Following the traditional junbi undo warm up, Sensei George took us through a rigorous session of kihon training. Our practice of basic techniques began with closed hands and as the day progressed we worked on various open hand strikes and blocks. We frequently trained with a partner, which eventually led to practice of San Dan Gi, a form of pre-arranged three-step sparring. We moved onto keri waza (kicking techniques), putting together a variety of combinations, before finishing the day with pad work. The training was so involved, we all lost track of time and suddenly it was three o’clock and time to finish for the day.
On Sunday we were joined by a group of Shotokan karate-ka from Wales. The theme for our second day of training was self defence. We built up a range of defence and counter routines for three levels of the body. We then put our skills to the test by defending ourselves from 4 attackers in quick succession. Kata practice was next on the agenda, an important part of any gasshuku and very appropriate on a day based on self defence. The day was completed with practice of tai sabaki (body shifting) and kakie (sticky hands).
The weekend finished with smiles on everyone’s faces and a round of applause as Sensei George was presented with a framed picture of Tom Spring, a famous 19th century bare-knuckle fighter from Herefordshire, who rose to become Champion of All England.
Our thanks go to Sensei Tony for organising the gasshuku and to Sensei George for his eight hours of instruction and insight. Arigato gozaimasu.