Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I hope you have enjoyed a couple of weeks rest. We kick off again on Monday 5 January. I look forward to seeing you there!

Important dates in 2015

Date Time Event
January 5 6pm (kids), 7pm (adults) First class of year
January 10 12 noon Kagami biraki – kakizome
January 21 6pm (kids will start first) Grading
January 31 12:40pm Karate-bu first class of year
February 28 TBC Kudo seminar
March 1 TBC Kudo grading
April 25 – 26 All day Gasshuku training camp (TBC)
April 18 – 21 All day Easter holiday
May 17 All day Adelaide Sport and Fitness Expo – Kudo competition (TBC)
July 4 10am Grading (TBC)


Umehara sensei will host kakizome from noon on Saturday 10 January. Kakizome literally means ‘first writing’ and is an opportunity for you to brush a Japanese character or word that symbolises your theme for 2015. Please give some thought to what theme you might like to choose and Umehara sensei and I will help translate them. Junior students are very welcome to attend the dojo for this ceremony, we might go out for some lunch afterwards.

Iphone 002

In the past I have used:

2012 – 初心shoshin – beginner’s mind. Back to basics, to remember what it is like for students starting a martial art.

2013 – 養うyashinau – cultivate. To cultivate great martial artists.

2014 – 進むsusumu – progress. To develop all aspects of Sobukan dojo and our members.

For 2015 I have selected koujou, literally to ‘face or move up’, or to improve oneself.



IMG_5279The first grading test of the year will be on Wednesday 21 January. Juniors will start from 6pm, but please be early in order to pay the $25 test fee in advance, and to get in some last minute practice. This should be a smaller grading, so we should wrap up more quickly than usual. If you are unsure of any of your grading requirements, please ask in the first lessons of the year.

There will be no regular classes on the night of the grading, but everyone is welcome to come and self-train. Partners will also be required, so advanced students can certainly assist, and beginner students should see this as an opportunity to familiarise themselves with grading test procedures. Photographers are also required!

Kudo seminar and grading

10559790_778074565587966_5346830917393985585_nPaul Cale, head of Kudo Australia and holder of black belts in Kudo / Daidojuku, Judo, 7th dan Kyokushin karate, 7th dan Aikido and a brown belt in BJJ also heads the combat sports program (judo and boxing) for the AIS Olympic teams. He is a former special forces sergeant who trains US and Australian military units. You don’t want to miss training with him!

Saturday 28 February – Kudo / Daidojuku seminar

Sunday 1 March – Kudo / Daidojuku grading


Training camp

images-8I am planning to hold a gasshuku training camp for all members, children, adults and families, at Aldinga Beach Holiday Park. We would start Saturday morning and stay until Sunday afternoon with training sessions throughout the days. We would hold multiple sessions throughout the day in kata, kumite, tegumi, jujutsu etc and also request Kensei to teach Iaijutsu (sword art) and ask Umehara sensei and Takumi to teach various aspects of Japanese culture, such as Japanese calligraphy, dance, games, language etc. Paul Tsiavlis (Marko and Christopher’s father) has offered to teach Amok knife fighting. There would also be beach, pool, and play time. There has been some interest in watching the Miyamoto Musashi movie, perhaps we could do that on the Saturday night. The camp would likely cost in the vicinity of $75 – 100 for the weekend per participant (might be able to find family discounts), depending on numbers and activities.

Are you interested?

Below is a draft schedule for the gasshuku.

Time Saturday   Sunday
7 Newaza (ground techniques)
8 Breakfast
9 Meet and greet Kata (bassai dai)
10 Tegumi and keriwaza (striking) Quadrant (striking defence)
11 Newaza (ground techniques) Kansetsu waza (locking techniques)
12 Lunch and cultural activities (Japanese lesson, calligraphy?) Lunch and cultural activities (Japanese lesson, calligraphy?)
2 Kudo combinations and counters Iaijutsu (swords)
3 Amok (knife fighting) Shimewaza (chokes)
4 Nagewaza (throws) Jujutsu (traditional Japanese)
5 Kata (Heian kata) Kata (naifanchin)
6 Jujutsu (traditional Japanese)
Late Bonfire and BBQ, bon-odori, flute

T-shirts for summer

Summer is here! Feel free to wear Sobukan t-shirts to training when it is too hot to wear a dogi, or when we have beach or outdoor training sessions.

Men:                       http://www.cafepress.com/sobukan.1265187466

Women:                 http://www.cafepress.com/sobukan.1265187460

Children:               http://www.cafepress.com/sobukan.1265187454


Kotowaza – New Year’s greetings

In the lead up to, and including new years day, greet people with ‘yoi otoshi o omukae kudasai’. This can be shortened to yoi otoshi o for close friends.


Once the new year has begun, greet people with ‘akemashite omedetou gozaimasu’. This is also often shortened to akemashite omedetou or even to ake-ome!


Technical lesson – goal setting

A valuable lesson I have learned as a result of martial arts training is how to set and achieve goals. I believe the belt system is a great way to break a big goal into smaller, progressive parts. In addition to the dojo, I have applied this lesson successfully to language acquisition, university studies and work.

One of the most accepted goal-setting mnemonics is SMART. When considering your goal, ensure that it is:






For example: ‘I will obtain my black belt at Sobukan by 31 December 2018’ fulfils the SMART criteria, whereas simply stating ‘I will get a black belt’ does not, as it is not specific enough, nor time-bound. Once you have decided upon your goal, consider using the GROW model to help you achieve it.

Goal                         Where do you want to be? Decide your goal according the abovementioned SMART criteria.

Reality                         Where are you? Consider your present situation, barriers, challenges and your strengths. You might wish to use the SWOT mnemonic (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats).

Options                 How can you achieve your goal? Brainstorm options.

Way forward             Lets do it! Choose from your options, plan your success and implement it! Break your long-term goal into short and medium-term goals and calculate what you need to do to achieve them. Make allowances for setbacks (injury, illness, large bills, etc). Tell supportive people about your goal and implementation plan to build accountability. It is easy to fall behind if you only answer to yourself.

So back to our example: If your goal is to achieve a Sobukan black belt by December 2018, and you are currently an orange belt, you may plan to achieve your green belt by June 2015, your blue belt by June 2016, your brown belt by June 2017 and your black belt by December 2018. This timeframe is realistic and allows enough time for minor setbacks, but you will need to work out what to do on a daily and weekly basis. You may plan to attend 3 classes per week, practice kata and watch the syllabus videos on days off, and read one martial art book per month or search youtube once a week for martial art techniques. Purchasing KU DVDs and attending at least one martial art seminar per year is highly recommended. You may wish to compete in Kudo, Karate, Judo, BJJ or MMA as part of your preparation. You will need to schedule by when you need to learn each drill, and be proactive in asking for assistance in learning them.

Your goal need not be a belt colour or a competition result or even related to martial arts at all. However, without concrete goals people tend to achieve less. Proper goal setting can help you achieve financial, professional, academic, health, family, creative and/or social goals and improve your life. Fail to plan, and you plan to fail!

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