Review of JKA England International Course at K2, September 2016 (0 comments)

The Japan Karate Association England (JKAE) ran another highly successful International Autumn Course between the 16th and 18th of September at the K2 Sports Centre in Crawley. More than 350 karate students attended this event over the three days it took place. Those attending included both JKA members from England and abroad, as well as guests from non-JKA organisations. This is the 23rd International course that the JKAE has facilitated since 2004.

These International JKAE courses have always offered Karate students the experience of being instructed by some of the world’s leading exponents of JKA karate, and this year was no exception, with three of the world’s most prestigious instructors leading the course. These were Osaka Sensei (8th Dan), Imamura Sensei (7th Dan) and JKA England’s own Chief instructor, Ohta Sensei (7thDan). The JKAE technical committee comprising of Sensei Roy Tomlin (6th Dan), Sensei Gary Stewart (6th Dan) and Sensei Adel Ismail (6th Dan) were also in attendance and they supported the Japanese instructors throughout the course.

The international JKAE courses offer a unique opportunity for both students and instructors. It enables them to develop their understanding of karate by being taught by world-class exponents of Shotokan, who have a depth of experience and insight that is based on a lifetime of achievement, training and instruction at all levels. This is especially important for club instructors as it allows them access to the current developments in karate which is continually being reviewed and refined by the JKA Honbu. This in turn ensures that instructors can prepare their students for both gradings and competitions in harmony with current developments. Instructors travel from all over Europe and beyond to access the knowledge provided by these Senseis, and the instruction they receive is seen as an invaluable way to help them to develop and improve Karate in their own countries. Visitors this Autumn came from countries throughout Europe and beyond including Egypt and South Africa.

A recent innovation has been to open these courses up to students of all grades and ages. This allows clubs to offer an invaluable experience for all their students, so that they can benefit from lessons delivered by world class instructors. The exposure to expert teaching methods has helped to motivate and inspire students, as well as broadening their understanding of Karate. Non-JKA organisations are also very welcome, and this enables other Shotokan students to also have access to current developments in technique and Kata under the guidance of the JKA “Keeper of Karate’s Highest Tradition”.

The course ran over three days, with training sessions on each day lasting for three hours. These sessions are divided into two sections, the first focusing on Kihon and Kumite, the second on Kata.  The Katas being covered were announced before the course, so that students can decide with their Senseis which Kata sessions would give them the most benefit. As well as the main training sessions throughout the three day course, instructor tests were also undertaken, and Dan grading was supervised and adjudicated by the international instructors.

Here are the experiences from two students at the course who are at completely different stages in their karate.

Theo Gannon, 9th Kyu (14 years old)

“The course at K2, even for the one day I attended, was the most inspiring and significant experience I have taken part in to date. The sheer number of people attending, and the many great and high-ranking Karate Senseis at the course made it a really enjoyable three hours.

The first hour was spent with Imamura Sensei (8th Dan) meticulously deconstructing punching chudan, and showing us many different ways to practice this technique. The last half an hour with him was spent practising sparring and kata. I later moved on with three others to have a 1 to 1 session with Sensei Roy Tomlin (6th Dan). We mainly focused on getting Heian Shodan perfect. We went over every move until we got it right and I found this extremely helpful for my next grading.

Overall it was a fantastic day and I would deeply encourage everyone to go to these courses in the future”.

Zelda Sales – Shodan (31 years old)

I attended all 3 days of the Autumn course.

Friday night was the highlight for me. It was a smaller group than the other days and everyone trained together under the legendary Sensei Osaka – 8th Dan from Japan. Students ranging from white belt to the most senior 6th Dan Sensei were all doing the same session. Sensei Osaka made it feel like an intimate class and I received most constructive feedback on kizami zuke and kekomi geri directly from the Sensei.

The very tough session was followed by some Kata and I chose to do Enpi (which I hope to do for my Nidan grading in Nov) with Sensei Ohta – 7th Dan Chief Instructor of JKA England. I received some feedback on my stances and posture that I felt instantly improved my karate and made my technique stronger. The best part for me was to see the Sensei Ohta perform the Kata for us. We went to bed exhausted, not knowing how we will survive another 2 days.

On Saturday we were divided into groups and I was very happy that Shodans trained with Sensei Osaka again with much focus on hip movement. For the second session I chose to do Kata Kanku Sho with Sensei Imamura. It was fantastic to see Sensei perform the kata for us. We repeated some of the sequences standing in a circle around him and I was training close  to Sensei Larsen, 7th Dan Chief Instructor of Norway. It was a wonderful experience to train with many experienced people and to do the Kata together.

Sunday was another great day with Shodan and Nidan grading syllabus training with Sensei Immura, and then the Kata Chinte.

 I definitely recommend attendance to these courses. JKA England gives you the opportunity to train with several international sensei and local senior instructors. Training under them will provide an instant and immediate upgrade to your Karate. I can’t wait for the Spring Course Friday 28 April to Monday 1 May 2017. Oss!

JKA England is the only recognised representative of the Japan Karate Association in England which is “Keeper of Karate’s highest tradition”. There are many Clubs throughout England and new members are always welcome.

Tony O’Neill


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