February is the month in which the club celebrates it's anniversary, the ideal excuse to invite Sensei George Andrews, the OTGKA Chief Instructor, to Cambridge. As the club has recently expanded to include a children's class on Saturday mornings with Sensei Fabio, we added an extra hour of training to give the young members of the club the same opportunity as the adults.
Since 2014 we have marked the end of the year by practising kata 108 times. The first year we worked on Gekisai Dai Ichi and last year we performed Saifa. This year we broke the challenge down to three sets of 36, Gekisai Dai Ichi, Saifa and then depending on experience, either moving onto Seiyunchin or repeating Gekisai Dai Ichi.
In Buddhism, Hinduism and other religions, the number 108 is considered sacred. In the context of Goju Ryu, the name of the advanced kata Suparinpei refers to 108 steps. According to Wikipedia, "At midnight on December 31, Buddhist temples all over Japan ring their bells a total of 108 times (除夜の鐘 joyanokane) to symbolize the 108 human sins in Buddhist belief, and to get rid of the 108 worldly desires regarding sense and feeling in every Japanese citizen."
Classes start again for adults on Thursday 5th and for children on Saturday 7th January.
We held the last grading of the year this evening and with ten students stepping up to the challenge it was one of our busiest gradings. Everyone was successful with almost every belt from yellow (9th kyu) to purple/white (4th kyu) being awarded. Many congratulations to all.
A weekend of training in Brussels has become a permanent fixture of our karate year. Following the success of last year's gasshuku we were privileged to train again under both Masuyama Sensei, 8th Dan and Kuramoto Sensei, 7th Dan. Over the course of over 12 hours we had the time to refine our basic techniques and in doing so, develop our kata. We trained briefly with both instructors in Okinawa at the Budosai, but the relatively short sessions are only a taster of what these instructors can offer. A group of seven karate-ka from Cambridge attended this year, accompanied by Sensei Dave Amber.
Many thanks once again to Masuyama Sensei, Kuramoto Sensei and our hosts from Belgium, Sensei Marc, Els and Sensei Patrick Curinckx.
Black belt gradings under the IOGKF can only be held by the chief instructor of the country, or at a major gasshuku under the IOGKF grading panel. Our chief instructor, Sensei George Andrews, 8th dan, holds a grading weekend twice every year, in March and September. The grading itself is held on Sunday afternoon, but training all day Saturday and Sunday morning is compulsory. This September, two of our students stepped up to be tested by Sensei.
Many congratulations to Steve Morrell, successfully passing to Nidan (2nd dan black belt) and to Gary Potter for achieving 1st kyu (brown belt), in preparation for his next grade of Shodan (first level black belt).
We rounded off a busy Summer giving another performance at the Cherry Hinton festival. Only a few people were free this year to assist, but the demo was well received, especially the san dan gi section!
The IOGKF holds a week long martial arts festival, or budosai, in Okinawa every four years. This years event was not only the largest event the IOGKF has run, but it had more participants than any martial arts event held in Okinawa by any organisation.
After our first visit in 2012, we returned to Okinawa joined by Fabio and Holly from the Cambridge dojo, and our good friends and instructors Sensei Dave Amber and Sensei Dick Lovett (and his partner Frances). We were of course also joined by our chief instructor, Sensei George Andrews, one of the impressive line up of senior instructors that would share their knowledge with us over the week.
The training was exceptional, with guidance and teaching from all of the IOGKF senior instructors, and we're looking forward to sharing our experiences with you. Time spent away from the dojo was also special and it was great visiting new places and re-visiting the landmarks with friends that hadn't been before. The week started with a day trip which included a visit to the Churaumi aquarium. Over the next few days we managed to visit Shuri castle, Fukushu-en gardens and the nearby Chojun Miyagi memorial. The training event was held in the impressive Okinawa Budokan, but we also visited two traditional dojos. Firstly, the honbu dojo, Higaonna Karate Dojo, which seemed even hotter inside than out. We also visited the dojo of Hokama Sensei and his karate museum which was a privilege to see.
The Saturday morning children's classes will be taking a short break for the Summer. The last class will be Saturday 16th July and Sensei Fabio will return on Saturday 3rd September.
On Thursday 9th June the club gathered together with a few friends for a fundraising event in aid of the Pink Ribbon Foundation, which helps support people who are suffering from, or who have been affected by breast cancer. We were joined by Sensei Dick Lovett, 5th Dan, who led us through a sequence of punches, elbow strikes and kicks, totalling a thousand strikes performed by each person. Regardless of age (from 16 to 73) or grade (beginner to experienced black belt), everyone put in an equally impressive effort, and in keeping with the charity, we all wore special pink belts.
The hard work was generously rewarded by many sponsors who helped us to raise OVER £2,000.
More photos and write up by Florence Snead, Cambridge News
Cambridge Goju Ryu has now been running for six years and tonight we celebrated with a grading. By coincidence it was also our busiest ever class (excluding the charity self defence events) with 18 students training hard. Louise and I were pleased to award 9th kyu (yellow belt) to a couple of our newer members, Rachel and Hannah and 8th kyu (orange belt) to Adrian. We were also very proud to award 3rd kyu (brown belt) to Deirdre and Lewis.
Sensei Martin and Louise regularly train under our chief instructor, Sensei George Andrews, at the OTGKA honbu dojo in London. Over the weekend of 5th/6th December they were joined by a few students, Catherine, Paul, Steve and Fabio pictured below on Sunday and also Ioannis, Holly and Josh on Saturday.