2022 New Year Instructor’s Course – Report.

On Saturday 8th January 2022, Sugasawa Sensei led the traditional New Year training with the Shikukai club instructors in the dojo, marking the first opportunity for face-to-face training since the usual schedule was rudely interrupted by the Covid pandemic. For me personally it was a privilege to host the session and a sheer joy to be training with Sensei and the instructors again. The session was also the first hybrid instructors training session with a further 24+ people joining via video link from their own dojos or homes.  

The session began with some words from Sensei explaining that we cannot be ruled by coronavirus and that we need to find a way around the predicament. He also explained that this session was an opportunity for some intensive training to kick-start the New Year.

After some gentle warmup stretches from Pam Rawson Sensei, we moved on to sonoba-waza with a variety of hand forms, and then Unsoku, or Ashi-sabaki practice (stepping or moving forward with different foot movements.) Despite the way the practice is named, it became clear that this is about generating momentum and range of movement from a stand-still position while keeping your Sei-chu-sen intact and protected, regardless of which stepping pattern is being practised. The level of success being achieved soon became apparent when striking techniques were added. The first hour was rounded off nicely with an increasingly vigorous kicking drill from Pam Sensei, built on Tsugi-ashi and requiring different preparation of the hips for each kick.

Tim Shaw Sensei then led the practice with a look at how certain aspects of Kihon Kata evolve into Pinan Nidan. In particular he explained how dropping energy is introduced in the first movement of Pinan Nidan (something that would come up again later), and the way each half of the body is utilised in equal measure in executing Jun-no-koshi. The points Tim Sensei drew out, illustrated how even a simple kata contains endless fine details that can improve our practice.

We then moved on to some pair work drills (with actual partners to practice with!) practising Nagasu movements, utilising Jun-no-koshi and Gyaku-no-koshi, against the same Gyakuzuki chudan attack.

Steve Rawson Sensei then led the final section of the day’s training, returning to kata with a detailed breakdown of Seishan movements. He explained how creating tension in the Tanden stabilises the body, whereas excessive tension in the arms leads to unwanted shaking. The switching between tensed and relaxed states is an obvious feature of the first (slow) section of the kata, but Sensei explained that a similar principle is used in the Age-waza section, where the body goes into full stretch to make a high-rising technique and then relaxes and contracts to add energy to the following dropping action, enabling the body rather than the arm to add energy to Ura-uchi. The same principle was in fact practised earlier in the opening movement of Pinan Nidan!

Steve Sensei’s session closed with some Ura-no-kumite and Kumite-kata drills, where he observed that the former are simply building blocks that can be combined into more elaborate forms as found in Kumite-kata and Kihon Gumite. It was interesting to make some connections between Seishan and these pairwork drills, the most obvious being the concentration of energy in the Tanden to stabilise the defensive postures. Seishan dachi also featured in the practised Kumite-kata, as did the stretching-contracting principle (again) and even the arm shape practised in the opening section of Seishan is found to be the strong option for the first movement of the Kumite-kata.

By now we had gone over time. I don’t think anyone minded and we could easily have continued for another hour. It was so refreshing to be training together again. Now looking forward to the Winter Course… 

Richard Barham 6th Dan.

Success for Jess Lee.

Jessica Lee has trained with Chippenham Karate Club since she was 6 years old. She has trained regularly, taken part in competitions and helped out with the children’s classes each week. 

The plan was for Jess to take her Dan Grade in 2020 but unfortunately this was not possible due to the pandemic.

Jess is now 18 and emigrated to Australia earlier this week.  Before she left, Sugasawa Sensei very kindly authorised her to attempt a Dan Grading. This took place at the Olympiad Leisure Centre in Chippenham on Monday 6 December.  The grading panel consisted of Senseis Steve Rawson 7th Dan, Pam Rawson 7th Dan and Carol Chatterton 6th Dan, with Sugasawa Sensei overseeing the grading via Zoom.  

I am pleased to say Jess passed and it was lovely to see her obtain her black belt before heading off to pastures new.

We will miss Jess at the club and wish her well for the future.  Her plan is to continue to train and hopefully start a club of her own one day!

Best of luck Jess, keep in touch!!

Carol Chatterton 6th Dan

Please join us for the Winter Course 2022

Shikukai Winter Course 2022 will be the first major face to face course that Shikukai has held post restrictions. Our vision is to create a focused, smaller, boutique course that connects us to our Wado. It will be different to the usual large courses we’ve held in the past, but with Sensei’s guidance it’s sure to be a success. 

It is important that we manage the numbers carefully this year.  Please contact us to let us know you are coming (or thinking about it) etc.  Give us your Mobile number and we will add you to a WhatsApp Group just for this event.  

Saturday 12th Feb 11:00 Registration / warm up   

11:30am – 3:00pm (3:00pm-3:30pm) personal practice

Sugasawa Sensei & Shikukai Senior Instructors

Danbury Sports Centre, Danbury CM3 4NQ

Sunday 13th February 11:00 Registration / warm up

11:30am – 3:00pm

Sugasawa Sensei & Shikukai Senior Instructors

Danbury Sports Centre, Danbury CM3 4NQ
Sunday 13th will also include:

  • Kyu Gradings   3:00pm – One month notice required please
  • Dan Grading     4:00pm – Formal handwritten letter to Sensei by 11th January 2022

Free parking –  Danbury Sports Centre has an upper and lower car park—————————————————————————————–

Course, Grading and registration fees 2022

  • Kyu Grading Fee £14.00 – One month notice required please
  • Dan Grading Fee £25.00 – Formal handwritten letter to Sensei by 11th January 2022

Attendance to the course must be booked for and paid in advance

Paypal https://www.paypal.me/StevenThain

2 Day Rate

  • Adult member – £50
  • Adult Non-member – £60
  • Junior (11-17yrs) member – £30
  • Junior (11-17yrs) Non- member – £40

1 Day Rate

  • Adult member £30
  • Adult Non-member £35
  • Junior (11-17yrs) member £15
  • Junior (11-17yrs) Non- member £20

——————————————————————————————-

Additional Dojo time
 

  1. Thursday 10th February. Shouwa Jyuku regular dojo session
    7:30pm -9:00pm
    Woodham Walter Primary school, The Street, Woodham Walter CM9 6RF
    Open to all.  £10
     
  2. TBC – Friday 11th February. Shouwa Jyuku Instructor led
    6:00pm – 8:00pm
    This session is TBC and very much subject to demand.


Covid.  We will be exercising an upper limit of attendance. We ask that if you aren’t double vaccinated that you carry out a covid test before arrival to the course and do not attend if you have any symptoms. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/symptoms/
Cancellation due to Covid.  If you test positive, we will refund any payments you’ve made to the course.

Social.  We won’t be organising the usual large group meal this year. We suggest people organise themselves for meals in the evenings. We will arrange a meet at a couple of central pubs at the time.

Accommodation. There are many options for accommodation in Chelmsford. Sensei will be staying at the Premier Inn Chelmsford City Hotel. CM1 1NY

Money.  We intend to be cash free this year. You will need to pre-book your place onto the course with payment made in full one month prior to the course, this will help us in planning to give the most benefit to your training.  Paypal https://www.paypal.me/StevenThain

WhatsApp. Please email your attendance and payment along with your mobile phone number, we will add you to a group for the event that will give important information out.

International students.  International students please email us for your attendance. Stansted Airport is the closest airport to us. There are regular affordable  buses that run to Chelmsford regularly. If you are having difficulty with this, please contact Steve, Tim or Natalie.

Steve. thethains41@gmail.com /  07989 257044 

Tim. timshaw499@hotmail.com /  07585 707718

Natalie. natalie.harvey9@gmail.com /  07972 790246

Facebook@chelmsfordshikukai 
www.wadoryu.org.uk
www.shikukai.com

Report: Shikukai Autumn Zoom Course 30/31 October 2021.

This year’s Shikukai Autumn Course was held over two days via Zoom. Whilst this type of training has its limitations, on the positive side it meant that everyone could get together without geographical constraints.

Saturday’s session welcomed students from many parts of the UK, Norway, Holland, France and Australia. Sensei opened the proceedings, welcoming everyone and was pleased to see how many people had made the effort to attend.  He then handed over to his team of instructors, whilst keeping a close eye on events.

The first session for all grades was taken by Richard Barham 6th Dan Sensei. The first part was a warm up including breathing exercises initiated from the Hara, not merely the chest. He then concentrated on core basics and how they related to Kihon and Kata.

For the first time, Zoom Breakout rooms were used, enabling sessions to be more grade specific. The instructors had previously met together via Zoom to work out the technicalities and all worked well on the day.

Tim Shaw 7th Dan Sensei took the Dan Grades for an hour long session, which he split into two parts. The first half was focussed on the relationship between the centre and techniques that operate at the furthest edges of our reach; including examples from Kihon and Kata. The second half concentrated on operating multiple sequential techniques with the same hand, all connected to the body movements, which, in turn, created free-flowing fighting combinations.

Concurrently, the other Breakout Room for Kyu Grades was lead by Steve & Pam Rawson 7th Dans Senseis. They concentrated on the 60 moves of Kushanku Kata as demonstrated by Grandmaster Otsuka II many years ago on one of his UK courses. The similarity between the first and last moves of the Kata was demonstrated. Use of the Hara in these moves linked back to Richard’s initial session. Some simple Kumite drills were then practised, incorporating moves from the Kata.

The Breakout rooms were then closed and everyone resumed training together for the final 30 minute session which was lead by Bob Wymer 5th Dan Sensei. He linked the movements of the first five Kihon Gumite into a sequence, making it easier for the junior grades to start learning the basic attacks and defences.

Sunday saw a similar number of 40+ students attending with the first general session being taken by Rob Selby 5th Dan Sensei. Rob’s focus was on moving off line and engaging Hara utilising Koshi wo Kiru. He did this by way of a series of drills which stretched both mind and body. The second part looked at various Renketsu Dosa from the Shikukai Syllabus showing how the movements practised in the drills were evident.

The two Breakout sessions were then opened. Steve & Pam Rawson took the Dan Grades, focussing on a series of kumite drills which could be used in a general sparring scenario. These were then varied to incorporate the hand techniques pictured in the Shikukai syllabus. The effect of this was to change the emphasis from competition style to a more traditional Jiyu Kumite.

Steve Chamberlain 7th Dan Sensei took the Kyu Grades. His focus was on explaining to the students what an examiner would look for in a Kyu Grading examination including distance, timing and Zanshin.

Once the breakout sessions were concluded and everyone returned to the main room, Pam Rawson explained how the meaning of familiar Japanese karate terms can be understood from how they are written in Kanji. Among the examples she gave was how the Kanji for Sen ()  “before/to lead/proceed” appears in the following:-

Sen Sei

Sen Sen No Sen 先 先

Senshu

To keep up momentum Steve Rawson ended the course with a set of kicking drills culminating in a short warm down. Sensei closed the course by thanking everyone for their efforts and is looking forward to when we can all train together face to face.

Pam Rawson 7th Dan

7th November 2021

Karate Training on Zoom!

At the beginning of 2020 the thought of karate training online was not something Steve and I had considered, but as the pandemic drew on, it became clear that something would have to be done to keep us all in touch and maintain our training in whatever form we could.

Our first session using Zoom was somewhat trial and error. We had originally hoped to do it outside, using an I-Pad but that didn’t work so we cleared surplus furniture out of our study and used the computer instead.

We quickly learned what ideas would work and what wouldn’t due to lack of space and internet quality. It soon became clear that the normal lesson style involving student correction was not practicable and a different approach had to be found.

We would divide each session into short sections, each covering a different aspect and developing a theme over a few weeks. Shikukai students have embraced this new approach to training, which in turn has given the Shikukai senior instructors the opportunity to run sessions, including Instructor Courses.

On Saturday 7th November Steve and I held a general Zoom training, where over 30 students of all grades joined in for 90 minutes of hard training. Sugasawa Sensei joined the session and as ever, maintained his watchful eye over proceedings.

The session began with a recap of Meoto-te and Jodan/Chudan/Gedan areas of attack/defence. For the past few weeks I have been explaining to the students how the Kanji readings and meanings of karate terminology are interlinked. The example I used on Saturday was the “Chu” 中 in chudan being the same Kanji as the “Chu” in Sei Chu Sen (literally “correct centre line”). Punching, striking, covering, blocking and kicking techniques were combined in a variety of ways to exercise both mind and body.

During this session, we reminded students of the three main principles of punching, as reiterated by Sensei Sugasawa on a previous Zoom course.

During a short break for rehydration, I gave a brief explanation on the main points to consider whilst practising Kata. Pinan Godan was then covered for the benefit of the junior grades, followed by an in-depth look at Chinto. This was broken down into sections of four to six techniques, each section being practised several times before moving on to the next. Once completed, the sections were all put together, culminating in the complete kata.

We then moved on to pair work, (including I-dori) which involved practice of the earlier principles, but without the physical presence of a partner. It was commendable to see the students learning the pairs techniques in this way.

Steve and I would like to thank Sensei and Shikukai students for supporting the Zoom sessions run by us and the other Seniors. We know it is not ideal, but at least we can all continue learning and training.

Pam Rawson

Report: Covid-19 Update.

The worldwide pandemic continues to affect all of our lives and I am sure that we are all experiencing degrees of uncertainty, which impacts significantly on our well-being and our livelihoods. Experts have mentioned how consistency and regular routines are key to maintaining a healthy level of general wellbeing. I would like to think that in some way the Shikukai community has been able to supply that consistency, albeit through circuitous routes.

In a very practical way we have been able to keep secure contact with all of our members and also bring on-board new members; something we are keen to do.

The Zoom events have proved popular and have certainly not interrupted our Instructor Course programme. The challenges involved in presenting and sharing high quality training through the medium of Zoom has actually opened up new possibilities, as the instructors rise to the test and present new and old ideas in ever more interesting and innovative ways. The most recent instructors course involved three separate presentations of training patterns, concepts and ideas delivered by the most senior Shikukai instructors, with Sugasawa Sensei joining in and adding comments when necessary. These sessions have also given Shikukai members outside of the UK chance to join in with the programme, and in a way has drawn us all closer together. All of these Zoom sessions come completely free of charge.

We have also been presenting Zoom sessions targeting kyu grades, hosted by Sensei Carol Chatterton, Tim Dixon and Richard Barham; these have proved to be very popular as each instructor has a wealth of experience behind them.

Access to these sessions can be found through the Shikukai Members and Clubs Facebook page.

In addition, many of our clubs are steadily beginning to open up and return to face-to-face training. We have all been working hard to stay within Covid-secure guidelines and have been developing different strategies and ever-more devious ways of enriching our training, despite the lack of the up-close and personal necessities of pair training and sparring. It is the creativity of the instructors and the student’s response that unwittingly has produced a wider range of possibilities, which in-turn enriches the broader experience of the complexities of Wado as a system. I genuinely believe that when we finally emerge into some form of ‘normality’ the students who have engaged with these opportunities will not feel that the lock-down and restrictions plunged their training into a period of hibernation or regressive stagnation, but instead they will feel enriched and invigorated by new layers of understanding and application.

Tim Shaw

Announcement – Tokubetsu Shoudan Promotions.

It is with great pleasure that Sugasawa Sensei would like to announce the Tokubetsu Shoudan awards for 2020. These promotion are rare and unique events within Shikukai Karate-Do International and the recipients have been honoured with promotions following the prescribed guidelines and constitutional requirements of the organisation.

7th Dan:
Stephen Chamberlain
Stephen Rawson
Pamela Rawson

6th Dan
Tim Dixon
Carol Chatterton
Richard Barham

5th Dan
Robert Wymer
Robert Selby
Stephen Greenwood

3rd Dan
Douglas Falconer
Natalie Harvey

2nd Dan
Miguel Galue
Roberto Ciuffa
Sue Dodd
Paul Taylor
Nathan Taylor

1st Dan
Patrick Kerneis

Huge congratulations to all.

Report: Shikukai Winter Course, Chelmsford, Essex.

The annual Winter Course at Chelmsford is always deservedly popular and 2020 was no exception. With students and instructors travelling from as far afield as Norway, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Hungary and England there is always a strong feeling of the Shikukai Family coming together to train, share and learn. 

Once again training took place over four days, starting on Thursday night under Shouwa Jyuku Instructor Tim Shaw 7th Dan, assisted by Steve Thain 4th Dan, and beginning with the art of moving from A to B. This lead on to triangular footwork, initially from Shuto Uke, then to the connected move in Bassai and ended with applied pairs work.

Friday night was led by Sugasawa Sensei at the usual location of Woodham Walter Junior School, the location of Chelmsford’s children’s class. The session’s focus was Seichusen, with Sensei starting the class before handing over to Tim Shaw Sensei, whilst he moved amongst the students offering guidance and correcting any errors or misconceptions. The session gradually built up, taking in Tobikomi Junzuki Jodan, before ending with Sanmi Ittai Dosa.

Friday night’s social was at Bunsay Down’s Golf Club, where the wood-burning stove was much appreciated by a number of people. After the meal was a quiz, which luckily for some of us featured a picture round, thank goodness for Pokemon and Pikachu. Congratulations to Pam Rawson Sensei 6th Dan and Steve Rawson Sensei 6th Dan and Pål Midtsæther Grødahl on winning the quiz.

Saturday dawned bright and clear (more on the weather later) and training moved to the Danbury Sports Centre. The popularity of the Winter Course became obvious with the dojo packed with students of all grades and ages – juniors through to senior instructors.

This year the Saturday training had a separate children’s class, which included students from Chelmsford (Woodham Walter), Hertford and Mark Searson’s Seishan group.

Pam Rawson Sensei began with a gentle warm-up, before Steve and Pam Rawson Senseis took the Senior Students through some basics. The session continued Sensei’s theme of Seichusen, but this time emphasising correct posture and focus on hikite movement.  Students practised individually and in pairs on a variety of drills. This enabled the students to identify the correct muscles that come into play and how these can affect the control of your centre line.

After a break Tim Shaw Sensei and Atilla Jakab Sensei 3rd Dan took the 2nd Dans and above through Bassai Kata, again concentrating on  Seichusen alongside the tempo of the Kata. The brown belts and 1st Dans worked with Gary Ockwell Sensei 5th Dan and Pam Rawson Sensei on a series of kicking drills ending in combinations that focused on relaxation. Meanwhile Carol Chatterton Sensei 5th Dan took the junior students through Pinan Shodan then Steve Rawson Sensei followed with pair work, applying principles from Pinan Shodan. Kyu gradings also took place and congratulations to those students who passed. Saturday’s training was followed by 1 hour of free practice.

Saturday night’s meal was back in Chelmsford at the Two Brewers. Again a fantastic night, with lots of catching up and a very enthusiastic game of Chinese Whispers making a return from last year!    

Sunday’s session began with Sensei presenting Adam Jakab from Hungary with his 2nd Dan Certificate. The session then started with Gary Ockwell Sensei warming us all up, before the groups split again. Steve Rawson Sensei alongside Martijn Schelen Sensei 3rd Dan, took the Senior students through kicking drills working in groups of four emphasising correct body position during the kicks. This then developed into defences against kicks with a focus on Irimi. While this was happening, the junior students were focusing on kicks and Taisabaki with Carol Chatterton Sensei and Tim Dixon Sensei 5th Dan.

After this Pam Rawson Sensei took the senior grades through the finer points of Wanshu kata whilst the 1st Dan and Brown belt students once again worked with Gary Ockwell Sensei on learning Wanshu kata with Sugasawa Sensei giving valuable insight and advice where needed. Steve and Pam Rawson Senseis then introduced some variations on Kumite Gata with the Senior Dan grades. The junior students practised Pinan Sandan and pair work with Tim Shaw Sensei and David Vlk Sensei.

All too soon the course was over. Sensei thanked all those who had attended and made special mention for the fantastic effort the members of Chelmsford’s Shouwa Jyuku club had made to make the course such a great experience for all of us. Then it was out into storm Ciara and a safe journey home for all.

Andrew Skelton
3rd Kyu