3-Day Shotokan Gasshuku 2006 – Rouen, France
Report by Terry Dunn
A special 3-day training camp held at the beautiful Herqueville Manor in Rouen, France saw students from such associations as the ASK, KUGB, ISK and JKAE make the 500km round trip across the English channel to train with special guest instructor Paul Herbert and course host Jeremy Gardner. The course comprised of eleven hard training sessions but also some great partying and lots of fun.
Despite arriving at Herqueville Manor around 5am on the Saturday morning, Paul Sensei commenced the weekends training at 7am with the first of three early morning classes entitled ‘Fundamentals & Fitness’. These sessions all started with a run around the country lanes of Rouen and the grounds of the manor. After these runs and following callisthenics, Paul Sensei took the enthusiastic students through 40-minutes of basic techniques, various kata and a selection of 5, 3 and 1 step kumite. The final 10 minutes of these sessions comprised of sprints, shuttle runs, races and a good warm down before heading back into the house for a well earned breakfast.
The second session on Saturday took place at 11am and saw the two instructors split the class down into two sections with Paul Sensei taking the Brown & Black Belts through the Kanku-Dai whilst Jeremy Sensei took the Kyu grades through the Heian Kata. The third and final class of the morning saw all the grades come together again for a lively pad-work and impact training session overseen by Jeremy Sensei.
The afternoon sessions kicked off at 3.30pm with Paul Sensei again taking the senior grades, this time through a ‘Functional Fundamentals’ session where he took a basic ‘Shotokan’ punch/block combination and evolved it for street application. The same was also done with a basic kicking sequence. Whilst this was going on, Jeremy Sensei took the Kyu grades through a selection of techniques and concepts that could be used during 1-step sparring. The fifth and final session on Saturday saw Paul Sensei take all the students through some competition kumite drills with emphasis placed on timing, footwork and movement.
After a great evening of BBQ, a Karate DVD show, brilliant Karaoke and well deserved sleep, Sunday saw the two instructors swap classes with Jeremy Sensei taking the senior grades and Paul Sensei working with the Kyu grades. For the seventh class of the weekend, Jeremy Sensei worked on kumite kicking techniques with the brown and black belts whilst Paul Sensei broke down kokutsu-dachi and Heian Nidan with the lower grades. Just like the Saturday, the two classes combined for session eight - a grappling and groundwork class that was followed by a competition for the adults in which both instructors competed. Paul Sensei took the honours in a lively and bloody, but fun - rough and tumble event. Great support was given, and great fun was had by the watching junior students.
After some lunch and a few hours spent enjoying Rouen, it was time to drag our now very weary bodies to the afternoon sessions. Jeremy Sensei spent the first session with the senior grades working on defence against kicks with some take-down techniques. For the Kyu grades it was a break-down of the four basic kicking techniques with Paul Sensei and emphasis on applying them effectively against an opponent. The final class of Sunday (Class 10) saw the two groups come together for another session of line-up, impact and pad work. Students were shown how to apply a selection of basic and advanced strikes to moving targets with maximum power. On the Sunday evening after a lovely final meal, Paul Sensei and his students from Dartford SKC presented Jeremy Sensei with a signed copy of Dave Hazard/Aidan Trimble’s book ‘Fundamental Karate’.
And so the eleventh and last session of the weekend saw a depleted number of students (Sunday was a very good night) drag themselves from their beds for one last 7am class with Paul Sensei and I think those who trained were made to suffer on behalf of those who chose to stay in bed. We will have our revenge next year!!
All in all it was a fantastic weekend and now an even bigger and better course with the addition of another guest instructor is being planned for 2007. Keep an eye on www.dartfordskc.co.uk , www.shotopromotions.co.uk and www.herqueville.com for further details.
Jeremy Gardner: Jeremy has been involved in martial arts since 1974 aged 15, having sneaked in underage to watch “Enter the Dragon” at the local cinema. After joining the “Sunderland Academy of Martial Arts” and “Sunderland Sendai”, Jeremy graded shodan in Shotokan in 1978 while at Leeds University. Training under Bob Rhodes he passed nidan in 1981. After leaving college the next five years were spent in Singapore where he took up Goju Ryu at the Singapore MYMCA. During this time, Jeremy married Soon Mui, whom he had met a while back at Leeds University, Soon Mui was awarded shodan in Shotokan in 1981 and was the 1981 Northern Universities Ladies Kata champion. After grading to shodan in Goju in 1986, Jeremy won the Singapore Goju championship and represented Singapore internationally. Returning to the UK Jeremy trained at Shotokan clubs in Montrose and Orpington, and then spent about 5 years with the Croydon Ren-Bu-Kan Wado Ryu dojo in South Norwood, grading to nidan in 1996. Returning once again to Shotokan he now trains with his twin teenage sons, Jeremy and Marcus, who both achieved JKA shodan’s in 2005.