On 22nd February 2004 Didcot Shotokan Karate Club (JKAE) hosted an open seminar with Sensei Scott Langley.

Didcot Shotokan Karate Club is a local club that we (the Wantage Shotokan Karate Club) regularly interact with. They are members of the Japan Karate Association England (JKAE) whose Chief Instructor is Sensei Yoshinobu Ohta (6th Dan).

Sensei Scott Langley is a 4th Dan and a Japan Karate Shotokai (JKS) Instructor.

The JKS Instructors course has been running for over fifty years during that time only 100 or so people have graduate and only 5 of those have been westerners; Scott being the fifth westerner to graduate from the course back in April 2002.

He is now based in Dublin, Ireland, where he is the Technical Director of the JKS GB & Ireland. He travels extensively throughout Europe teaching traditional Japanese Shotokan Karate.

The warm up was taken by Sensei Leon Brown, 2nd Dan, (Didcot).

The session was split into 4 parts; kihon, kumite, kihon again and then kata practice.

The main lesson that I took away from the course was the need to get a greater understanding of how to use my body in order to maximise its effectiveness and in particular learning how to use my hips and legs as a means to generating power and strength.

Sensei Scott talked about �body mechanics� as a way of studying how to maximize the efficiency of ones body. However, he did say that Karate runs deeper than this. �Karate is not a series of moves, karate is the deeper understanding of how to use ones body and we use these moves as a means to an end.�

Khion

To allow us to understand what was meant by “body mechanics”, we started with some basic combinations that were designed to get our hips moving into Hanme and Shomen as well as shifting our weight distribution.

One of the combinations that we practiced was, going from gedan bari, zenkutsu dachi, step forward kiba-dachi, kizami tsuki , weight 50/50. Use the back leg (as a spring) to push into zenkutsu dachi, gyaku tsuki, shifting 10% weight forward and punching directly forward, then shifting 30% weight back into kokutsu dachi and blocking shuto uke.

Kumite

We practiced several different free-style kumite drills.

1. Move hips into shomen and bring hikete fist forward until elbow is on hip as a feint as if you were going to deliver a gyaku zuki then moving hips into hanme and hitting kizami zuki.

2. Moving into hanme as you use yori ashi to slide forward, feinting kizami tsuki, then go into shomen dachi, doing gyaku tsuki. Sensei Langley emphasized that the feint should not be instigated with only the front hand in isolation but the whole of the leading side and in particular by using a �twitch� of the hips.

3. From freestyle, using hips to push the body 45 degrees to the side (if both people have left leg forward, then moving to your left), then bring back leg up to attack yoko geri keage.

4. Going from hanme to shomen, then step forward shomen but to a 45 degree angle (if both people have their left leg forward, then moving to your right, stepping 45 degrees, right leg forward) and kicking mawashi geri with the back (left) leg.

5. (Dan grades only) From freestyle, feinting gyaku tsuki with shomen dachi, then using this contraction to whip the leg around to do ushiro geri ensuring weight is shifted forward by pivoting on the ball of the foot.

Back to basics

Going from neko ashi dachi, hanme, kizami tsuki to gyaku tsuki in zenkutsu dachi. And then from neko ashi dachi, shomen, gyaku tsuki to kizami tsuki, hanme in zenkutsu dachi. We also changed the angle, using our hips to generate the body movement.

Sensei Langley emphasize the need to get your arms, hips and legs moving in unison, so that the sequence flowed as one instead of looking like individual and separate movements.

Kata � Junryo Godan

Junryo means �basic beginnings�.

The Junryo katas were created by Asai Sensei 9th Dan who is the head of the JKS. He developed them over the last ten years as a way of helping high Kyu grades and Junior Dan grades develop a better understanding of body mechanics. They have stances and techniques which are found in the more advanced kata, but the junryo series are simpler. They are now a grading requirement for the JKS Dan grading. We practised Junryo Godan in small sections and then all the way through.

The class was then split into those who knew Nijushiho and those who didn�t (unfortunately I didn�t and so had to stand out). For all those who did know Nijushiho the �Body Mechanics� learnt during Junryo Godan were translated into the shotokan kata.

Finally we finished with an exercise to relax the shoulders. This was basically using the arms in a large nagashi uke movement and then either turning the opponents power back to them, by pushing them back and to the side (when punching gyaku tsuki) or using your arm like a whip and “slashing” down their chest, when they attacked jodan.

I thought that this was an excellent course that didn�t over load you with too much information but instead made you really concentrate on basic movements and getting them right.

I went away full of enthusiasm and determined that my hip movement would and will improve!

For more information take a look at Sensei Scott�s website at www.scott-jks.com

Karen Roberts