The Official Opening of Gashuku 2010 Martial Arts 21 OCT 2010

The evening of Friday 15 October marked the official start of Funakoshi Karate International South Africa Gashuku 2010, even though technically the event was already three days into its 15 day duration.

Kicking off just after 19:00 at perennial Gordon’s Bay dance floor favorite, The Barn, the amazing ladies from Tamashii-Daiko attempted to blow the venue’s roof off with their powerful Taiko, or traditional Japanese drumming to you and me. As per usual they were flashy, controlled and skilled, under the guidance of leader Ursula Coenen. Since we last encountered them, their little group has more than doubled its numbers and they put together a fantastic display of this drumming martial art.

From there it was the turn of the Gordon’s Bay dojo to put on its show, which included a mass performing of Kata Impi to music (We will Rock You), combined with some more orchestrated movements that resulted in the forming of a giant circle around the dance floor. For this particular demonstration, the lights were switched off and the neons came on, resulting a brilliant visual affect as all the white gi’s glowed brightly under the purple light! (Note to self. Doing this after putting on a literally brand new out of the bag gi will result in you glowing the absolute brightest and running the risk of blinding everyone beside you!)

We then had some further demonstrations that included a unison kata from Anke, Dean and Wickus (to the sound of a funked up Chariots of Fire track), a solo Kata from Sanette, a fun little display from the tiny kids that make up the Samurai group, complete in their silky black uniforms, and then an en masse mock fighting sequence to good old Kung Fu Fighting, ending off with a mock finishing blow from one of the little Samurai pipsqueaks to each and every one of us on the dance floor.

An hilarious affair indeed!

Sensei Marius and Sensei Kai weren’t going to disappoint either, asking their German students to perform some unison katas for us, before they themselves revealed the latest, brand new kata that is entering the Funakoshi syllabus, the first time anyone in South Africa has ever seen it!

As an added bonus, Sensei Jonathan’s sister Kaylie put on a contemporary dancing routine (which she was asked to repeat because the neons didn’t pick out her costume as she had originally hoped the first time around), and even the girls from Temperance Town put on a little dance for the rest of us.

The demonstrations now done, the all important handing out of the official Gashuku t-shirts took place, hand delivered by our own little Ms and Mrs Funakoshi pageant winners, all dressed in their pageant winning wear.

By this stage the drink and food were beginning to flow freely, conversation levels were leaning towards deafening, and it wasn’t long until all the official details were wrapped up and the Barn was transformed back to its usual form – a dance floor catering to both sokkie and contemporary dance music lovers.

In other words, karateka party time! :)

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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.