It was really really fun :) Although I kept a strategic spot right behind the photographer when he was focusing on the most prominent dancers :D :D :D
    I would have stayed longer if I lived right here as nearly everyone else (the only ones who didn't were some of the locals, but they at least had cars...). But knowing I still had those 4 km ahead of me, I left at 11 when maybe less then half of the people remained. I think I had danced my share and that I could use some rest.
    It was an awesome day today, too. And tommorrow is the last day of the festival :(

    Country photo - instructors + Czech Republic
  18. Nachi

    Nachi Valued Member Supporter

    Sunday, November 5


    Having to talk loudly over the music at yesterdays party, as expected, I woke up nearly unable to talk... It got better a little - I could speak, but my voice sounded awful and I had a runny nose.

    Again 4 km morning walk to the training venue.

    Our group still should have 4 senseis, we haven't yet had the promised second block with either of the 3 senior instructors. I was hoping we won't miss any, as there were only 3 blocks to go.
    But luckily, it was solved nicely by skipping the Junbi Undo, we only briefly stretched during our first block, which we had with:

    Sensei Andy Franz (6th dan, USA)
    This was my very first time training with Andy-sensei, so I had no idea what to expect. He held a class about some basics and principles within, which I personally found very interesting. Sensei explained details about zenkutsu dachi, how to build a proper structure within the stance. How to work with tanden, which we practiced on Tai otoshi. And then in pairs - how to apply strenght using gravity or moving our body a certain way. It was very interesting. Relatively simple, but something I felt would be able to get my karate to a better level. I paired up with a lady from Montreal. I sort one didn't always get what exactly sensei wanted us to practice, but luckily she did, so she was helping me with that and explaining. I felt a bit bad about that, but she hopefully didn't mind.
    Sensei also explained about working with tanden, how to create power by closing it and we practiced on a technique within Sanseru kata. He had another tip for it, it was fun. When I was trying, I felt my technique was getting better and while coming by, sensei said that was indeed it. Cool!

    Sensei Tetsuji Nakamura (8th dan, Canada, IOGKF chief instructor)
    Nakamura-sensei wanted to work on a kata with us and asked which one we've worked on so far. We only worked on our highest one - Sepai. But someone nodded that we did Sanseru as well... Going to the next one, sensei had us work on Shisochin. I didn't mind that at all :)
    We did the kata once or twice and sensei pointed out severl things to pay attention to. One was totally a surprise to me, another was something wondering about how much the hips worked in a tehcnique and sensei explained what exactly the hips did, so that was awesome. We went through the kata relatively quickly, so Sensei wanted us to practice three bunkai. Not the typical kihon bunkai, but variations, though not complicated ones. More like easy looking ones that were hard in doing them well in one movement.

    Sensei Ernie Molyneux (9th dan, UK)
    Next was sensei Ernie. Sensei also asked us about what we've worked on so far. He asked about kakie, but before I could nod vigorously, someone apparently said that we've done them. Who was it? :D We didn't! (Only briefly in the ladies seminar, which wasn't for everyone and we barely touched it.) Oh, it will be such a pity if I go home without a proper block on kakie! :(
    Therefore sensei decided we'd do kumite drills. Yep, sensei's favourite thing to teach! :) My today's partner was the lady from Montreal. This was my time to help back a bit as she wasn't catching this that well all the time. I was ready for Sensei's speedy demosntrations and many things to rememeber. Moreover this was not my first time doing similar combinations with him. It was funny, though, when the lady got a bit agitated, or thought hard aboutthe techniques which she was trying to do speedily, she started speaking French to me! Noooo, no French, please! :D I did learn it, but mostly forgotten and she didn't speak slowly at all :D
    Anyway, we had fun. I was worried that while unable to really breath through my nose due to my cold, I would get out of breath in no time, but I held and did my best to do the combos as fast as I could.
    I also got a few opportunities to demosntrate with sensei, which was, again, pretty awesome! :):cool:

    Sensei Luis Nunes (8th dan, Spain)
    Our last block (oh no, I'd rather have many more!) was with sensei Luis. Yet again, sensei said we would do whatever we wanted. But he didn't ask what we had already done, so before anything could be denied, someone called out "Kakie!" Yes! Yes, please! At least several more of us quickly agreed and so we did that. Yay!
    I was really happy and on top of that, as I was standing close, sensei took me for demo of the first type of kakie! Yes! As I've mentioned previously, I've long wanted to try kakie with a senior instrucotr like that! And that wasn't all, since then, sensei has been calling to me thrughout his block, so I was his demosntration partner for everything! Woohoo! That was awesome! I got to try all the types of kakie, how they felt, also try them strongly and then a couple of locks, which I was ablet o get a good feel for when sensei would demosntrate on me and I even got to try on him. How lucky!
    The locks we were doing were again wrist and finger locks. Sensei was able to do them on me, of course, but while he got me on my knee with a finger stuff, I thought he was just holding me back, but he was actually waiting for a tap, which I found out when he asked: "How far do you want me to go?" Oh. I guess he would make me "kiss" the floor if I insisted, so I tapped. Later, when my partner had some trouble with something, sensei took her and showed that problem to everyone. She was jolting with just about everyon movement sensei did on her during taht one technique with a few steps. So... what I thought was just for making the wrist unable to move was actually a technique by itself, which made the lady tap. Oh :D Even though I am apparently really not the best to demonstrate on, sensei didn't give up on me and still took me. And even despite my very raspy voice, which could totally be a reason to avoid me by itself. How nice of him ^^
    Althought I was sad this was the last block, it was a pretty awesome one - Kakie, one of the main things I love to learn on seminars like this. And on top of that, I was able to try kakie with one of the most senior instructors! Not only that, but I tried all the main variatioons of kakie and for the whole block. I was really happy!
    The only thing was that I felt a bit bad/guilty that no one else got the chance as a result.
    So I was all the more surprised when, during the break, I was approached by a guy frmo our group, whom I didn't talk to before so I didn't know him, and he came just to tell me: "Thank you for being the demo partner for sensei. I was really worried he'd pick me otherwise."
    What? :D I mean, I could expect many things, but not this. Apparently not everyone is so fond of senseis picking them. As I discovered by another guy approaching us and the two sharing how painful or uncomfortable the techniques by some senseis were. Maybe I do not need to feel so bad after all. :D

    Gekisai dai Ichi
    We had last 20 mins together in one group. The IOGKF Canada is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, and we would do celebratory kata. In the end not for each year, but for the years something special happened, which Nakamura-sensie read out. It was at least 15, I think, or more. It was nice and everything, but I had a bit of trouble breathing as I only had my mouth to do so, so I wasn't very unhappy we weren't doing all 30 :oops:
    Before the final bows, the three head sensei's had short, but wery nice speaches.
    When the event was over, there was nothing else to do other than to say goodbye to everyone. I went to say goodbye to sensei Ernie, whom I am most familiar with along with Nakamura-sensei (but I will still see him). I didn't want to bother everyone. But I did come across sensei Torben and sensei Linda, who were both very nice. Sensei Linda extended an invitation to come to her dojo if I am ever in London. I am not how I deserved that or if it was out of politeness, but I would love to take her up on that offer one day :) I am sure sensei's classes would be rather intense, but I am up for that. Sensei Linda's karate and everything is really impressive and inspiring. I then said goodbye to most people I interacted more with, except for those I'll still see in the dojo before I leave. How sad.

    Some of the plans I had got cancelled, but I got a ride back to my motel. I didn't particularly want to bother anyone, especially since I sounded anything but healthy. In the end I listened to the advice that I should perhaps get a bit of rest. Who wants to rest, though, when on an amazing trip like this? But in the end, I did. Or rather, I still had many things we learned to note down, some birds to identify, get ready for my tomorrow's trip, etc.
    In the evening I got a message from my new friend from Germany, if I wanted to go for a dinner, which I was up for. So I got 3+3 km walk. She was nice to offer to find a place somewhere in the middle, which I did. But living in the more industrial part of the town, there weren't any restaurants nearby, so we settled for one 3 km away, anyway.
    The friend was leaving tommorrow in the evening, and was interested in my trip to the Niagara Falls. However, she changed her opinion when I told her I was going to leave at 6:30 am :D Can't blame her. But it should be rainy in the afternoon and I don't have an umbrella, so I'd rather be back before then.
  19. Nachi

    Nachi Valued Member Supporter

    Monday, November 6th

    I had a free day, so I planned to go on my second trip - I really wanted to see the Niagara Falls since I was so close. It was supposed to rain in the afternoon, so I decided to take a bus at 6:30 am and be back in the early afternoon. From teh BUS terminal I walked to the Falls and back and then a bit in the other direction since I had some time left before the BUS I was aiming for departed, so I did a nice walk of 12 km. I think I've done a fair share of walking, so while there would be stuff to see further along the road, I thought I'd better run before the rain, maybe get a bit of rest (still training tonight) and also I had a cold and I'd rather it didn't worsen. Well, I only have one more day in Canada, and I only needed to stay in reasonable health for that, but still. I returned back just in time, it was actually a thunderstorm coming and I certainly wouldn't want to be out in that without an umbrella...

    Adult class at Shudokan
    Tonight was another class at the dojo I wanted to go to. Namamura-sensei said he won't be there and I heard from someone it would be taught by a sensei whom I didn't know, but they said he would be happy for visitors, so that was good. I was apparently the only visitor today. I greeted the sensei and instruduced myself. I asked if he could help me with where I should stand as I didn't know the ranks of the few other present black belts. To my horror, he brought me to the very first spot. Oh no, no, no, no! I imagined there would be fairly more black belts, but there were only 2-3 shodans, apparently! I suppose the majority of black belts then only gathers for the black belt classes taught by Nakamura-sensei or Adrienne-sensei.
    I was scared of this position - I wouldn't mind too much calling out the etiquette, it was the same as we did, except... for the final recital of dojo kun in japanese :O I don't remember it! And on top of that, my voice wasn't up to the job of shouting anything... Luckily, the sensei asked the black belt next in line to call out the etiquette and assured me that one more person was coming to take my place - the sensei (4th dan, I think) who just taught the children class and was appsarently taking a short break. So I ended up second in line before the final etiquette and dojo kun. Phew, what a relief!

    I have to say, I really loved the class sensei taught. It was focused on stances and moving in stances - especially Sanchin dachi and Neko-ashi dachi. And how to generate power from that. I heard a bit on how to maket he leg muscles tight like strings that would allow to quicky charge from Sanchin dachi at a seminar with Nakamura-sensei, but it was only briefly explained. Now this sensei had us do several exercise for that and we were also trying with pads. Keep everything relaxed, but step back back and bounce with a punch. It was really cool, it worked nicely and I really enjoyed this. A really really cool class, I have to say. I am totally stealing it! :D

    The only bad thing abotu this was my cough. Again, I wasn't really coghing that much durignt he day, but apparently a physical activity would worsen it. It was not much beyond that, but I like really didn't want to cough. I did my best to hold it in, but a spot in my throat was tingling and it was sooo hard tostop the reflex - to the point of being painful. I couldn't really pay much attention durign the couple of instances this happened, and completely beyond my control, a tear started running down my face. Unfortunately at that point, I was holding the mitts or my partner, so I couldn't even wipe it away and when the immediate coughing reflex passed, I would give my partner (orange belt) a pointer when he was struggling with something... while tearing up. I must have looked so weird, omg :confused:

    I know I shouldn't have really come to class with a cough... But it wasn't realyl much beyond that. And each time I have a cough, even catch it from someone coughing briefly, mine is always so much worse. And so many people everywhere are coughing, too. So I hope I am not like the infectious person. COming to Canada and having the opportunity to visit the honbu dojo and atttend a seminar with so many amazing isntructors, I simply couldn't bring myself to sit in my room, while feeling perfectly fine, just coughing. Selfish, I know, but... :oops:
  20. Nachi

    Nachi Valued Member Supporter

    Tuesday, Novemebr 7th

    My last day in Canada. Oh nooo, I was having such an awesome time, so much awesome training, and I really, really didn't want to go home :D
    At least my flight is in the evening and thus I had the opportunity to go once more to the lunch class in the dojo, which Nakamura-sensei was supposed to teach.
    I checked out from the hotel and brought all my stuff to the dojo (there wasn't much, though, I only had on board luggage).
    My cough got better, too, so while I had a hoarse voice, I could manage better.

    Most of the international visitors, had already left. And, at least as far as I knew, there were only four remaining ones, all of whom have gathered for this class in the dojo and would leave in evening flights. Sensei DK therefore kindly offered to give all of us a ride to the airport after this class and lunch. Which was perfect!
    All four of us were of the few people who came from Europe, but apart from me, all were senseis of higher greades: Sensei Torben (7th dan), sensei Gary (6th dan) and sensei Jana (5th dan).

    Black belt class in Shudokan
    There were two classes - the first being a black belt one, lasting only 45 mins. Like last week, we started by practicing kata from the Gekisais up, each kata once. This time, Adrienne-sensei was asked to take on the class, as Nakamura-sensei would take aside the guests to work with them. Not me. I am not sure what they were working on, but most likely would be Pechurin which I didn't know, or simply more advanced stuff. I wasn't complaining, sensei Adrienne shared interesting information and I was happy to be able to train in the honbu dojo. Certainly couldn't expect the world chief instructor to give me personal instructions. :)
    So I was completely caught off guard when Nakamura-sensei later stopped the class, asked sensei Torben to continue teaching and took me aside, only announcing: "Kururunfa."
    Omg!!! What, really! No way! Kururunfa is a kata that is first used in grading for 4th dan. So a bit above my level, but I did learn it. I struggle with this one, though, and I am not very profficient with it. Still, sensei wasn't even asking if I knew it and I was perfectly happy that I may receive instructions on a kata that wouldn't typically be taught at seminars in a group at my level. Basically I got a 15 min 1 on 1 with Nakamura-sensei, giving me advice. That was sooo amazing! I learned new details of the kata. but I felt I couldn't do it very well, anyway. Sensei asked if I had any questions. I asked about things I remembered heard more versions of or wasn't sure how to. Only later did I remember I really should have asked about the hands inthe very fist move. Well, maybe next time. Haha, I guess there is no next time :D but I'll ask my sensei or I'll lear about it in time :)
    I did my best to commit everything sensei said to memory. I'll write it down as soon as I can.

    Adult class at Shudokan
    Following a 1é min break, we were joined by kyu grades for a general adult class lasting an hour.
    Nakamura-sensei announced that since there are guests in today's class, he would like to take the opportunity and use their assistance so that his students form teh dojo could learn from senseis from Europe.
    Torben-sensei was asked to take the Junbi Undo, which was very nice, while the other two guests were, again, taken aside for instruction by Nakamura-sensie. After a thorough Junbi Undo was done, Nakamura-sensei split everyone into three groups by grades, when each would be taught by one of the visiting European senseis. I was in the middle, founding a good spot, when Nakamura-sensei beckoned to me to come more forward. That was what I thought, so I made more space for the person behind me. I was still on could nine from the fact that Nakamura-sensei would give me personal instruction, that I was completely oblivious to the fact he was calling me aside again. When I realised, I couldn't believe my luck. And sensei's kindness. I was really surprise that I had nothing to say, when sensei only announced: "Sepai." Nooo waaay!
    Sepai is a kata I am working on for my next grading and I am more famillir with. I also got already 3 classes on it during this stay. But being watched by Nakamura-sensei I totally did forget details. At least at first. I did the kata on Sensei's count two times, I think, then he would stop me in most of the techniques, would adjust my position and give me corrections. If I was unsure about something or wondered if the version I am doing if the correct one, I would ask. I got so many, even relatively small corrections. In one transition - one step with one technique, I actually got 5 corrections :D One for each of my foot, one for each hand and one for body position. Making me wonder if there actually could be anything more wrong :D :D :D But every single correction made me more happy rather than dismayed. So a transition like this Sensei would have me drill a few times. I did my best to improve it quickly, to figure out how to so there would be time for other techniques, too. But it was had to coordinate and change what pretty much each limb was doign during one movement when each had a different job :D Anyway, this was really awesome. Sensei, at one point even worried if so many corrections wasn't to overwhelming, but he thought this was a great opportunity. Oh, it absolutely was!
    We went through the whole kata in this way, spending maybe 15-20 mins. I got more details than for Kururunfa before. Maybe also because I had already a better idea about this kata. There were 5 mins left till the end of class when sensei left me on my own to give me the opportunity to quickly go through both Sepai and Kururunfa and remind myslef on all the corrections I got. Which was perfect, I really needed to at least quickly go through the katas step by step and reming myself of everything.
    And like that, the class finished.

    Our group of 4 Europeans together with sensei DK, who was a very nice host and Nakamura-sensei went for lunch to a Japanese restaurant. It was lovely. Then we would say our goodbies to Nakamura-sensei, while sensei DK squeezed us in his car and took us to the airport.
    It was amazing. I was leaving on such a positive note. I was thrilled to come for the gasshuku and to visit the dojo, but to think Nakamura-sensei would help me with my kata for coming from so far away!
    In summer when I discussed coming here with a friend, he said it wasn't likely I would even meet Nakamura-sensei in the dojo, as he would probably only teach the highest-graded students, not regular classes. He wasn't, of course, teaching all of them, and he had help when he was away (he's travelling around the world a lot - like 1-2x per month). I was optimistic and thougth that surely, he would teach some class and hopefully I'll be lucky, but I never expected a 1-on-1 session. Even two of them! What an amazing parting gift! ^^ Nakamura-sensei is an amazing karateka. I saw his videos on hojo undo, kata, etc. I saw him demonstrate kata in person, at it is like out of this world. It always keeps us in awe and very inspired. On top of that he is a very friendly and humble person and well-respected for all those reasons.
    When saying my goodbye, Sensei said: "Keep training hard." I am not sure it I am training as hard as he might think (I don't feel like I do), but I shall take those words to heart. I am leaving Canada with a lot to work on, and very inspired and motivated. Also feeling very nice because of how many nice and friendly people I met. I will remember this trip for a very, very long time. I can tell. It was in ways, actually even better that I came alone. I am sure I wouldn't have met or talked to as many people otherwise, and that would be a pity :)

    At the airport, I went to a different terminal than the rest, so we said our goodbyes there, too. I quickly went to find my gate and a spot to sit, took out my notebook and despite feeling already very tired (I didn't get much sleep throughout this week here) and my eyes really hurting after a while, I took maybe even an hour to carefully write down everything Nakamura-sensei told me to imrpove in my kata. I'd better not forget a single thing! :)

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