Sobukan is back!
Thank you for your patience while I have been training in Japan over the past five weeks. The first classes are on Saturday May 3rd and I am fired up to share some of my experiences with you! Each week I trained at Daidojuku So-honbu (Kudo HQ) on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and at Hakko-ryu Jujutsu So-honbu (Jujutsu HQ) on Thursday, Saturday and Sundays. I also went and mixed it up with the young MMA fighters at Purebred Omiya (my old MMA/BJJ club) and trained in traditional Okinawan Goju Karate at Mushinkan Tokyo with Karate historian and all round good guy Joe Swift sensei. Daidojuku/Kudo is the strongest hard fighting style I have encountered, and Hakko-ryu Jujutsu is the ultimate in soft, intellectual technique that I have experienced. This trip has renewed my faith in the importance of balance of hard and soft – the yin and yang of the Sobukan logo.
One thing this trip has reminded me of is the importance of training basic techniques and conditioning. Practice makes permanent! In order to keep classes fun, I have tried to avoid too much repetition in the past, especially with adult classes. However, all four of these famous dojos focus on perfecting basic technique in each lesson, and our classes will follow suit. I will introduce a technical routine to our classes that will cover the most important movements in the first 10-15 minutes of each class.
As mentioned previously, I have been planning to have two classes per week each for kata, kumite and jujutsu and kids classes. I will look at the possibility of starting karate-bu classes a little later, so that we can have a new kumite class between jujutsu and karate-bu on Saturdays. The dojo will not be available for us on Friday nights as hoped.
Congratulations to Raghu on Kudo grading!
Over the Easter break, Raghu travelled to the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra to train with Jukucho and other Kudo luminaries. Raghu fought for, and was awarded 8th kyu in Kudo, making him the first person in SA to be graded in this comprehensive fighting method. Incidentally, I am the second person to be graded in Kudo. This martial art includes strong strikes from Kyokushin karate and Muay Thai, throws and takedowns from Judo and Wrestling, and grappling from Judo and BJJ. Kudo is one of the only combat sports to include headbutts and elbows, plus strikes on the ground. A full-face mask protects fighters against injury and the use of the dogi better prepares practitioners to protect themselves against violent confrontation on the street. It also allows a far greater range of techniques and combinations than regular MMA. Kudo is taught using a combination of ancient and modern training methods and is underpinned by traditional values and etiquette. As previously mentioned, I focused on learning as much about Kudo as possible while in Japan and will work towards the expansion of this system in SA, including hosting tournaments. Congratulations in your new grade Raghu, you have made us proud yet again!
Sports and Fitness Expo demonstration
Sobukan will demonstrate martial arts on the main stage at the inaugural Adelaide Sports and Fitness Expo at Wayville showgrounds on Sunday 18th of May. This will be a huge event, and I hope to have the support of all available Sobukan and Karate-bu members. Could everyone please advise me of their availability by Sunday 11th of May for planning purposes? Thank you!
The demonstration will include several elements of our curriculum including:
• Kids karate
• Pad training
• Knife defence
• Ground fighting
• Multiple attacker skit
• Hakkoryu jujutsu demonstration by Umehara san (if available)
• Wheelchair jujutsu demonstration by Matt Shilcock (if available)
• Kumite demonstration by Sei and I
More information about this event is available at:
IBF Training Day
This is a great opportunity to train with a range of instructors in various martial arts, and build your network of friendly like-minded people – and its all for a great cause! As usual, I will be one of the instructors on the day. Recommended for ages 12 and older.
Marion Leisure Centre, Oaklands Rd, Morphettville
25 May, 9:30am – 1:30pm
$30 entry fee donated to Beyondblue
十年一剣を磨く — Juunen ikken o migaku – lit. Polish one sword for 10 years.
This kotowaza advises martial artists to prepare for the worst by sticking to the basics. A secondary meaning is to wait patiently for an opportunity for revenge. Lets focus on the former meaning!
Technical lesson 技の紹介
Ashi sabaki – footwork.
Before learning how to move, it is important to learn how to stand. The easiest way to make a natural fighting stance (kumite dachi, or moto dachi) is to casually walk a few steps. Stop after placing one foot on the floor in front of the other. This should be a comfortable length. Now ensure that your feet are hips width wide, and bend your knees slightly. Transfer your weight onto the balls of your feet, as if preparing for another step, but maintain vertical balance, with just the feeling of slightly leaning forward. In a one-on-one sporting confrontation you can lean further forward, but for self-defence, keep your balance more neutral so that you can be agile and dynamic, reacting to surprise threats from multiple attackers.
There are five basic types of foot movement:
1. Okuri ashi: lit. ‘sending feet’, but better explained as sliding. The safest and most common form of movement. The foot in the intended direction moves first, projected by the far foot. For example if moving forward, push off the rear foot and slide the front foot forward, then quickly drag the rear foot back to a comfortable fighting stance.
2. Ayumi ashi: lit. ‘walking feet’, stepping forward with one foot after the other. This footwork is risky, but is used for a fast attack or retreat – in the form of rushing or running.
3. Tsugi ashi: harder to translate, but close to ‘following feet’, ‘continuing feet’ or ‘next feet’. Bring the rear foot up to the front foot, then advance the front foot. Used in weapon arts in particular, but is a valid way of setting up a finishing strike, such as a right cross, when you have an opportunity.
4. Hiraki ashi: lit. ‘opening feet’, this refers to sideways movement. As in okuri ashi, move the foot in the intended direction first, then quickly pull the remaining foot back into a neutral fighting stance.
5. Suri ashi: lit. ‘sliding feet’. This is a principle to be employed with all footwork methods mentioned. Do not raise your feet too far off the ground. Try to maintain light contact with the floor with both feet as moving. This allows rapid changes in direction without exposing vulnerable balance flaws.