February news

Important dates in 2015

Date Time Event
February 7 12:40pm Karate-bu first class of year – unfortunately delayed by one week due to hall availability
February 28 TBC Kudo seminar
March 1 TBC Kudo grading
April 25 – 26 All day Gasshuku training camp (TBC)
May 3 All day IBF Training Day
May 17 All day Adelaide Sport and Fitness Expo – Kudo competition (TBC)
July 4 10am Grading (TBC)



DSC_0547Thank you very much to Umehara sensei for conducting a kakizome calligraphy session at Sobukan on January 10. Under Umehara sensei’s patient guidance, a number of members were able to skilfully brush beautiful characters to illustrate a personal theme for 2015. Some included ‘improvement’, ‘learning’, ‘challenge’, ‘discipline’, ‘motivation’, ‘choosing path’, ‘kumite’ and ‘Kudo’, etc.


I thought this was going to be a small grading. We had 20 members testing for their next grades! Many passed their grading test outright, and a few will complete their grading shortly. All have demonstrated great commitment to their training and development, and have opened doors to their next stage of learning. Well done everyone, I am very proud of you all for your effort in preparation and courage to stand in front of the group and demonstrate your skills.

Kudo seminar and grading with Paul Cale
Saturday 28 February – Kudo / Daidojuku seminar
Sunday 1 March – Kudo / Daidojuku grading

10559790_778074565587966_5346830917393985585_nWho is Paul Cale sensei?

1) Kudo Daido Juku Branch Chief (Shibucho) for Australia.

  • Appointed Shibucho by Jukucho Azuma Takashi 9th Dan, the founder of Kudo.
  • First ever Australian Kudo Black Belt and graded in Japan by the founder.

2) International Kyokushin Budokaikan Branch Chief (Shibucho) for Australia

  • Appointed Shibucho by Kaicho Jon Bluming 10th Dan, the founder of the IBK
  • Graded to Shihan in Kyokushin Budokaikan by the founder

3) Yoshinkan Aikido Branch Chief under the International Yoshinkai Aikido Federation

  • Bestowed with the dojo name Renshinkan by Soke Gozo Shioda 10th Dan, the founder of Aikido Yoshinkan

4) Additional Black Belts held in:

  • Tomiki Aikido
  • Kodokan Judo
  • WTF Taekwondo

5) Graded to Brown Belt in BJJ by 6 time world champion Prof Robert Drysdale

  • Graded to 4th level Brown Belt by Prof Richard Norton 4th Degree Jean Jacques Machado Black Belt

6) Founder of Kinetic Fighting Integrated Combat

  • A Commando and veteran of multiple combat tours with Australian Special Forces
  • Rewrote SF Close Quarter Fighting Course
  • Creator of the Infantry Integrated Combat (IIC) Course and the Special Forces Integrated Combat (SFIC) Course
  • Creator of Extreme Close Shooting (ECS) techniques


IMG_6287Yagai geiko

Recently a small group of Sobukan members interested in entering Kudo/BJJ/Karate/MMA competition have been meeting on Sunday mornings for conditioning training. This high-intensity training will test you, and we have enjoyed some lovely outdoor weather! We have been meeting at Goodwood Oval, but future sessions may be held anywhere: the beach, the military obstacle course, etc. If you are interested, please let me know.

This is what we did this week:

  • Slow jog followed by stretches
  • 400m sprints x 2
  • 1 x min rounds of push ups, sumo squats, crunches, burpees
  • 5 x 3min rounds on Thai pads
  • More running
  • 20 x pike chin ups
  • Impact conditioning training – kicking and punching each other for 10 mins
  • Pummelling, hip throws, arm drags
  • Sprints pushing the car – approximately 500m
  • Light jog
  • 6 rounds of light sparring


Training camp

I 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

sobukan_yin_yang_performance_dry_tshirtT-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 – Fall down seven times, get up 8


Nana korobi ya oki

I believe this was the very first kotowaza that I introduced a couple of years ago. It is one of my favourite Japanese sayings, and a timely reminder. Last month I wrote about goal setting. Setting, planning and executing goals is very important, but in order to succeed in your pursuit of challenging goals, resilience is essential. You must overcome adversity, and the best way to do so is to learn from setbacks and continue towards the goal. Easy wins do not make you stronger. When challenging yourself, you never lose. You either win or you learn. As Alfred said to Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins: ‘Why do we fall, sir? So that we can learn to pick ourselves up.’

Technical lesson – konohagaeshi/kotegaeshi

Incorrect hand position

Incorrect hand position

Correct hand position

Correct hand position

One of the most common ‘wrist locks’ is not actually a wrist lock!

Konohagaeshi (in Hakkoryu Jujutsu) or Kotegaeshi (in Aikido and many other jujutsu systems) turns the wrist to control an attacker to the ground. Most schools teach students to place the thumb on the little finger side of the back of the hand and twist the wrist to cause pain compliance in the attacker. However, this is not the optimum way to apply this technique, and offers the attacker an easy pathway to a rear naked choke. The correct way to utilise this technique is to allow the thumb to extend past the opponent’s middle knuckle and make contact with the base of the thumb – not the end of it! Turn the wrist over in a large arc, then straighten your arm and trop drop the opponent’s elbow to the floor using gravity and the weight of the arm. Maru-chon!

Keep your back straight. Leaning over will only reduce the effectiveness of the angle. Use the natural arc of the arm as it drops past your side. Your other arm can give the opponent a nudge to complete the destruction of their balance.

Ensure that the opponent’s hand never drops below their elbow – that will remove the effect of the technique and expose you to a counter.

Here is a step-by-step example:

  1. Block a right haymaker punch with shuto uke and stick to the opponent’s arm.
  2. Circle the opponent’s arm in an anticlockwise direction without gripping their arm.
  3. When the arm passes your centre line, your fingers will cross the forearm, hook the base of the opponent’s thumb with your pinky, ring finger and middle finger. Your thumb will float past the opponent’s middle finger.
  4. Continue the anticlockwise circle until the opponent’s hand is above their shoulder.
  5. Straighten your arm so that the base of your thumb locks the opponent’s arm into position.
  6. Drop the arm straight down in an arc towards your hip. Keep your back straight.
  7. Use the other arm to topple the opponent if necessary.


  • Relax
  • Use the force of gravity and the weight of your arm
  • Keep good posture
  • Focus on the opponent’s elbow


  • Force or rush the technique
  • Squeeze or twist the opponent’s hand
  • Try to hurt the wrist
  • Let the opponent’s hand drop below their elbow
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