Today at the Higashi Dojo the Monthly yudansha and teaching clinics were held.
The teaching clinic was well attended. We warmed up with stance training and Shime no dosa review. Next we the students took turns presenting kihon, kata or bunkai lessons to the group. A very useful excersize. This clinic was physical and cerebral-and enjoyed by all.
The regular yudansha clinic was extremely well attended:14 black belts and 10 brown belts. Upstairs, the black belts trained in chokusen seisan dachi, practicing oi tsuki and turning punches galore.
We continued with kata training ( tenshin and sochin ) and rounded off the 2 hrs with the goshin jitsu of Ju Ni Ko.
Downstairs the brown belts toiled at stance training, kihon, kata, ukemi and the goshin jitsu of Nage no Kata.
Everyone had a good workout and came away from the day with many points to ponder!
Thank you to Renshis Ferri, Bellhouse and Chong for another great day!
Remember, next Sunday is the 'Alternate Clinic' and Feb 11th is the Renshi Sutherland clinic at Burlington Chito Ryu Karate Club. All welcome.
2013 is here, and already there have been 2 great clinics for karateka in the GTA.
January 6th saw the first Shidoin clinic of the year ( 830-10:00 ). David from Richmond Hill and I recieved all of Renshi Ferri's attention as he, Renshi Bellhouse and Shihan James Ferri welcomed the pair of us back.
We began with stance training-and learned some excellent excersizes to emphasize keeping our center of gravity down.
Power developement through kihon training was practiced-bringing new dimensions to Shime No Dosa, Sanchin and Nisei Shi kata.
The Yudansha clinic ( 10:00-12:00 ) was well attended. The timing and power applications of Tenshin kata were explored.
Sochin kata ( sho dai mae and ni dai mae ) was practiced extensively, with emphasis, again, on timing, power and speed.
The differences between the 2 versions were discussed and practiced.
Henshuho numbers 1-4 were re-visited.
On January 20th the 'alternative' clinic was held. ( 'Alternative' in as much as it is for older, or injured karateka, or those who couldn't get to the regular clinic that month.) Personally ,I attend both clinics every month if I can.
We trained on basic punch mechanics, remembering to link breathing, stance, tanden, hikite , target, metsuke and kime into our technique.
Next we did some 'fun' cardio drills-whew!
The 2 hr class was rounded out with kata and Chito Ryu Bo kihon.
These are both great learning clinics, run by knowledgeable and competent Renshis.
While mandatory for students planning to grade to shodan, nidan, sandan or yondan, these clinics are also valuable learning opportunities for any brown or black belt who wants to solidify their knowledge base and practice with advanced peers.
Please do yourselves a favour and come to the Hombu dojo for these clinics ( every month ) !
You will never regret it.
Well, winter is here and the holidays are fast approaching. The juniors at the Club are getting very excited!
Our Kids party and demonstration will be on December 17th. The group will perform their kata, waza, or bunkai for their parents and then enjoy treats and music for an hour or so. Should be a fun time. Junior classes will then be suspended until after Christmas and resume again January.
I wish you all a very happy Christmas and encourage you to keep enjoying your families and your training.
Well, its done. Success!
Eleven karateka graded yesterday afternoon/evening. Nine brown belts were seeking Shodan, including friends Kelly and Chris from Higashi dojo. Paul Arsenault from New Hamburg dojo was graded for nidan and myself for sandan.
The grading panel consisted of Sensei Shane Higashi ( seiko shihan ) and renshis Ferri, Chong and Hart.
Again we were put through our paces-waza, kihon, kata and bunkai.
Thankfully, the 'evaluation' process was a very good preparation for the grading and most of my nervousness was gone.
The grading ( once I finally was called upon ) seemed to zip by. I am pleased to report that i had no 'senior moments' during the whole evening.
All dojo heads, including sensei Debbie Brooks from Burlington Chito Ryu were in attendance to monitor their students' progress.
After all of us were done the panel convened to the front office to decide our fate while we tidied up the dojo and cleaned the floors.
The panel rejoined us and sensei Higashi read out each students results and gave every student a personal lesson regarding flaws in their stance or techniques. He gave most students 'homework' or areas of skill which they needed to study further. This took about 45 minutes and was very educational and enjoyable.
The only damper on the evening was one student's failure to graduate on this night. He withdrew quietly while the rest of us were congratulating each other.
I sincerely regret not being able to speak with him-( I don't even know his name but will find out ) I want to encourage him to continue practicing and to remind him that most of us have been unsuccessful on a grading at least once in our career. I was unsuccessful 4 years ago at this same exam. I returned to my training and to teaching, and eventually found my way back to the examination process.
So, while I congratulate the new shodans and nidan, more importantly I sympathise with the gentleman who went home empty-handed and I encourage him to find the peace and the strength to perservere.
Grading panel ( left to right ) Renshi David Chong, Renshi Remuoldo Ferri, Seiko Shihan Shane Higashi, Renshi Jim Hart.
It has been 3 weeks since the 'evaluation'-where I learned that I need to work on looseness and lengthening. I would like to thank some of the folks who have worked with me since that time. The day after the evaluation Renshis Chong, Ferri and Bellhouse all paid extra attention to me at the clinics. The following weekend Renshis Hart and Sutherland assisted me at their own clinics. All were encouraging and supportive.
Sensei Brooks has also been very supportive through this period, allowing me to work on my personal goals during class and being her usual positive and encouraging self.
Shihan Womak spent an entire class with me last week offering very helpful and insightful advice. My fellow students have been eagerly offering up their attacks to assist my bunkai timing and ma practice. I wish to thank you all for your support and instruction. I hope that i can do justice to your efforts next week
Ontario Chito Ryu grades black belts ( yudansha ) twice a year, spring and fall.
Prior to each formal grading ( which is overseen by Higashi sensei and a panel of renshis and shihans ), there is a formal 'evaluation'.
Formerly known as as ' the pre-test', this mandatory event is overseen by Renshi R. Ferri and Renshi A. Bellhouse.
They, and a panel of others conduct a formal test of all applicants who wish to be graded. It is a valuable and humbling experience.
After a few hours of waiting for brown belts to run through their entire syllabus it is time for the black belts to be tested.
Nothing is omitted-stances, punches, kicks, blocks, strikes, break-falls, kihons, katas, bunkai, goshin jitsu etc.
I have just returned this spring's 'evaluation'. It was a reasonably small group and so we were out of there in a quick 5 hours.
I confess I did not perform at my best. A combination of sleep deprivation ( just finished a 24 hr shift ),stress and over training led me to make a couple of silly mistakes but it was a valuable learning process.
Mostly, all evaluators agree that i am too tense and tend to shorten my techniques and not demonstrate expansion enough.
They are absolutely right. I do not know what it is about performing in front of these dignitaries that stresses me. I have known them all for decades and they are great folks.
I am by nature and by necessity a pretty calm person. I have delivered 5 babies out of hospital. I have treated gunshot, stabbing, and accident victims for 25 yrs. I can splint bones, stop arterial bleeds, and do cpr on children. These things are second nature to me, and yet, the gradings cause me stress. Go figure.
I have a month to train myself to relax. I'll let you know how it goes.
April 29th saw the most recent Ontario Chito Ryu tournament.
All of the usual suspects were present:
Renshis Ferri and Bellhouse presiding and pitching in;
Sensei Debbie Brooks from Burlington Chito Ryu karate Club, and other dojo heads from New Hamburg, Richmond Hill, Whitby, Pickering etc. were judging and refereeing;
Volunteers ( students, parents etc ) were selling tickets, staffing bbq and score keeping.
Thank you to Randy Cotton and Debbie Park from Burlington Chito Ryu Karate Club for assisting the entire day!
I was acting as the onsite medical care for the tournament. Glad to report there were no significant injuries-a credit to the equipment and the control of the referees and the competitors.
And there were the competitors. 130 children competing in kata, kumite and team kata. There were not as many adults as in previous years, possibly due to the beautiful weather.
I had decided to compete this year, as another way of preparing for my grading. It seemed like a good way to perform kata under some pressure -in front of a large audience. As it turns out, that was a good idea. I managed to place second but more importantly noticed that I must have been very tense during my demonstration, as I struggled to control my breathing at the completion of Sanshiryu. Lesson learned ( i hope ).
Finally, 2 more items. Congratulations to young Alistair Park from our Burlington Club. In his first tournament ever he placed first in kumite and second in kata! He is our first junior student of this most recent group to compete and we could not have been prouder.
Secondly, a large thank you to Bill Moran from the entire Ontario Chito Ryu community. Bill, a Higashi student and crony of mine for almost 30 years is the driving force behind most of our functions. Bill organizes the events, books venues, recruits volunteers, organizes food, drink, rings, mats, helpers, drivers and does anything it takes to complete a successful event-whether it be a tournament, kigami biraki, or other karate related celebration. Bill is always there and always reliable and again, to Bill Moran from the Chito Ryu Community-thanks a million!
Sunday April 15 2012.
Just returned home from the 10am Yudansha clinic run By Renshi Jim Hart and Murray Sutherland and also Shihan Noel Francisco. This clinic is typically for older karateka and those with injuries that would make the regular Yudansha clinics impractical or intimidating. Fortunately I am not in either of those categories yet, although I have been injured in the past.
I always try to make it in to Toronto for these clinics. The instructors have many decades of experience ( each ) and we practice a lot of bunkai there. Today, for example we practiced Nage no Kata, Hen Shu Ho , Han Ten, Rin Ten and Ju Ni Shi.
All of them.
It was a great class, showing me that i have about 95% of the bunkai committed to memory, but need to review a few things still. I also managed to sprain, or break a toe. ( mine )
Randy was the only other Burlington Chito Ryu Karate Club member there. He rode his motorcycle through the rain and construction to be there-impressive.
Again, I heartily endorse this clinic. It is typically the second Sunday of the month. 10:00 am and still only 10.00
Commitment. It is the foundation of karate as it is the foundation of a life well spent .
Kigami Biraki has come and gone. The emphasis on this Japanese New Year celebration is one of introspection and goal setting.
This year I will grade for sandan ( 3rd degree black belt )
There. It is in writing. I am committed.
Years of training in other disciplines, injury, apathy and inertia have led to my incredible 19 years as a nidan.
Once this blog has been posted, my comittment will be official and unretractable ( if that is even a word ).
I hope to journal my training, and testing procedures, as well as keep members informed of cirriculum changes, tips from clinics, karate related incidents and more.
Welcome to my barefoot journey.