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Karate-no-Michi South Africa National Seminar 2001

The annual Karate-no-Michi South Africa National Seminar Seminar was held on 9/10 February in Johannesburg. Based on the response both verbally and by e-mail from the Dojo heads and instructors who attended the seminar, it was a great success.

First session
Friday 9 February (18h00-20h00)
Conducted by Macolm Dorfman Sensei

The primary aim of this opening session was to put across the essence and scientific basis of the technical aspects that would be emphasized throughout all the sessions, be it Kihon, Kata or Kumite, setting the theme for all the instructors taking sessions at the Seminar.

The extreme hip movement advocated by the two principal instructors of the Karate-no-Michi World Federation, Mikio Yahara Sensei and Akihito Isaka Isaka Sensei was explained in detail by Malcolm Dorfman Sensei who incorporated his own theories as well.

In addition, he showed the relationship of hip movement to various other parts of the body, in order to attain maximum efficiency of the total body when executing any karate technique. Great attention was given to the importance of the stabiliser muscles of the body as being the core/foundation of the source of power.

On the philosophical level, Malcolm Sensei explained the importance of understanding "kokoro" (spirit) and implementing this attitude in karate-do as well as in all aspects of life. He quoted a former teacher under whom he trained some years back, Masahiko Tanaka Sensei, who had often stated: " Karate is 90% spirit, 10% technique". He also expounded on the old karate saying that everything begins with rei and ends with rei. (rei literally means bow). However it can be taken to mean the rei of reigi which means courtesy/respect. Thus, "everything begins with courtesy and ends with courtesy", and the members of Karate-no-Michi South Africa must adopt this approach, if they are genuinely following the Karate-no- Michi ("Way of Karate").

Second session
Saturday 10 February (06h30-07h30)
Conducted by Michael Roetz Sensei

This session was an implementation of training with spirit (kokoro). It was held outdoors at the Zoo Lake, in trackshoes, tracksuit pants or shorts and t-shirt or vest.

An enthusiasic and spirited Michael Roetz Sensei led by example, taking the karateka through a series of very physical variations of kihon, testing their strength, stamina and endurance - a true test of spirit.

Third session
Saturday 10 February (09h30-11h00)
Conducted by Malcolm Dorfman

Malcolm Sensei explained the kata Kanku Dai move by move, going into the smallest details and finer points of the individual moves and following up on the technicalities, especially those related to hip movement and stabilisation as explained in the first session the previous evening.

Malcolm Sensei demonstrating bunkei on Bryan Dukas
The true essence of kata, the bunkei (application) and the implementation thereof was incorporated into the explanation with the view of enhancing the aspect of visualisation while performing the kata, thus bringing out the reality of the kata as opposed to it being merely an aerobic sequence of karate techniques.

Fourth session
Saturday 10 February (11h15-12h45)
Conducted by Mike Dukas Sensei

Mike Dukas Sensei commenced this kumite session by explaining the meaning of the following terms:

  • - Migamae (Mental preparation)
  • - Unsoku (Moving and stepping)
  • - Kime (Focus)
  • - Maai (Distancing)

The aim of the session was to implement a practical and more efficient way of applying “Unsoku” with the accuracy of techniques and blocks, which Mike Dukas Sensei, after having explained the concepts, demonstrated exactly what was required.

The participants then attempted to put into practice what they had just been told and shown. Since “Unsoku” and “maai” are two of the most important aspects of martial arts,

powerful legs and smooth movement are essential for the speed of the instantaneous start required when attacking or defending. Mike Dukas Sensei emphasised that these two aspects must both be studied and trained until one becomes proficient in the application thereof.

Fifth session
Saturday 10 February (13h45-14.30)
Conducted by Malcolm Dorfman Sensei

This kumite class, taken by Malcolm Sensei was a continuation of the theme of extreme hip action and core stabilisation.
He explained and demonstrated the tokui waza of the Japanese masters, Yahara Sensei and Tanaka Sensei, in his opinion, and from personal experience, the two best ever fighters to come out of the JKA Japan Instructors Course.

Yahara Sensei's 360 degree rotation of hips resulting in a devastating straight arm uraken or empi-uchi was an excellent example of the hip and stabilisation theories explained by Malcolm Sensei earlier in the seminar.

Tanaka Sensei's kizami geri (cutting kick) was an excellent example of extreme hip movement creating both impact and achieving an incredible length from source to target.

It also demonstrated the need for the stabilisation muscles to be utilised.

Finally, Malcolm Sensei taught hip movement and stabilisation in hiza geri, added this technique to the Yahara Sensei and Tanaka Sensei tokui waza, thereby creating a devastating combination of all 3 techniques which was practised by the participants of the seminar.

Sixth session
Saturday 10 February (14h30-15h30)
Conducted by Ian Duncan Sensei

This session, instructed by Ian Duncan Sensei, was geared towards explosive take-off and the utilisation of Plyometrics training to enhance take off speed. This correlated with the unsoko training done by Mike Dukas Sensei in the fourth session.

Ian Sensei commenced the session with the participants doing Heian Shodan and utilized this kata to illustrate that the start of each move was slow due to the initial take-off (thrust) being ineffective.

He then took the group through various Plyometrics drills and exercises to increase their understanding of how to generate a quicker take-off. These exercises included Pogo jumps, Knee-Tuck jumps, Split jumps and Squat jumps, all of which form part of a training regimen for them to utilize regularly to generate an explosive take off, using the correct action of ankles, knees , quadriceps and other leg muscles.

By the end of this session, the majority of the participants understood what was required and their techniques started to show far greater fluidity.

Seventh session
Saturday 10 February (15h30-16h15)
Conducted by Malcolm Dorfman Sensei

Similar to the third session of the seminar, Malcolm Sensei explained the kata Jion move by move, on the same basis as he did with Kanku Dai, however not overly repeating the technicality details, but rather allowing the participants more chance to remember and implement the hip, stabilisation and other theories that were explained in depth throughout the seminar.

Saturday 10 February (16h15-16h30)
Conducted by Malcolm Dorfman Sensei

After the final bow, Malcolm Sensei discussed certain issues regarding the calendar of events, expanded again on the attitudes of the organisation and opened up a short unscheduled meeting to any pertinent queries. The seminar ended on a high note, with the members feelin

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