PONTESBURY RESIDENTIAL COURSE MAY 2010
During the course of Friday evening 14th May & the following Saturday morning students from Kazokukai Dojos in Wolverhampton, Sheffield, Leicester & Oswestry arrived at the village hall Pontesbury in rural Shropshire to join the May Residential Course for a full weekend of traditional karate & kobudo.
The course commenced with the opening session on Saturday morning being taken by Kazokukai’s chief instructor Sensei Derek Ridgway. Sensei Ridgway is recently back from a successful training visit to Okinawa with a select group of students & was keen to convey the aspects of traditional Shorinryu karate experienced there. Sensei concentrated on the traditional karate punching basics starting with the correct way of forming a fist followed by correct alignment of the choku-zuki punching arm to impact with the two leading knuckles. The class then moved on to sinking & holding the traditional Shiko Dachi stance followed by a spirited bout of punching from Shiko Dachi utilising correct hip twist movement.
The next session was taken by Sensei Bayliss who took the weapon sessions during the course. This session concentrated on drilling the class in the basics of the Ryuku Kobujitsu 6 foot Bo. This compromised of teaching the class the 5 Kamae postures with the Bo, 5 basic Bo blocks & the 5 basic Bo attacks. These drills were practiced both right & left hand side repeatedly until all felt more comfortable in handling the Bo. Sensei Bayliss explained to the class that a comprehension of these basic drills would assist all with learning the Bo kata which would be taught later during the course.
After lunch Sensei Ridgway taught the class the version of Itosu Jitte kata as taught to him during his recent Okinawan visit by Sensei Isamu Aragaki 10th Dan of the Kodokan Karate Association. This antique kata passed down from Chosin Chibana’s Kobayashi style is longer than the Jitte commonly found in the Japanese karate styles & not generally practiced in the UK. Sensei taught the kata repetitively until all felt they had grasped the order & spirit of the kata.
Sensei Mick Bayliss took the final session of the day teaching the Bo kata Sakugawa Sho. This kata although still a basic Bo kata from the Ryuku Kobujitsu syllabus introduces the concepts of grip changes & left hand techniques to students.
The first day concluded with Catherine J Hansford & James Harkness from the Kazokukai Sheffield Dojo both successfully grading to 1st Dan & congratulations to them both.
On Saturday evening the group convened in the local village pub for a relaxing & enjoyable evening. The pub hosted a local band & several Kazokukai members revelled in gyrating on the dance floor to well known blues & rock classics performed by the band.
Sunday morning soon came around & after breakfast Sensei Bayliss took the first session refreshing the basic Bo drills learnt the previous day. This was followed by repeated practice of the Bo kata Sakugawa Sho with more emphasis put on the timing of the kata.
In the next session Sensei Ridgway taught the Shorinryu version of Passai Sho also known as Itosu No Passai. (not to be confused with Bassai Sho)This antique version of the kata which encompasses both elements of attack & defence is said to typify Chosin Chibana’s Kobayashi style. Classical elements of Okinawan karate such as Kosa Dachi stance & old style ‘searching hand’ techniques are evident in the kata. Sensei Ridgway conveyed that whilst learning this version of the kata in Okinawa that Sensei Aragaki referred to the ‘searching hand’ technique as ‘Habu’ hand. The Habu being the poisonous snake indigenous to Okinawa!
The final session of the day returned to Sensei Bayliss who taught the 10 Bo attacks & defences. These two person drills introduces the student to attacks to specific targets on the body & the subsequent defences. Sensei Bayliss stepped up the pace of learning that all 10 attacks & defences could be covered in the time allocated but before long the last session of the course came to a close due to time restraints.
All who attended clearly benefited from a very intense exposure to traditional karate & kobudo techniques & a special thanks to Sensei’s Ridgway & Bayliss for their painstaking attention to detail in all that they taught.
A special thanks also to Neil & Nigel from the Sheffield Dojo who performed an excellent job in preparing & serving the varied & wholesome meals during the residential course. (To have a student who formerly trained as a chef is a distinct bonus!)
As the students made their way back to various parts of the country on Sunday afternoon their minds must have been on all that they had learnt & the opportunity to train again as a group at the next Pontesbury Residential Course in September 2010.
*Note next Pontesbury course 4th-5th September.