Funakoshi Karate My Life | Sport & Health 10 FEB 2009

Karate on BeachWell, I’m back. Thoroughly enjoyed my first couple of lessons with the Funakoshi dojo operating out of Ryger Street here in Gordon’s Bay (literally a handful of minutes’ drive from my house) and have since decided that this will be my new martial arts home for the next while.

The main sensei for the little home-run dojo is Birgitt Smit, a 3rd dan German lady who has been doing the sport for about 8 years now, with assistance from her husband, also a senior black belt and who seems equally knowledgeable in just about all the fields of the discipline, going to great lengths to teach both ‘useable’ real world and sport techniques to anyone that will listen.

A nice touch has been the splitting of the class sessions along age lines, meaning that my two weekly training sessions are essentially with adults only, a welcome change from the past where you would be training alongside children and grandparents alike, not the greatest of arenas to practice one’s skills in I’ll let you know!

At the moment there seems to be about a dozen and a half regulars for this ‘adults’ class, a nice enough number in that it allows for increased personal attention but at the same time still carries the feeling where you are not isolated and feel as you are simply training on your own. A little bit of a niggle though seems to be their reduced focus on basics, something I’ve grown to love over the years, especially under Shihan Hennie Bosman where at the Welgemoed Dojo he places strong emphasis on the practice.

However, that said, the Funakoshi (who essentially do a modified form of Shotokan karate) lot are in training for an upcoming nationals selection, meaning that the classes so far haven’t exactly been running as perhaps they normally do.

Nevertheless, this is turning out to be the perfect way to increase my fitness level and get back into shape before November I tell you! :)

The worst part of the whole thing is that once again I need to ‘de-train’ my body to learn their style of doing things, so it is straight back to the bottom of the pile for me once more, a place that I seem to almost permanently languish in – despite the fact that I’ve done martial arts for a good five or so years already! Other than that, there isn’t all that much to say about my new home just yet. They’re a friendly group of people, I need to find a dogi that fits me somehow and this doesn’t seem to be a full contact discipline of karate – meaning that bliksemming out my frustrations will most likely not happen here.

Oh, and my knee is holding out just great, thanks for asking! :P

Yup, was right after all. We’ve started doing basics last night and it was awesome! Happy now. :)

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About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.