WADO RYU KARATE-DO ACADEMY
WINTER COURSE, 21 – 25 FEBRUARY 2015 REPORT
By Sensei Rob Howells MBE
“Nichi Nichi Kore Ko Nichi
Ko Nichi Kore Nichi Nichi”
The Wado Academy Winter course for 2015, as in previous years, was held at the Spectrum Leisure Centre, Guildford. During the 5 days of the course over 160 students attended. With 150 on each of the first 2 days and no less than 100 students on each of the subsequent days, it was truly a memorable experience. As the quote above from Sensei Shiomitsu 9th Dan Hanchi Shihan our Chief Instructor encourages us to approach life: “Every Day Happy Day, Happy Day Every Day”. They were truly happy days. The cohesion and friendliness of all the course participants was clear to see and everyone enjoyed not only the instruction but also the camaraderie that being a member of the Academy brings.
This was an international course with students from Norway, France, Italy, Portugal, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, Netherlands, Belgium, Bahamas, USA Madagascar, Ireland and of course the home countries of England, Scotland and Wales. Each day Sensei Shiomitsu visited the course lifting everyone’s spirits and providing guidance to students as he watched with keen interest their training. This is a particularly significant year for Sensei as it marks his 50th anniversary of teaching Wado Ryu in Europe.
The main instructors as in previous years were Sensei Arthur Meek and Sensei Kazutaka Otsuka, with Sensei Tran Hieu Minh providing one session of instruction half way through the course. Each instructor brought his unique insights into the fundamentals of Wado Ryu.
On Day 1 Sensei Arthur set the tone by reminding everyone of the phrase, again often used by Sensei Shiomitsu, “Katsumi” which means to continue to try in the face of adversity and never give up. The only way to improve is by continuing practice; to repeat techniques over and over again until they become natural and to overcome the weaknesses of flesh and spirit in order to achieve peace and harmony in one’s life.
He also introduced the new Academy Dan grade syllabus for 2015 to 2017, which Sensei Shiomitsu devised over the last 6 months. Sensei Arthur took the lead in explaining the new combination techniques, Gumite Gata, Khion Gumite and Idori to all students.
During his sessions Sensei Kazutaka continued to demonstrate the importance of making a connection between the internal workings of the body and the external movements that are practiced. This he covered in a number of ways through analysis and demonstration of the four basic techniques of Junkuzi, Gyakuzuki and their No Tsukkomi counterparts; movements from Pinan, Seishan and Chinto katas and of course pair work. One of his analogies was to try to make those on the course understand the concept of Kime. However, he was very clear that this should not be understood as the Kime of Kabuki Theatre (loud, theatrical and instantaneous) but more as the Kime of a sonorous bell whose energy, when struck, reverberates in every direction for more than a mere instant.
In his session, Sensei Tran explained some of the reasons for doing mokuso (meditation) at the start of each day’s training. He linked this with the importance of being relaxed particularly when performing Wado Ryu movements. He introduced techniques to practice this and then did a combination technique with its application in pair work.
Through out the course Sensei Shiomitsu presented Dan grade certificates to the following people:
7th Dan – Øistein Riber, Norway
6th Dan – Graham Hopkins, Wales
5th Dan – Leo Musyoki, England
4th Dan – Knut Langsrud, Sweden
Stig Kristiansen, Norway
3rd Dan – Inga-Bodil Aronsson, Sweden
2nd Dan – Michael Pryer, England
Kristian Sørensen , Norway
Aslak Nilsen, Norway
1st Dan – Norman Bolton, England
Charley Prole, England
Brad Squires, England
Daniele Valli, France
Kurt Penman, Sweden
Lars Kjønniksen, Norway
On the final day of the course the Dan grading was held. This year the Dan grade panel consisted of, Sensei Arthur Meek 7th Dan, Sensei Tran Hieu Minh 7th Dan, Sensei Kazutaka Otsuka, Sensei Rob Howells MBE 6th Dan and Sensei Peter Hill 6th Dan. Three students passed their grading:
3rd Dan – Teemu Heikkila, Finland
1st Dan – Imran Mirza