Wado Ryu Karate-do Academy – Summer Course 2015 Report
Sensei Robert Howells MBE
“Shinkenmi ni Teshi”
(be serious in everything)
This year’s summer course was held in Lymington Leisure Centre. During the five days of training over 70 student’s attended from the Wado Academy, both here and in Europe: namely from: Finland, The Netherlands, Germany, Italy, France, Norway, Ireland and of course from England, Scotland and Wales.
As can be seen from the photograph above the Chief Instructor of the Academy, M. Shiomitsu 9th Dan Hanshi Shihan visited the course on the Sunday and everyone was delighted to see Sensei walk with the aid of a stick. His progress is remarkable since the start of his illness and shows what a determined spirit he has to over come adversity.
Kazutaka Otsuka Sensei was not at the course this year, due to the sad passing of the Second Grand Master of Wado Ryu, his father, in late June. Consequently, Kazutaka Sensei has had to return to Japan to deal with his father’s affairs and it has been confirmed that he will be proclaimed the Third Grand Master of Wado Ryu Karate-do on 29th August 2015 in a special ceremony in Japan. All members of the Academy wish him well and success in the new responsibilities he now has by becoming the worldwide head of Wado Ryu. We look forward to seeing him at future Wado Academy courses in his new role.
The principal instructor, as on past courses, was Arthur Meek 7th Dan Renshi assisted this year by senseis: Robert Howells MBE 6th Dan, Peter Hill 6th Dan and Peter Edwards 6th Dan. As on previous courses each day was split into 2 sessions and from the second day onwards there was an early morning training session from 6.30 to 7.30. These early morning training sessions culminated on the final day with the traditional run and “dip” in the sea. This year the “dip” was literally that as the sea was quite rough. When everyone was in the water the strong undertow ensured that everyone’s legs became well acquainted with the pebbles that were whipped up as a result! It was noticeable that Ki Ais were particularly strong this year and could be clearly heard over the crashing waves.
Sensei Arthur Meek took the whole first day of the course. From the warm up he moved into basic techniques, pair work and kata. He did a Dan grade combination and these moves were practised in pair work, allowing everyone to understand what was being achieved in this combination. He also demonstrated how these moves could lead into other techniques and takedowns.
Sensei Shiomitsu visited the course on Day 2. The instructor for the first half of the day was Sensei Robert Howells. After the warm up Sensei Robert took the course through Tobikomizuki and Nagashizuki. This was followed by pair work based on Gumite Gata No.6 with variations of this basic block for students to practice and think about. He then finished the session with some Goshin Ho. Sensei Arthur Meek continued the theme of the morning emphasising the importance of hard training and proceeded to put everyone through his or her paces. It is fair to say that everyone “got sweat”. He also emphasised the need to move in the most economical way possible, with no extra or unnecessary movement and told everyone to be wary of Mudan Waza, Mudan Dosa and Mudan Chikara (unnecessary technique, movement and strength). Finally, he got everyone to practice Pinan Nidan and one of the Dan grade combinations. The day concluded with Sensei Shiomitsu presenting Dan grade certificates to Brad Kruger 5th Dan (Budo Juku) and Markus Salomma 6th Dan (Finland).
Sensei Peter Edwards took the first session of the third day and after mukso went straight into basic techniques. In particular he emphasised the importance of using one’s centre to move and the opening of the hips to be able to move in a natural and fluid way. He then got everyone to practice Ippon Gumite No.1. Sensei Arthur Meek continued Sensei Peter Edwards’s theme of Hiraki Ashi in the second session of the day. He also took the class through another Dan grade combination, while in the final part he took the higher grades (3rd Kyu and above) through Chinto kata, while Sensei Robert Howells took the other Kyu grades through Pinan Sandan. In the evening a social gathering was organised at the campsite and was a tremendous success. The highlight was “The Proclaimers” tribute act from Finland performing the song “I’m Gonna be (500 miles)”.
On Day 4 Sensei Peter Hill took the first lesson. After the warm up he took students through the fundamentals of basic technique in particular Tsugi Ashi. He broke things down into their constituent parts so that students were better able to understand what they are trying to achieve with these techniques. He pointed out the importance of Ma (timing) and Maai (distancing) and got students to practice Gumite Gata No. 8 and Kihon Gumite No. 2. In the next session Sensei Arthur Meek continued the theme of the day by explaining the concepts of Taisabaki, Inasu, Noru and Nagasu. He got the students to practice in pairs using sparring techniques to demonstrate the practicality of these concepts.
On the final day Sensei Robert Howells took the warm up and Sensei Peter Hill took the rest of the first session. He again broke down the techniques of Junkuzi, Gyakuzuki, Junzuki no Tsukomi, Gyakuzuki no Tsukomi, Maegeri, Mawashigeri and Sokuto, so that everyone could understand the fundamentals of these moves. In the final session, Sensei Arthur Meek directed everyone to practice their katas with the four sensei making themselves available to answer questions and provide guidance on these techniques.
A Dan grading was held at the end of the course and the following students passed the grading:
George Hammond 1st Dan – Farnham and Haslemere
Marcus Frontera 1st Dan – Farnham and Haslemere
Our congratulations to them both on their excellent achievement.