Martial Arts Blogs A Journey to Shodan: November 2012

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

My First Seminar.

Two weeks ago I travelled to Bellevue Washington with my Sensei’s and three other students to attend my first ever Shotokan Karate seminar, which was taught by Sensei Kyle Funakoshi and Shihan Funakoshi.

On Friday night we went as a group and watched a Shodan and Nidan grading, and on Saturday morning I went to the Dojo early to watch the advanced class Seminar. Although I wasn’t participating, I find that as much as I love being on the floor practicing, I also enjoy sitting on the sidelines to observe; watching other students and paying attention to what the Sensei is teaching, improves my own technique by reminding myself what I should or should not be doing.

When it came time for the Brown and Black Belt Seminar, the five of us took the floor amongst all of the other local students – I think 20 of us in all. We started with a typical warm-up session, followed by basics and then Kata: my two favourite parts of Karate. I had heard that we may be learning advanced sparring techniques, but I was glad there wasn’t time for that – I’m not a huge fan of sparring and the more time spent on basics and Kata the better. That’s just me being selfish. Bassai Dai, Kanku Dai, Empi and Unsu. This was my first time doing Unsu so I’m sure I was a hot mess trying to follow along, but we repeated the double kick from the floor and practiced getting up into proper stance over, and over, and over and over. I am confident that when it comes time for me to fully learn this Kata, I’ll know what I am doing in that regard. It is very difficult, but it is now committed to my memory – I’ll just need my body to actually do it! The session lasted and hour and a half, and I wish it could have been longer. I learned so many new things, mostly small adjustments to Kata and tweaks to stances, but I definitely left the Seminar a better Karateka.

Highlight of the day: I was told by Shihan Funakoshi that my sidekicks are ‘Good, good, good’, there simply is no higher compliment than that in Shotokan Karate.