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Paul Herbert 5th Dan
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ASK Canada 2009 Sensei Hazard Seminar

2009 Black and Brown Belt Class 

Friday May 8th saw the start of the 2009 ASK Canada Sensei Hazard seminars with a class for all grades. Sensei Hazard started by taking the class through the fundamentals of moving in a front stance.  Sensei then broke the basic movement down into its component parts emphasising how these components worked together. Speed and power is generated by combining these components in a way that is natural for the body.  The longer stances of Shotokan karate are sometimes criticized as being impractical. However when they are taught in this manner by a sensei who has analysed and subsequently trained using these principles, the true effectiveness is clearly seen.

Sensei then went on to cover blocking when moving backwards and introduced the feeling of “going to ground” a feeing similar to executing a back kick when preparing to counter attack after blocking.  Sensei demonstrated how the hand that is used to prepare for blocking is itself a block or cover if required. This little taught aspect of blocking adds a great deal to the practical application of basic blocks and should be studied in depth by senior grades looking to increase their understanding of the fundamental nature of Shotokan karate.

A great start to what promised to be an excellent weekend of training.

Saturday’s classes started with a class for all grades which was built around the use of kicking as a counter attack.  After practicing the basic kicking techniques and stance work we then moved on to applying these in pair work. All defences were practiced against a mae geri attack.

The kicking defence was designed to work at two levels. First being the use of the four basic kicks (mae, mawashi, kekomi and ushiro). The second was at what point in the attack the defender reacts to the attack. This was broken down into very early, early, late and very late.

The class concluded with a review of the Heian kata.

Saturday’s second class was advanced kata for black and brown belts. The kata studied was Gojushiho Dai. This kata contains many effective techniques not seen in other kata. After working through the kata sequence Sensei took us through the application of the sequence of techniques that charaterise this kata. The application of ippon nukite in cat stance. The application involved blocking, using the stance to trap the attacker before unbalancing him and striking using ippon nukite.

A point of clarification covered by Sensei was the use of tettsui when stepping away. While often interpreted as a tettsui strike it is almost impossible to apply it effectively. However when used as a release from a grab it immediately sets up the next technique which is a devastating oi zuki.

Sunday’s classes started with the all grades class. In this class Sensei Hazard allowed the students to construct the class.  Students were invited to ask questions about techniques they were either having problems with or wished to learn. Sensei led the class through the techniques using the students to explain how the techniques needed to be broken down in order to perform a correct and effective technique. Regardless of the technique everyone gained insight into how to improve their karate.

The final class of the weekend was the black and brown belt class. In the first half of the class Sensei Hazard posed the question why is kake wake uke (reverse wedge block) found in so many kata and why did the founders think this was such an important technique. Sensei then led us through some of the basics of the technique, the use of stance and movement to control the attackers head when applying the block. Sensei showed us how subtle difference in the application of this technique came about by the use of differing stances and movements in the different kata.  We then went on to apply the techniques from Jion, Jiin and Gojushiho in the form of covering, blocking and choking. Unfortunately there wasn’t time to cover all of the variations. Undoubtedly there are many more hours of study to be found in this one very practical technique.

The second part of the class was a review of the kata Nijushiho. Sensei Hazard clarified some of the subtle points of this kata. One of many insights I personally gained from this class was the application of the double punch after grasping the kicking leg of an attacked. Rather than struggle to align the two punched in a vertical manner simply apply the punches against the groin and hip joint. A more natural and highly effective use of these punches.

During the weekend Sensei Hazard conducted a grading for ASK Canada members.  Congratulation to Holt Mearns (Nidan) and Lucy Engelman (Shodan) from the Ippon Dojo on successfully passing their Gradings

ASK Canada would like to thank Sensei Hazard for yet another great weekend of training, insights and inspiration.  Thanks to everyone who supported this weekend and made it successful.

For more information on Academy of Shotokan Karate Canada or the 2010 annual seminar please contact Andy Marsh at marshfamily@shaw .ca or +1 403 251 6717

Andy Marsh

5th Dan Senior Instructor ASK Canada