It was a real privilege to be able attend and be a part of the Shikukai Karate International Autumn Course of October 2022. This established annual course had been held on Zoom in 2021 due to Covid restrictions and was long awaited by Shikukai students from across the country.
The course was presided over by Sugasawa Sensei 7th Dan Renshi and we are indebted to his insightful wisdom and input throughout the weekend.
The course was hosted by Sensei Carol Chatterton 6th Dan (Kiku Wa Jyuku) and led by Sensei Steve Rawson 7th Dan and Sensei Pam Rawson 7th Dan.
Sugasawa Sensei opened the event by welcoming us back to the dojo. Sensei referred to the absence of a senior Shikukai Instructor who is facing some health issues. He also recognised the fantastic efforts of Steve Rawson in recently completing an Ironman 70.3 which raised over £1,000 for a related charity. Steve modestly replied, “My battle was over in 7 hour 20 mins, but our friend’s will be considerably longer”. Our collective thoughts are with the Instructor and his family.
After a hearty warm up by Carol Sensei, Steve and Pam Senseis introduced the theme for the two days. “Chi Kou Gou Itsu” – Awareness comes only through practice.
For the first session we worked as one to ensure that the foundations of our Wado principles were developing in the correct way. Specific combinations and drills were shown and practised. These enabled us to think about and refine our own techniques and take inspiration back into our own practice and our own dojos.
We then moved to a paired exercise with a variety of kicks. Safe to say a ‘good sweat’ was had by all.
After a short break we moved on to Kata which sequentially built a combination employing the opening few techniques of three Pinan Kata. Not only was this new but it was linear rather than transitioning to left then right as we would in the Kata. We could focus now on each technique in a ‘new’ environment.
We then formed into three groups: 3rd Dan and above worked on Seishan Kata with Steve Sensei, while 3rd kyu to 2nd Dan were with Pam Sensei who took them through Bassai Kata. 4th kyu and below were with Carol Sensei. Sugasawa Sensei oversaw the three groups adding his invaluable input.
The final session saw the introduction of Kumite No Ura and its relationship with Kihon Gumite.
Many reconvened that evening for a meal at a local Italian restaurant.
Day two began with a warm up from Carol Sensei. Steve and Pam Sensei then built a physically and mentally challenging sequence of combination techniques. Most we were very familiar with but in an unfamiliar sequence, some techniques were less familiar such as Furiken. This culminated in a single combination where we shifted between 20 techniques being delivered at 12, 6, 9 then 3 on the clock face. More good sweat.
After a short break we continued the previous day’s Pinan Kata sequence adding the remaining two.
We then formed into 2 groups: 3rd kyu and above worked on Chinto Kata with Steve Sensei whilst 4th kyu and below were with Pam Sensei and were drilled through the 3rd kyu syllabus.
The final session of the day explored Kihon Gumite 5 and 8 for all students.
Throughout the course students were able to see how Kihon, Kata and Kumite flowed seamlessly together. It was a truly inspiring course where students of all grades and experience were encouraged to challenge themselves.
Everything was catered for, from a warm welcome at the door, time to re acquaint with Shikukai students/friends from afar, progressive and thoughtfully planned and well delivered training sessions, ‘homework’ to take away and think about in our own dojos. There was also time to relax and enjoy being part of the Shikukai family.
Sensei closed the event by thanking Carol Sensei and Kiku Wa Jyuku for an excellent job of hosting, also Steve and Pam Senseis for their instruction. He promoted being more positive in our everyday language, to keep healthy, and then wished everyone a safe journey home.
Two Kiku Wa Jyuku students Meg Chatterton and Alex Wong successfully graded to 3rd Kyu.
Joint report by
Earle Thomas 2nd Dan and Sue Dodd 2nd Dan