Tag Archives: funakoshi

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! :)

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!


Funakoshi Blue Belt Status Achieved! Martial Arts | My Life 09 JUN 2010

Last Friday has come and gone and apart from the joyous occasion of seeing my child blob in its full black and white ultrasound glory, the other highlight to come out of the day was my successful grading for blue belt under the Funakoshi style.

Lack of a hired venue meant that come Friday evening, I stepped onto the dojo floor (albeit a dojo lined with chairs along either side and headed off by a judging table), dressed in my dogi, a little stiff and sore from a week’s worth of weights training, but absolutely ready for what was about to come.

The new increased length of grading sessions thanks to the increased syllabus items required to be preformed in order to gain a pass meant that the day had to be staggered and when the first batch of seniors’ chance finally arrived, I found myself standing next to buddies Ian (green belt) and Gerhard (blue belt), ready to address Sensei Birgitt and the rest of the Black Belt judging panel and hopefully advance to the next level in our martial arts journey.

As luck would have it, there was nowhere to hide as I was called up first, and unfortunately for me, I didn’t exactly get off to the greatest of starts, completely unable to hold my balance during my four-way kicking demonstration. Thankfully though I could recover my composure and went on to give a pretty okay Grading Form 4A and Grading Form 4B (Ren-geri) performance, before going on to deliver a pretty good (apart from one small annoying misstep when I lost concentration for a split second) Kata 4.

At this stage my stamina was already beginning to give a little and I was breathing like a runaway ox, but I transitioned well into the Kamae Katas and moving basics, performing all three movement sets to great effect.

With the final pre-set parts of my grading behind me, I was beckoned to step off the stage and then sat down to watch Ian tackle his routine, before being called back up again where I squared off against Ian and we put together a great example of moving, choreographed kumite set.

As we stepped off, Gerhard stepped up, and worked his way through his slightly longer grading sequence, before I was again called up to partner up with him for his kumite set.

And that was that. The judges broke into a huddle to confer, we stepped forward, and with applause from all, received our passing certificates – plus that all important new stamp in our Funakoshi Karate International record book!

So now I’m a blue – and proud of it! Osu! :)

Coming Up, From Green to Blue Martial Arts | My Life 15 MAY 2010

Eish, I didn’t realise that my next grading is literally lurking around the corner. This time around I’ll be pushing for my blue belt under the Funakoshi style and by the sounds of it, the amount of people grading out of my class appears to be pretty small – so I’m quite motivated to do as well as possible come the big day.

One teensy hassle though. The new expanded syllabus under Edwin Ward means a new expanded grading, and according to the list handed out by sensei Birgitt at training, this means that on the night I have to solo tackle four way kicking (mae-geri keage/yoko-geri keage), grading form F4A (yoko-geri keage), grading form F4B (ren-geri), kata 4, kamae kata 1, kamae kata 2 and finally kihon sanbon zuki which is bascially three step moving basics focussing on uchi-uke/gyaku zuki and soto-uke/gyaku zuki.

Phew, talk about a truck load of solo work I need to know and perform on the night, all on my lonesome and with no one to crib off should my mind do its usual wandering off trick! As it stands, I’m not entirely sure that I am in fact ready on about half of the things needed to grade on, so I’m pretty much going to have to roll up my sleeves and put in some extra practice whenever I can in these last upcoming days.

One thing is for sure though, I really, really want to move up to the next step – still got a long way to go before I finally reach a more respectable belt colour! :P

So, come Friday evening, 4th of June 2010, you know where you’ll find me – sweating in the middle of the practice hall, showing off my skills and hoping to crack the nod from the black belt instructors.

Can’t wait! :)

Basic Japanese Karate Terminology Martial Arts 12 MAR 2010

As karate originated from Okinawa, Japan, many styles across the world seek to maintain this inherent heritage by continuing to teach karate using the original Japanese names for the various techniques being taught.

Secondly, as karate now finds itself very much an international phenomenon, training with Japanese terminology is proving invaluable in allowing for people from different nationalities and cultures to train with one another, without suffering from any major translation problems.

It is thus a good idea that you as a karateka learn this basic terminology in order to better understand what is going on in your classes.

Basic Technique Terminology

  • age-uke — rising block
  • ashi-barai — ankle sweep
  • empi — elbow
  • empi-uchi — elbow strike
  • chudan — stomach level
  • gedan-barai — downward block
  • gyaku-zuki — reverse punch
  • hajime — Begin!
  • hiraken — fore-knuckle fist
  • ippon — one point
  • jiju-ippon-kumite — semi free one-blow sparring
  • jodan — face level
  • kata — forms
  • kiba-dachi — straddle-leg stance
  • kime — focus
  • kokutsu-datchi — back stance
  • kamae — fighting stance
  • kumite — sparring
  • mae-geri — front kick
  • mae-geri-keage — front snap kick
  • mae-geri-kekomi — front thrust kick
  • mae-tobi-geri — flying front kick
  • mawashi-geri — roundhouse kick
  • mawashi-zuki — roundhouse punch
  • mawate — Turn!
  • makiwara — punching board
  • oi-zuki — lunge punch
  • riken — back fist
  • shuto — knife hand
  • uchi-uke — inside forearm block
  • ude-uke — outside forearm block
  • ushiro-geri — back kick
  • ushiro-geri-keage — back snap kick
  • ushiro-geri-kekomi — back thrust kick
  • uraken-uchi — back fist strike
  • yame — Stop!
  • yoi — Ready!
  • yoko-geri — side kick
  • yoko-geri-keage — side snap kick
  • yoko-geri-kekomi — side thrust kick
  • yoko-tobi-geri — flying side thrust kick

Reaching a Black Belt: Funakoshi Grading Syllabus Martial Arts 19 FEB 2010

Moving to Funakoshi Karate International South Africa comes with a revised grading schedule and more importantly, a revised grading syllabus. Taking into account that gradings are now held on a bi-annual basis, reaching that coveted black belt status should potentially take a student five years to realize. So something well worth working towards in other words!

The following list details is thus the new required syllabus for each belt level advancement, ordered from lowest to highest ranking:

Grading from White to Yellow

  • F1A oi-tsuki
  • F1B elbow form
  • Kata 1
  • Kicking form
  • Kamae kata 1
  • Basic kihon and kumite

Grading from Yellow to Orange

  • F2A mae geri keage
  • F2B nidan tsuki
  • Elbow kata
  • Kata 2
  • Kamae kata 1
  • Basic kihon and kumite

Grading from Orange to Green

  • F3A kiba dachi
  • F3B mae geri kekomi
  • Kata 3
  • Kamae kata 1 & 2
  • Kihon and kumite

Grading from Green to Blue

  • F4A yoko geri keage
  • F4B ren geri
  • Kata 4
  • Kamae kata 1 & 2
  • Kihon and kumite

Grading from Blue to Purple

  • F5A mawashi geri
  • Kata 5
  • Kamae kata 1, 2 & 3
  • Light free sparring

Grading from Purple to Brown 3

  • F6A yoko geri kekomi
  • Kata 1 – 5
  • Kamae kata 1, 2 & 3
  • Kihon & kumite

Grading from Brown 3 to Brown 2

  • F7A matopa geri
  • Kamae kata 1, 2 & 3
  • Teki Shodan
  • Kumite & kihon

Grading from Brown 2 to Brown 1

  • F8A combination
  • Kata Kachi
  • Kata 1 – 5
  • Free sparring

Grading from Brown 1 to Black

  • Kata 1 – 5
  • All grading forms
  • Kata Kachi
  • Teki Shodan
  • Kamae kata 1, 2 & 3
  • Kumite

Funakoshi Karate Camp Edwin Martial Arts | My Life 11 FEB 2010

A weekend right at the start of January this year saw me scurrying back home late Friday afternoon from work in order to quickly throw together all the necessary items and then take to the coastal road in a fair rush in order to reach Betty’s Bay, Mooihawens campsite by 19:30. Why? Well this was to be the weekend of “Camp Edwin”, Funakoshi Karate International South Africa’s first ever karate camp since having broken away from Funakoshi South Africa literally a month or three ago!

Although not a hard-working karate gashuku that most people are quite familar with already, the camp was still designed with karate in mind and had thus been set up to maximise lessons surrounding the concepts behind karate but lessons not necessarily delivered through karate sessions alone. Indeed, each of the current senior black belt students were tasked with coming up with a particular bit of knowledge and then a particular way to demonstrate and pass on this nugget of information, leading to quite a few rather surprising sessions indeed! :)

From your standard karate kata and basics sessions you found us over the course of the weekend taking part in classes that included things like reflexology, origami, Japanese karate terminology bingo, communication, broken telephone in mime mode, knife and gun disarmament training and of course the infamous beach training which of course is always tougher than what you can imagine thanks to the giving sand (and the fact we first needed to clear a huge swathe of beach from all the seaweed and muck before we could actually train there!)

Apart from the copious amount of aggressive volleyball games played, one of the methods of injecting some fun and trying to open up communication between all the attendees was to assign everyone a brightly painted red egg at the start of the weekend, each tasked with naming the egg and protecting it from harm, meaning that this poor raw egg was to accompany you EVERYWHERE, lest someone spirit it away and replace it with a rock when you weren’t looking. Of course, the other requirement was that you were to learn the names and personalities of every other egg spending the weekend there with you, meaning an additional task in memory and communication – which surprisingly one lady actually managed to win by correctly identifying each and every attendee’s egg’s name come the end of the weekend! Needless to say, most of us couldn’t get past 5 or 6!

Oh and as and added incentive to look after your egg, if you lost it and you got caught out, it was the “bum dance” for you, which basically had you humiliate yourself by bending over and writing your name by wiggling your bum in front of the rest of the group. Needless to say, my egg was in fact kidnapped during the course of the weekend and as such I did a bum dance – though that said my egg was promptly returned and I never needed to do another one again. Not exactly sure what that says about my ass in the air then! :P

I must admit, this sort of more informal karate camp was something I have yet to experience and one of the factors that surprised me the most of the whole event was the quality of food that we received. Now normally these kind of things serve up dry hotdogs and some cold cereal for breakfast but this particular camp saw us literally eating like kings, with proper full on braais in the evenings, pancakes and what not for breakfast and even cold meats like chicken for lunch! Heck, we even had french toast if I remember correctly! :)

Because such a large number of the people making up the Gordon’s Bay dojo are in family units, i.e. mom, dad and kids all doing karate, a lot of the families hired out some of the chalets that were in offer while the rest of us found ourselves bedding down in dormitory style rooms, complete with creaky bunk beds and everything that comes with sleeping in dorms – particularly for the kids if you know what I mean – don’t think they got a stitch of sleep during night one!

Blessed with fantastic, sun-drenched weather and a fantastic vibe, we all got through the training and classes with a lot of good humour and smiles all around, and while sharing a beer around the fire late at night, Camp Edwin proved an absolute success in strengthening Funakoshi International South Africa’s core and more importantly fostering that all important sense of family that is so critical for a small dojo like ours to keep functioning smoothly and ensure that together we take our art even further than what we might ourselves imagine impossible.


Learning to take down a knife or gun-wielding attacker...

Even with harsh gravel underfoot, we trained...

Even sensei Birgitt tried her hand at some simple origami

We all survived the final session of the weekend as proved by this photo (the unconscious bodies have been dumped in the sea behind us...)

Stomach versus Sunset Spur My Life 12 JAN 2010

I had a good week last week, that I did. Had a good start to work for Touchwork 2010, caught Cats at the Artscape with the Montgomery Clan on Thursday evening and then spent the weekend in Betty’s Bay on a Karate Camp with my fellow Funakoshi karateka, before finally returning on Sunday afternoon to join Chantelle in her quest to spring clean our pad for good, 2010 style.

However, I did make one short pitstop in between.

You see, the weather was perfect on my arrival back to Sunny Gordon’s Bay, and wanting specifically to spend some time with Chantelle who had knocked off work a little early on the day, I suggested we either go to supper, catch a movie or even just do lunch as a treat from me to her. Eagerly agreeing to the lunch idea (because she didn’t really want to break the spring cleaning flow later the evening), Chantelle suggested we head out to our old nemesis the Sunset Spur in Gordon’s Bay on the beachfront in order to enjoy some friendly cuisine while sitting in the outside area and enjoying the sun and all the people milling around the beach for a change.

Surprised at her choice, based on our bad experiences with that particular branch of Spur in the past, I nevertheless agreed, and off we hopped and hit the busy Gordon’s Bay beach road in search of parking or at least a place we could leave the car without the fear of returning to find one of those much maligned pink tickets that seem to always appear on your car’s windscreen when you aren’t looking (and are parked in an area surrounded by red lines).

Eventually we did find a spot (up in the narrow streets far removed from the beach I’ll add), and off we toddled to the Spur, who wasn’t doing too bad business on a fairly late Sunday afternoon after all. Our waiter was friendly and for a change we even ordered starters, kicking off our dining experience with some buffalo wings and then followed up with mains, this time taking me back to an old favourite classic of mine, Spur’s usually delicious bacon and guacamole burger.

Surprisingly enough though, the food was actually really good for a change, arrived on time and came with absolutely no complaints attached, and so sated from an excellent meal in a good location, Chantelle and I bid farewell to the beach crowds and headed off home.

Which is exactly when it hit me.

All of a sudden my well functioning stomache which had played its part so perfectly over the rest of the weekend, was reduced to a quivering, liquidity mess, coupled with headaches and a seemingly malicious intent to drain all the blood out of my face and rob me of my strength while at it!

Now I’m not saying it was necessarily Sunset Spur’s fault (though the Spur has hit both Chantelle and I before), but what I do know is this little bug completely knocked me for a six and had me curled up in a little ball, so much so that yesterday I opted to stay and attempt to work from home – rather than risk facing the wrath of my fellow colleagues for spoiling the clean-smelling and usable office space environment! :)

(Though unfortunately in the process Chantelle was somewhat affected by the unpleasantness of the situation as she had the misfortune of also being at home thanks to an unexpected off day granted by her bosses. Sorry love, I didn’t mean to make the flat that uninhabitable for you after all…)

P.S. Well at least I’m feeling a little better now. Been back at work for two hours now so far, and have yet to run for the bathroom! A good sign, I’m sure! ;)

Karate in the Sun Martial Arts | My Life 14 DEC 2009

sensei-gert-smit-funakoshi-gordons-baySaturday saw me partaking in our dojo year-end fundraiser, a karate-themed marathon that took place on the old Navy rugby fields here in Gordon’s Bay. The idea was simple enough. Split the dojo down the middle into two teams, appoint a team leader for each team and then put them alongside one another to battle it out in a 3 hour long karate marathon which saw each team continuously rotate through units consisting of six karateka who would have to perform five minutes of sparring, five minutes of grading forms and five minutes of katas.

So with music blaring from the clubhouse and the fire already lit for boerwors rolls, we kicked things off at half past twelve and continued on to just after half past three in the afternoon, with each team resigned to their little demarcated square. It was actually loads of fun, despite the sun that baked down upon us and the rather dry grass beneath our feet. Because we were rotating through units and the sessions were only fifteen minutes long, one seldomly got too tired, but it was a continous day of karate in the sun and by the end of the final group kata, everyone was pretty much drenched in sweat and itching to get out of the rather unforgiving dogis.

I tell you, the ice-cold beer that we received after making our way back to the clubhouse was the best beer I’ve tasted in a very long time! :)

The karate itself was good, I spent a lot of the time busy working my head around the new kata and grading form I need to learn for green belt and I must admit, as per usual I thoroughly enjoyed the sparring, even if my damn knee did eventually pop right at the end of proceedings while battling it out against Chris.

The event was well attending and we must have at least had around 40 or so karateka taking part, so the day was a big success and a great team-building effort for the Gordon’s Bay dojo as a whole.

Of course, this technically was the last karate function outside of normal training for 2009, but you can bet your bottom dollar that no one can wait for the upcoming January 8th training camp in Betty’s Bay 2010. That’s going to be even more karate in the sun, on the grass and most likely, in the sand! :)

Upping the Level: Green Martial Arts | My Life 07 DEC 2009

On Saturday morning I successfully graded for my Green belt in Funakoshi Karate, the nicest grading I’ve undertaken yet, simply because Chantelle took the time to come and support me at karate, the very first time she has done so since I’ve returned to the sport following my knee blow-out all that while ago.

Since our split from Funakoshi South Africa to join up with Funakoshi International, naturally our numbers are looking pretty thin at the moment and as such we found ourselves grading in the considerably smaller than normal venue, Masonic Hall in Strand come Saturday morning, 10:00 am sharp. Of course this impacted heavily on the amount of space available for spectators and participants alike, but it did force everyone closer together and this added a nice community-like spirit to the day’s proceedings, so it actually make for quite a lekker grading get together.

Naturally there were far fewer karateka taking part in the grading and so I didn’t have too much time to blink before we finished the last of the orange belts and I got the call up to strut my stuff. Now at this point in time I need to admit that this was the very first grading where I wasn’t crystal clear on either the grading form or kata that I needed to perform, so much so that I actually had to sneak out of the hall and put in a few practice rounds just to get everything right in my head! (So in other words, the three weeks away from karate practice thanks to wedding and honeymoon really did come back to haunt me after all!)

Anyway, in the end everything went pretty okay, my kiba-dachi 1 grading form ran fairly smoothly and my kata 2 went okay – though I was properly pissed off with myself at starting it off figuratively on the wrong foot by forgetting to focus in the correct direction right at the start of the sequence, thus putting me off my stride just that little and unfortunately making me race through the steps a little faster and a lot more untidy than what I had hoped to do.

But it was good enough, Chantelle was suitable impressed (though she is quite bemused at how the rather varied levels of competency on display all managed to pass the same test) and I’m now the proud owner of a Green rank in the Funakoshi Karate style.

One step closer to the true starting line in other words! :)


Some of the karateka making up Funakoshi Gordon's Bay

Congrats Anke! Martial Arts 20 OCT 2009

So following on last week’s heads up on the Commonwealth Karate Championships held here in South Africa, it was a great pleasure to learn last night that young Anke walked away with two medals from the tournament, namely Gold for the Team Kumite event and Silver for the Individual Kumite.

Oh, and a nifty green and gold SA tracksuit to boot! Congratulations Anke, you did Gordon’s Bay Funakoshi proud once again! :)

anke smit funakoshi karate gordons bay doing a kick

Funakoshi National Championships and I (In Pictures!) Martial Arts | My Life 16 SEP 2009

Of course, I first blogged regarding the 2009 Funakoshi National Championships held in Somerset West quite some time ago already, but the other day Maria (who also trains at the Gordon’s Bay Funakoshi dojo) alerted me to the fact that a whole heap of photos have finally gone up on the main South African Funakoshi website as well, so of course as a trained blogger I feel the unshakable urge to point you guys to them as well!

So with no further ado, all point your browsers here: www.funakoshi.co.za/news01August2009.html

Back again? Good.

Of course, this post would be horrible short if I didn’t post some of the pictures right here and now, and so I’ve decided to pull a couple showing me in my full (unfortunately) “glory”! I must however warn you at this point that these images are unfortunately not suitable for sensitive viewers as I am rather ugly, fat and with a bad haircut in all of these that I appear in! You have been warned. :D

Craig Lotter versus Gerrit Funakoshi Karate
Look mom, there I am! The guy in the red belt in case you don’t recognise me! Actually, this was to be my only win on the day, confusing the judges into choosing me and my kata over training partner Gerrit and his! :) Ah, good times indeed.

Craig Lotter versus Ian Funakoshi Karate
Scarily, this photo is a stark reminder as to just how much I hate the fact my dogi shrank in the wash (and the fact that my belly is so big at the moment!). However, despite my ‘show tummy flesh’ tactic, it wasn’t enough to put off training partner Ian who went on to win the points match. (His clear height advantage really paid off for him here). Note bearded Ryan standing there looking on while resting against the pillar… just in case it falls over of course!

And now to something completely arb of course…

Gert versus Ken Funakoshi Karate
On the left is black belt sempai Gert, Birgitt’s husband, but more importantly on the right is the karateka all the swooning, drooling females nicknamed ‘Ken’ for the day. Note his particular height disadvantage (ignore is chiselled features and well groomed hair) and then take into account that he is one damn good fighter and karateka overall – in other words a man that I can really look level to! (Yes, this is a quip about my lack of vertical length)

Barbie Funakoshi Karate
And just because, I’ve included a picture of the karateka that was dubbed ‘Barbie’ for the day (the one on the left in case you were wondering). Unfortunately her face is rather red thanks to taking quite a few blows to it by this stage of the fight, and as you can well imagine, there were plenty of calls from the male crowd to the effect of “Noooo! Not the face, not the face!” with each falling blow. (Actually it ended up being a damn good match to watch – can’t remember who won though…)

Related link: http://www.funakoshi.co.za/news01August2009.html

The Next Grade: Achieved Martial Arts | My Life 19 AUG 2009

orange karate beltSo, moving up to the next grade was successfully achieved last night with a completion of my second ever Funakoshi grading, held once again at the Gordon’s Bay Primary School.

The weather outside was pretty miserable and the rain on the roof made it quite difficult to sometimes hear the instructions from the panel in front, but once again the parents and friends of the Boland Funakoshi karateka showed up in force to support their loved ones, so there was a nice warm atmosphere around the rather empty hall floor.

This time the routine that we as yellow belts needed to complete was just that bit longer and more complex than what we had to do for our previous grading some time ago, but thankfully we’ve been undergoing quite a bit of intense training and focus on our katas and grading forms over the last couple of weeks and by now most of it is pretty much old hat – plus having had taken part in the tournament at the start of the month seemed to have helped quite a lot in burning the routine into memory as well.

Unfortunately for me though, yesterday was pretty hectic in terms of work, and in fact I had to down my tools half way through the emergency job in order to come and take part in the grading in the first place, meaning that my mind really wasn’t focussed on karate by the time that I arrived at the school hall. Thankfully though the low level that I’m still find myself at means that I didn’t have to wait all that long before our belt division were called in to run through our grading, meaning at least I didn’t have enough time to completely let my mind stew on work-related tasks alone!

For a change, I found myself being part of the early batch of yellow belts to be called up to perform, meaning that the whole anticipation time was completely cut down to an insignificant chunk and when I did finally take the floor, I found myself pretty calm and actually breathing for a change, completely unlike last time when I nearly exploded at the end of my grading form due to my self-inflicted lack of breath! :)

Like I mentioned though, my mind wasn’t completely at the job at hand and I must admit that I stumbled through the 2A Mai-Geri grading form and my Kata Ichi just a bit, annoying myself internally to great extent but thankfully not looking bad enough to the outside world, and Shihan Sanette in particular, meaning that I got a pretty decent enough rating on my final scorecard.

And that’s that, meaning that starting from tonight I’ll be training with a little orange belt tied around my waist for a change. Nifty.

(Oh, and as an added bonus, all my yellow belt training buddies managed to pass through as well, meaning that our little group remains intact and we can continue to bumble our way through the new upcoming katas together – which always turns out to be a load of fun and games! :P)