I was anticipating a modest start, but in the lead up to the SOBUKAN opening, it seemed like very few of the student candidates were going to make it for the night – apologies for business trips, illness and appointments kept rolling in. I was wondering if I was going to be conducting some solo kata drills for the first session, and wishing I had done some letterbox drops in order to spark interest in the new dojo. However, in the end we had a very respectable 10 bodies on the mats. I think this is a very solid start, and look forward to this growing in the coming weeks, months, years.
After a quick meet and greet, and a chat about the SOBUKAN motto –
healthier, happier, safer –
and my personal approach to martial arts training: to ‘eliminate weakness, develop strength and balance’. I will discuss these further in future blogs.
We warmed up with tegumi drills (see DVD#1 http://www.koryu-uchinadi.com), two-person counter drills that promote muscle memory and instantaneous recognition of hand attacks. We practiced ukemi waza (breakfalling) and touched upon a combination of judo throws. Next was ne waza (grappling) and students drilled a position transition drill to escape from underneath an attacker to get on top in the same dominant position. I then demonstrated some Hakkoryu Jujutsu (www.hakkoryu.com) to show students the technical sophistication they may expect as they progress.
Then we got physical!! We started off with a game of ‘tap’, a game I use to teach 360 degree environmental awareness. We separated into groups of three and tried to tap the backs and knees of our partners, while protecting our own. Then it was time for ‘tap – battle royale’ – a free for all game testing students’ abilities to protect their backs in a brawl.
Four minutes. That is all we spent on fitness training. One minute each of push-ups, crunches, sumo squats and burpees with 10 seconds break in between. That was enough to challenge even the fittest in the dojo.
Mokuso (quiet reflection) is a chance for students to review the lesson. We trained our brains, visualising a violent attack scenario, and trying to win. This is an important, yet often overlooked aspect of martial art training.
SOBUKAN’s first grading!! How does someone grade on the first night of training?!
Shane Webster has been taking private lessons with me twice a week since April. After the class Shane received his yellow belt, the first coloured belt of five before black belt. Generally it is expected 6 – 12 months will be required to grade. Shane has drawn on previous martial art experience, and impressed me with his progress and enthusiasm. Congratulations Shane!!
Thank you very much to visiting karate instructors Shawn Donaldson (www.ku-sa.com), Roger Catchlove (bushidomartialarts.com.au), Julie Tynan (GKR) and Judo master Michael Headland (www.aujudo.com). Your support means a lot to me.
Now for the junior class – starting tomorrow, Thursday 29th September 2011… if the fun my son had yesterday is anything to judge by, we are going to have a great time!!