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Kumite Training with Sensei Kai Martial Arts 22 OCT 2010

Last Saturday saw the first of two special kumite training classes with German Sensei Kai Ellenberger and Marius Bouwer, held in the Gordon’s Bay Primary School hall.

Although the class was fairly well attended, it was disappointing to see how many of the senior belts didn’t attend this special fighting class, but nevertheless, this would prove to be their loss as the class was as exciting and as insightful as you could possibly have hoped for.

Building on sensei Kai’s previous comments about tension and relaxation and how important it is to learn when to be relaxed and when to tense and explode outwards, we ran through a number of partner drills, before moving on to the main crux for the morning’s training session – learning how to destroy your opponent’s technique either by destroying the technique itself, or by destroying your opponent’s distance.

Training was intense and the German sensei continued to drill home the point of how one’s karate needs to be effective and thus must be trained properly – in other words with real force, both from the attacking and defending partners.

As for myself, I learned first hand what a sledgehammer of a punch sensei Marius possesses, as he strove to impart upon us the importance of keeping one’s back heel down when taking a punch. (A point. With my back heel firmly planted, the sensei couldn’t move me with his punch. With the heel raised however, he managed to push my 130kg frame back a good metre and a half with a single punch!)

By the end of the session, there were probably a lot of bruisings and swollen limbs going on, but the spirit was high and the lesson ended with the fighting level of everyone who attended now just that one notch higher.

In other words, for those karateka who chose to skip sensei Kai’s class, you definitely missed out on an golden opportunity to improve your skills. Never fear though, there is still one final kumite session to look forward to, and I can ensure you that this one will be even tougher than the last!

Osu.

Gashuku 2010 Update: Senior Training Sessions with Sensei Marius and Sensei Kai Martial Arts 15 OCT 2010

Currently we are slap bang in the middle of Funakoshi Karate International South Africa’s official 2010 Gashuku, though truth be told it is not quite in its usual format.

We are extremely grateful to Sensei Marius Bouwer, Sensei Kai and the rest of the Funakoshi Karate International Germany karateka that made the long trip down from Germany, not to mention the added bonus of the arrival of Sensei Geert from Funakoshi Karate International Belgium and Sensei Dusty who hails from Durban.

For this particular update though I want to deliver a quick update on what has so far been an absolutely exhilarating training experience under Sensei Marius and Kai for the senior evening training sessions, held on a Tuesday and Thursday evening at the Charles Morkel club in Strand.

For the first training session (despite having just come off a 23 hour journey without any rest), Sensei Marius and Kai took a large contingent of senior belts (of which I was lucky to be a part of despite my lower belt status) through an invaluable hour and a half session which taught us the importance of the correct tension, when to properly release it and also on how to control one’s level of relaxation in movement until that split second when your body needs to explode out its potential power.

Shimsome, Funakoshi’s first kata was the learning tool used for the evening and even this very first, most basic of the katas proved that it still had a lot to teach a person, and under the watchful eye of the Germans we trained, we learned and we improved.

The second training session was a two hour class in which the second kata, Kagame took centre stage, as Sensei Marius and Kai quickly took us through it just to remind us how it looks and then knuckled down to business as we spent the next hour and a half or so, step by step taking in and practising the bunkai (application) of the kata, an invaluable lesson in teaching us why the movements of the kata are arranged as they are and what they actually mean.

This intense training is sure to have generated a lot of bruises and welts in the process, but it was a deeply satisfying lesson in teaching us Kagami and the way it ought to be delivered, and more importantly, reminding us of how powerful our karate should be.

All in all, the first two senior training sessions under Sensei Marius and Kai have been an absolute pleasure and a fantastic learning opportunity to take part in, and without a doubt, this particular Gashuku 2010 is only going to leave Funakoshi Karate International South Africa as a much stronger style than what it currently is!

Osu.