On Sunday 21 May, about 50 students from different clubs attended the Shotokan Connect Performance course in Shooters Hill, taught by Sensei Robin Dale and Sensei Jamie Sims. We had a mix of abilities in attendance including multiple Shotokan Connect instructors, competitors, some new starters and everyone in between. All students wore blue and red belts like in competitions so we all trained as one, regardless of level or ability.
The first 30 minutes is always a hardcore warm up to build stamina, fitness and strength, including lots of running! Then Sensei Rob settled into a detailed focus on the techniques in Kihon Kata, a kata which is never mastered, and the black belts learnt just as much as the white belts.
Then we separated into pairs and explored resistance training using belts, testing the strength of our stances and movements. We then worked together to break down our grading katas and study the details and technical elements which we sometimes overlook like keeping our stances down, preparing correctly for each move and precision in our shapes. After that, a few students were invited to stand in front of showcased their thought paths during their kata and what their focus is, including white belt Lexie who bravely talked us through Kihon Kata which she is still learning and yellow belt Logan who delivered a thorough description of his kata Heian Sandan.
After a half hour lunch break where we shared snacks picnic style we began kumite training. We started with useful scoring techniques such as gyaku zuki and kizame zuki and practiced them in partners. We then combined them and started adding footwork. Students were introduced to the ‘half beat’: the moment immediately after scoring a point where there is a split second that you can follow up with another in order to score a second point while your opponent is resetting. Sensei Jamie taught us how to use it to our benefit in a fight and we practiced it.
We tried a few fun games including spinning a hoop on your kicking leg and some students took part in a “kick off” in front of everyone to judge whose kicks were the best!
We then started some free fighting (jyu kumite) where students had the opportunity to apply all the skills they had been learning and developing throughout the class. We had a couple of short burst matches on the matts to finish off four gruelling, but fun, hours of training. We may need to become close with ice and heat packs in the next week but we will smile and do it all again next time 😊
All photos from the event:
“Good session” – Lesley
“Please pass on a big thank you to Rob and Jamie and everyone else who supported the event. We had a great time” – Jo
“Thank you to all of you for this opportunity. It was very empowering for me. All smiles in the family.” – Eliana