2016 Winter Course report

20 – 24 FEBRUARY 2016

By Sensei Robert Howells MBE

“Tai Toku”


The Wado Academy Winter course for 2016 was held at the Spectrum Leisure Centre, Guildford. During the 5 days of the course over 180 students attended. On the Saturday and Sunday 160 students came to practice with no less than 100 students on each of the subsequent days. This year the range of students was quiet breathtaking as the following countries were represented: Norway, France, Italy, Portugal, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, Hungary, Netherlands, Belgium, Bahamas, USA, Australia, and of course the home countries of England, Scotland and Wales. There were also a number of non Academy students from who came to train and were made welcome.

This year the main instructors on the course were the third generation Grand Master of Wado Ryu Karate-Do Kazutaka Otsuka Sensei, with Arthur Meek Sensei. At the start of the course the Grand Master explained the circumstances of his father’s death and he thanked everyone for their support during this difficult time. He also said he was looking forward to the 8th International and 52nd National Wado Ryu Karate-Do tournament which will be held on the 30th and 31st July 2016 at the Tokyo Budokan. He hoped that many Wado Ryu students from around the world would enter the championships in memory of the 2nd Grand Master. The third Grand Mater then went on to explain the nature of the championships and indicated that the two categories of Jukuren (3rd Dan and above) and Sounen (over 40 years of age regardless of rank) would be judged in both kumite and kata along traditional lines and move away from that of sport karate.  In these categories, in particular, entrants will be expected to demonstrate the fundamental principles and techniques of Wado Ryu when competing and will also be judged on their spirit and attitude in the competition.

After Mokuso the Grand Master then took the training for the rest of the first day. He emphasised again and again the importance of connecting the whole body (Tai Toku) when completing a technique. He broke down a number of kihon movements to demonstrate what he wanted students to achieve in their practice. The connection
between correct technique, utilising deep muscles and energy flow to generate effective power were then explained in a number of different scenarios. Examples were taken from kihon, kihon gumite and kata where applications were explained and applied in equal measure. At the end of the session M. Shiomitsu Hanshi Shihan presented Dan Grade certificates to the following students:

3rd Dan – Teemu Heikkila, Finland
2nd Dan – Anthony Wermann, Germany
1st Dan – Imran Mirza, Ohku Kai, UK
Keith Gayle, Ohku Kai, UK


Wado Ryu Karate-Do’s Third Grand Master Kazutaka Otsuka Sensei

The second day of the course saw Arthur Meek Sensei taking the training. After Mokuso and warm up he took everyone through a number of basic techniques; Gumite Gata Nos 1 and 9; Dan Grading Combination No 1, Pinan Shodan and light sparring techniques. In all of this he stressed the importance of moving with one’s centre and to maintain the correct distance (Maai) when practising techniques with a partner.


Arthur Meek Sensei taking students through Pinan Shodan

Mid way through the course the Grand Master took the first half of the training. He again broke down certain techniques such as Junzuki and encouraged everyone to maintain a relaxed form, which would assist in generating the correct energy. He also explained Kime and stressed that it was more than a “shout” but the manifestation of the energy that is used in a technique. In the second half of the session students were divided into 3 groups. Third Dans and above were taken by Peter Hill Sensei, first and second Dans were taken by Tran Hieu Minh Sensei and first Kyu students and below were instructed by Arthur Meek Sensei.

On the penultimate day, training was again split into two. Arthur Meek Sensei took the first half with Kette Sando Junzuki, Kette Sando Gyakuzuki, Nagashizuki, Kihon Gumite No 5 and the third Dan grade combination. In the second half the Grand Master looked at a variety of moves from different kata, such as: Chinto, Seishan, Pinan Shodan and Pinan Yodan demonstrating not only how they should be performed but also showing how they linked to the fundamental principles of Wado Ryu. His session finished with dojo sparring techniques such as: nodowa.

On the final day’s session, Arthur Meek Sensei went through more basic techniques; another Dan grade combination and Kihon Gumite. With Kihon Gumite, he invited students to think broadly introducing them to throwing and choking techniques.

It should be noted that on each day of the course the Academy’s Chief Instructor M. Shiomitsu Hanshi Shihan came and watched the training and advised and guided students on their techniques. On the final day he and Maya Shiomitsu thanked the Grand Master and Arthur Meek Sensei for making time out of their busy schedules to come and take the course. He also encouraged all Academy students to train hard; to live correctly outside the dojo and to find peace and harmony in their lives.

At the end of the course a Dan grading panel was convened, which consisted of the Grand Master, Arthur Meek Sensei, Robert Howells MBE Sensei, and Peter Hill Sensei. A number of students took the grading and the following passed. We congratulate them on their achievement.

Mark Vallei 1st Dan – Devon Wado Ryu, UK
James Bolton 2nd Dan – Devon Wado Ryu, UK
Noriko Mitsuhashi 3rd Dan – Rotterdam, Netherlands
Gary Moore 3rd Dan – Devon Wado Ryu, UK