This was originally Kashi No Ki Kenyu Kai’s annual Ozawa Sensei seminar. However, due to the circumstances in Japan he had to cancel his visit. In his absence Paul Budden sensei (7DR) took his place.
The theme of the two day seminar was ‘The role of the motodachi’, and the aim was to highlight the importance of this task to help improve shidachi’s kihon.
Turnout was pretty good considering the cancellation, I’d guess about 40 people. These were mainly from the midlands, with a sprinkling of northern and southern dojos.
The first day was concerned with outlining motodachi’s role. Budden sensei explained what he has learned from Sumi sensei on this subject and takes the form of three key considerations (referenced here):
1) At any time was I in ‘a resting' mode, so did I spend any time without concentration?
2) Did I make the appropriate distance (Maai)?
3) Did I encourage and make Kakarite execute their skills fully? And did I also encourage them to do a little more than their usual ability?
Though a number of drills involving shikake and oji techniques, we were instructed to facilitate good kihon with out partner though adjusting maai (come to one step outside distance –toi maai) and providing encouragement.
We were constantly asked “did you maintain concentration?” throughout the day, it was very easy to ‘switch off’ when tired!
We completed lots of kirikaeshi during these drills. We practiced 1-7 kendo no kata during the second part of the day and finished with jigeiko with the seniors. This was my first practice with many of the midlands based sensei, many of which I’d not seen fight before.
I managed jigeiko against Trevor Chapman and another Kashi No Ki Kenyu Kai senior which was fun, I was impressed at the speed and timing of both their kaeshi do waza… must be a notts favourite.
The morning session was concerned with waza basics using bokato, many of which are used in kendo no kata (e.g. kote suriage kote). This allowed us to study correct cutting without the temptation ‘whack’ using shinai.
These were conducted using suriashi footwork in order to retain a strong posture.
We then donned our armour and practiced many of these techniques with shinai, full spirit and fumikomi – ensuring the motodachi performs his/ her role as highlighted earlier.
After lunch we had a few hours of referee training in which we took it in turn to shinpan a shiai match.
I found it very difficult to concentrate on positioning/movement in relation to the head shinpan AND watching the actual match, I ended up missing an obvious ippon as I was concentrating too much on my own movement –doh.
The final part of the seminar was rotating jigeiko with fellow attendees and seniors. This allowed us to fight people we’d only performed kihon with… it was noticeable that some of us were struggling by this stage, many of our legs knackered and had stopped working!
Other than the 4 hour dive home this was an enjoyable seminar. I’ll try to travel up again in 2012, hopefully Ozawa sensei will be there next year.