Report – Shikukai Autumn Course, Chippenham, Wilts.

The annual Shikukai Autumn Course at The Olympiad in Chippenham is always looked forward to and this year was no exception. Over 40 students travelled from far and wide, braving the inclement weather, to take part in a weekend of varied and interesting training lead by Sensei Sugasawa and assisted by his team of senior instructors.

Prior to the commencement of training Mokuto was observed in memory of the late Peter Suzuki Sensei and Shingo Ohgami Sensei who had both passed away recently. This was followed by the presentation to Teresa Claxton of her 1st Dan Certificate and Shikukai embroidered Black Belt.

Teresa Claxton presented with Shodan certificate & obi by Sugasawa Sensei.

After a short warm up taken by Pam Rawson, the session commenced with basics lead by Steve & Pam Rawson Senseis. Emphasis was placed on moving correctly between stances, focusing on the interaction between Junzuki/Gyakuzuki/Junzuki No Tsukkomi and Gyakuzuki No Tsukkomi.  Techniques were performed in various directions with the importance of keeping the correct Sei Chu Sen emphasized throughout. The students were then paired up and practised drills involving Tobikomi Nagashizuki and Ayumi Ashi Nagashizuki.

Following a short break the class was split into three groups – 2nd Dan and above, 3rd Kyu to 1st Dan and 4th Kyu and below. The Seniors worked with Tim Shaw Sensei who took them through Ni Sei Shi kata in detail, with interesting comparisons in the various versions of the kata.  Steve & Pam Rawson Senseis introduced the brown belts and 1st Dans to Chinto kata. For many of them this was their first attempt at getting to know the kata.  The lower grades trained under the direction of Tim Dixon Sensei. They worked on Kihon, improving their kicking technique, followed by Pinan Nidan and Pinan Shodan, finishing off with basic Taisabaki in simple pairworks.

Throughout the training Sensei Sugasawa kept a watchful eye and moved among the various groups, giving his personal instruction. A Kyu grading was held after training with five candidates being successful.

The venue for the Saturday night social was The Pheasant Inn, Chippenham, where good food and company ensured a pleasant evening as always.

Being Remembrance Sunday, the next day’s training began with Mokuto. Tim Shaw Sensei lead the warm up and the class was then divided into two halves, facing each other across the Dojo, so that the junior grades could watch the techniques of the Seniors. Kihon practice commenced with Naihanchi stance, moving on to Junzuki, Gyakuzuki, Junzuki No Tsukkomi and Gyaku No Tsukkomi, concentrating on correct body shift. Nagashi movement was then covered, moving both forward and backwards.

After a short break the class was split into three groups as on the previous day. Steve & Pam Rawson Senseis lead the Seniors session on the finer points of Seishan kata, emphasizing how important it was to understand and perform the correct movements, particularly when instructing, as students will inevitably copy their Instructor’s technique. This was followed by Kihon Gumite practice. The students were asked to perform Kihons 1 to 10 without pausing or resetting in between, which was invaluable in getting them to think and react quickly.

Carol Chatterton Sensei & Tim Dixon Sensei worked with the middle group on Naihanchi Kata and Kumite Gata (Jodan Soto Uke and Uchi Uke.) Tim Shaw Sensei took the junior grades through a detailed explanation of Pinan Yondan Kata.  As before, Sensei Sugasawa continued his observation of the different groups, imparting his specialist knowledge.

All too soon, time was up. Sensei Sugasawa thanked everyone for their involvement, in particular Carol, Ian & the Chippenham Club for hosting another very successful and enjoyable course.

Pam Rawson


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