4th – 9th May 2012 – JKA England Spring Course, Crawley, UK
Between the 4th and the 7th of May 2012, several SKA black and brown belts participated in the 9th JKA England Spring Course that has been held annually by JKAE for the past 10 years.
The spacious hall was packed with over 700 students from many participating countries, England, Norway, Scotland, Italy, Germany, Poland, Switzerland, Ireland, USA, Estonia, France, Turkey and Malta; all eager and ready for 4 days of intensive training with instructors from the JKA Headquarters in Japan.
Every day, sessions started with a warm up by JKA England squad members and later, classes were divided according to Dan and Kyu grades.
On Friday, training with Sensei Ohta, 7th Dan Chief Instructor of JKAE, gave emphasis on correct route of mae geri relating distance with power. We also worked on functions of strong, direct hip movement and ability to focus power of oizuki with proper movement. Kata techniques in Bassai Dai, Chinte and Gojushiho Sho were practiced to demonstrate these concepts.
We had the priveledge of training with Sensei Osaka on Saturday, 8th Dan JKA Vice-Chief Instructor and General Manager of the Technical Division who always brought his infamous sense of humour to his technical sessions. The focus was on finer details of correct movement emphasizing ankle flexibility and contraction of specific leg muscles, as well as hip positioning and balancing points for an effective mae geri.
On Saturday afternoon some of us also had the opportunity to take part in friendly matches between the different JKA countries with Malta competing against England squad teams A and B, Scotland and Norway. This was a positive experience for all of us and many were left surprised by our kumite results.
The Sunday session with Sensei Hirayama, 6th Dan and an all Japan Champion, placed emphasis on power timing, contraction and expansion in technique and rhythm in katas Jion, Sochin and Bassai Sho.
Amidst all the hard training we also enjoyed a JKA party on Sunday night which was well attended by participants and JKA instructors alike.
Monday morning, Sensei Tsuyama, 8th Dan JKA Technical Advisor and karate coach at Takushoku University, started with punch and mae geri basics, hip movement, direct route in kicks, use of back muscles in oizuki and transfer of balance in movement.
These four days of training passed by very quickly. It was a great experience for all of us to train with so many renown Japanese instructors. SKA is continuously striving to develop authentic Shotokan karate, so we will definitely return to keep on consolidating our lifelong learning of true Karate.