Yet again host Martijn Schelen of the Kenkokai Dojo Eemnes in the Netherlands executed a flawless piece of organisational magic for our planned three-day training weekend.
It is always a huge pleasure and privilege for me to be invited to teach in the Netherlands, for so many reasons, not least that the level of enthusiasm and openness is second to none.
This time Martijn was making adjustments to the scheduling to try and get the best out of the available time. For example; on the Saturday training it was planned to create two workshops during the day, with a break in between. From my perspective this seemed to go really well and enabled me to package the training into focussed themes. I always spend a long time in my planning and try to pitch it at all levels so that nobody feels that they are out of their depth.
I had worked my themes out well in advance, with the intention that everyone would come away with something they could really work on to elevate their understanding and crucially their physical and technical skills.
Across the weekend we really worked hard to polish the solo kata, linked to solid kihon, something that Sugasawa Sensei is very insistent on; because without solid foundations nothing meaningful can be built. Repeat, repeat and repeat again, cycling round the featured kata.
We also explored a very focussed selection of paired kata. The chosen pairs followed themes built within the kihon training and time and time again I tried to bring it back to core Wado principles. My intention was to help the students and instructors to appreciate the covert relationships between the various aspects of their training and how these same aspects support and feed off each other.
During the weekend I had the chance to work with some very experienced old-hands who had joined us for the first time, and to welcome them into the Shikukai family, a joy, and an honour for me. Again, credit to Martijn for making this happen.
Seniors in Saturday training.
Inevitably, Saturday night was an evening for catching up over food and drink, and the conversations were not all about karate. Very civilised and convivial.
I have to say that Kenkokai is not a one-man-band. Martijn is very lucky to have a solid support team to ensure that the wheels are oiled and everything runs smooth (a particular shout-out to Astrid de Vries on that one).
Because the training was a balancing act between solid hard work and granular examination of technique and principle, my intention is to write some support notes for those who attended. This post will also be written in a way that may be of interest and value to general Wado practitioners. This may well appear as an additional (free) post on my ongoing Substack project. To see it, opt for the free subscription to www.budojourneyman.substack.com
Keep an eye open for that.
Conversations have already been had for my next visit, probably October November this year.
Remember, these courses are open to all Wado students.