Approximately 50 members of the Traditional Shotokan Karate Association travelled to Sandy Cliffs just outside Exmouth, Devon for the second association residential Gasshukua over the long weekend of the 25th to 28th April. Karate-ka travelled from Lincolnshire, Kent, Oxfordshire, Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire to participate. There was a notable increase in numbers following the highly successful residential course in Cornwall in November 2002.

Friday was mostly set outside for the majority of participants to travel and settle into the well-furnished caravans on the coastally located campsite. TSKA’s chairman and Chief Instructor Sensei Peter Manning called an instructor’s meeting on the first evening to discuss the weekend’s training format, general paperwork/licensing/insurance issues and future association events for the year (10th anniversary association party, Instructor courses and an in-house competition amongst others).

The weekend training consisted of in excess of three hour long morning sessions at a number of locations both on and off of the campsite including the obligatory beach and sea training. Participates were divided into four groups that were taught on rotation between the four senior association instructors, Sensei Peter Manning 5th Dan, Sensei John Euden 4th Dan, Sensei Steve Rusbridge 3rd Dan and Sensei Wayne Savage 3rd Dan.

In support of traditional training in the 3 K’s; Kihon, Kata and Kumite, supplementary emphasis focused on body evasion (tai-sabaki), advanced footwork (unsoku waza), one step and foot sweeping techniques (kihon ippon kumite and ashi barai waza), hip position/alignment (shomen, hanmi and gyaku hanmi), static proprioceptive neuro-muscular facilitation (PNF) stretching techniques, catching and joint locking techniques (tsukami waza), and free sparring and deflection drills (jiyu kumite and nagashi waza).

Undoubtedly the crescendo of the weekend was the beach training, which for the second year running was held in excellent weather for the time of year. Notable acknowledgement goes to Karen Roberts, the exhibitionist from Oxfordshire for her choice of under-gi garments and to Dave Pace, Assistant Chief Instructor of the Tsuyoi Karate Association for the splendid rendition of Sanchin Kata facing the on coming waves of the English Channel.

The course concluded with certificate presentations for all the attendees and a rapturous appaulause for the course instructors and organisers. Everybody began their home journey weary and aching from the intense training (and late night socialising) but eager in anticipation for the 3rd residential training weekend planned in Kent later on in the year.

Paul Edwards