On the 28th / 29th September 2007, The Welsh Karate Collective headed by Chief Instructor Bo Channon 5th Dan, hosted the legendary Sensei Dave Hazard 7th Dan for a weekend Course.
September had already been a very busy month for us, travelling to North Wales to train with Sensei Isaka KWF 8th Dan on 8/9th, then travelling to Hemel Hempstead on the 21st/22nd to train with Sensei Hazard. Obviously, having Sensei Hazard practically on our doorstep in South Wales for this last weekend of September was a real treat, and Emma and I were very excited to train with him again this month.
Whenever Sensei travels to Wales to teach, there is a real ‘BUZZ’ surrounding the event amongst the groups in the area, and this course was no exception. This was also the first course to be held by the recently formed WKC, so there was an added sense of enthusiasm. From results at competition, attitudes of the students and eagerness from the Chief Instructor Bo Channon, WKC has quickly gained an impressive reputation as a truly passionate group dedicated to promoting quality karate. This also had an influence on the friendly atmosphere over the weekend and how welcomed we were made to feel.
The first course of the day was a kyu Session and in his excellent way, Sensei was able to take the concepts of kihon and break them down into easy to understand language that all students, even early beginners could grasp and understand. Within this session Sensei taught a very simple sequence of stepping oi-tsuki and then shifting into kokutsu-dachi blocking with age-uke. Here, using an excellent training method of using our arms, Sensei developed our ability to shift from one stance to the next as fast as possible in the healthiest way possible using the balls of the feet.
The second session of the Saturday and first session of the Sunday was dedicated to the kata Unsu. This kata is one of my favourites and no matter how many times I study it with Sensei he always manages to put a different twist on the kata and highlight different things. In execution of the kata and his brilliant interpretation of applicating it, Sensei stressed that there are no ‘secrets’ in kata as so many people tend to profess, just subtle movements that can sometimes be overlooked. An example of this comes in the sequence leading up to the first kiai. As you kiai and thrust the leg downward, the return upward of the knee is of equal potency and is quite reminiscent of the thai and Chinese systems. This is prefect as an attack to the testicles and can do serious damage.
Sensei’s application throughout the kata gave us a taste of how the kata could be applied in a classical sense, for the street or in a competition scenario. Sensei’s Kata classes always give us a real insight into the depths of his knowledge and these kata classes were no exception.
A nice point of the second kata session was where the talented Nick Hooper was asked to demonstrate the jump. Nick Hooper from a very young age earned himself a well-deserved reputation as an excellent young athlete so it was very exciting to see how Sensei could develop his jump further. Sensei said that people often look down as they land from the jump and this can cause you to stumble and it naturally alters the body on landing. Sensei asked Nick to keep his eyeline at a fixed position, and the results were evident.
The final class of the weekend was the kumite session where we worked on a sequence starting with the footwork of coiling the body by bringing the rear leg underneath the hips to then propel the body forward. Then we added the arms.
Sensei had us (left leg in front):
- Half step forward kizami-tsuki
- Half step forward gyaku-tsuki
- Bring rear leg underneath as you would if you were half stepping, but then dash to the left taking the left leg back to then thrust forward.
Then Sensei had us:
- Half Step backward
- Half Step backward
- Bring the front foot up as you would for a half step backward, but this time step back inward with a kizami-tsuki
- Full step back
Then Sensei put both footwork sequences together with a partner to build up a brilliant rhythm.
This sequence was then followed with a little line work. With one man at the front with his back to the wall only enabled to block, the line of opponents had to add pressure and drive them to the wall with the attacks, not easy when you have the likes of Paul Watson and Paul Herbert coming at you. Opponents could attack with the techniques practiced in the above sequence, which we then replaced with kicks. This was excellent!!!
The session then concluded with some close proximity sequences, which left us, all feeling exhausted yet exhilarated.
This was a brilliant weekend. Sensei was on top form, there was a real enthusiasm in the classes and there was a great atmosphere. What more can you ask for?
Many thanks to the Welsh Karate Collective for photographs.
For further information and the rest of the course photographs, please visit www.welshkaratecollective.com