Friday 13th March saw the start of this year’s Spring course with Shihan Daniels 8th Dan, at the central dojo in Blackheath, Birmingham. There were many students who travelled from all over the country to have the privilege of training with one of the highest ranked and most respected instructors in Great Britain.
Friday 13th March
The first hour and a half lesson saw the class of 8th-1st kyu grades put through their paces on basic techniques, with Shihan Daniels emphasising that basics are the foundations of a strong and high-quality martial artist. After analysis of the students Shihan Daniels decided to focus his attention on the Gyaku-tsuki punch, demonstrating the correct position and allowing students to analyse themselves and others.
The second lesson saw nearly 50 black belt students training and Shihan Daniels again chose to analyse the gyaku-tsuki punch. Many of the higher grades noticed that they there was still a lot to learn before the technique was truly mastered. The lesson was much like the first with many references to the late Master Kimura and his Shukokai man which is the symbol that best represents our style and technique.
The evening ended with a meal and many of the students socialising with each other which made for a great atmosphere.
Saturday 14th March
Saturday began with nearly 50 Kyu grades attending the class, excited to see what Shihan Daniels had in store for them. The previous evenings training was revised and then developed with the impact pads being used to show how the technique if used correctly can create a phenomenal power which was much to some of the younger cadet’s amazement.
It was then time for the Dan grades to come into the dojo and start their training. Shihan Daniels again revised the technique from the evening before and then developed it on to a much more technical scale. The emphasis was on keeping the stance strong with the front foot turned in and the left hip pushing inwards towards the front knee, to create a base which would be the root to the technique. The punch was to become like a wave creating a rolling over action to allow the punch to hit hard and deep. The punching arm was to stay relaxed until the point of impact. Shihan Daniels explained the fundamentals of the technique as like throwing of a stone, following through and ensuring that the weight was not dropped too early. The weight was kept over the back leg to start with so that the front leg could be lifted off the ground as the punch commenced.
Students Meal with Shihan Daniels
Saturday evening saw the traditional meal with all students and some parents and partners attending. Arthur Callaghan again put on a great spread with various dishes which everyone enjoyed. The night went on with lots of socialising between students from clubs from places such as Kent, Shaw, the West Midlands, London and Bournemouth. It was an evening where Shihan Daniels spoke to some of the younger members of the Federation about the history of Shukokai and his experiences in karate, which the students absorbed with great interest and admiration.
Sunday 15th March
Sunday saw both classes have the opportunity to put into practice all they had learned over the previous 2 days with the use of the impact pads. From a starting position of being able to knock back the pad holder a few inches gradually the power increased until most pad holders were stepping back several steps under the power of the impact being generated. With even more fine tuning over a two hour class the power and depth of the impact continued increasing. Everyone on the course agreed that to have the opportunity of studying one technique in such depth under the guidance of Shihan Daniels was a great privilege. Instructors and students alike have many hours of work ahead to continue to develop the technique and pass on all they had learned to other students.
Although all students started their grading from the first day of the course this did not mean that they weren’t put through their paces. All students performed their kata and basics and demonstrated what they had learnt over the three day course. Shihan Daniels was very pleased saying that it was a high standard grading with a consistency throughout with the technique learnt. The following people were successful in achieving Shodan grade from Shihan Daniels: Josie Farrow, Dexter Jauncey, Max Richards, Callum Beach and Daniella Beach.