Tag Archives: sensei

Kyu 2 Brown Belt Achieved! Martial Arts | My Life 11 DEC 2011

Pleasingly, despite my reduced commitment to my Karate training regime, I was allowed to grade the Saturday before last, grading for Brown Kyu 2, in other words Brown two stripes (where I was currently Brown three stripes).

The grading took place on the Saturday morning at the quaint Mondeor Eco-School in Somerset West (just next to Monkey Town on the N2), the same location where I had previously graded for my Purple belt. As per usual time estimates were a fair bit off, but I was in truth pretty thankful for the extended delay before we got to my group, as it gave me a chance to run through my syllabus a few more times, just to make 100% sure that I knew what I was doing!

This was the first grading since my very first grading to Yellow that I was actually nervous of standing and performing my karate on my own in front of Sensei Birgitt and the panel of all the black belts, not feeling confident in terms of what would be required of me – and this was all based squarely on my now rather spotty training schedule that I’m going to have to live with for the next couple of years!

Oh well.

Anyway, by the time my group was finally called up, I was pretty warmed up and had a firm grasp of my syllabus, meaning that the nerves were now calm and it was just a matter of getting on with it. As per usual, I gave it my all, full power and nice and vocal, and despite making a few silly mistakes of which I’m not so happy with myself for making, the grading went pretty okay, meaning that I could proudly accept my new certificate at the end of the ceremony.

So now one more level of Brown to go, before that year long slog to Funakoshi Karate Black – which is after all, my ultimate goal now isn’t it? ;)

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.

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.

Osu.

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...)

Train ‘Em Hard! Martial Arts | My Life 26 MAY 2009

Boy Girl Karateka SparringWow, what an awesome privilege I had at karate training last night! Sensei Birgitt Smit asked me (who is currently only a yellow belt in our particular Funakoshi style) to take over the reins for about a half a hour (remember, our classes are only a hour long anyway) and lead the class in a few of the drills that I’ve picked up from the Kyokushin lot based on the time spent training under that particular style.

Needless to say I jumped at the opportunity, because quite frankly I do find it naturally easy to instruct (not sure what that says about me though), and soon I had everyone doing some evade and retaliate drills revolving around forward mai-geri and head-height mawashi-geri kicks. I then followed it up with some speed blocking exercises that focused on the attacker actually trying to land hits and the defender being forced to block an unexpected attack.

I’m not sure about the rest of the class, both higher and lower belts, but I thoroughly enjoyed the more physical aspect of these particular drills, directly leading to me sitting here at work this morning with a big grin on my face as I gingerly position my arm on the desk thanks to all the bruising incurred from last night’s session! :)

You know what they say, the more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war!

Osu!