TSKA Residential May 2010

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As new recruits to the residential its down to, Tim, Wende, and Harvey to write a few words. So here we go. Well it’s the 14th of May 2010 midday at Wantage sports centre and once again migrating karate students led by Sensei Paul Edwards, set off to Devon cliffs for a weekend of training. Stopping at burger king on the way yum yum, we all arrived late afternoon to pick up keys for our caravans, we were allocated to No 36 Maple, Brenda did a marvelous job of organising us Wantage rabble so that we would not be homeless for the weekend. Soon it was time to get ready to go to the beach for the first lesson, Tai chi. we warmed up by running stretching as you would do in any form of exercise. Sensei Paul Mitchell started to take us through the routines, (short form) well by this time Harvey enjoyed it but also wanted to play in the sand and as he had an early start that day and he wanted play time. While the whole group carried on with the lesson.


After about 1 ½ hours the lesson came to a close and it was time for shower and change and up to Brenda’s for food where the chef for the weekend, Richard was cooking for us all – not just supper but breakfast lunch and tea for the whole time we were there! Thank you for your hard work Richard. Grub was great. Once the food had been devoured and the drinking started and the karaoke came into play; well I never. Big Dave’s Y.M.C.A. and Jonathan’s Chantilly Lace, Wende’s and Kim’s duos and so many renditions by all of classic songs were bashed out that it made the evening unforgettable.


Soon it was bed time – early night. 2am, ha ha. After 4 hours sleep and feeling a little worse for wear, breakfast time for bacon and egg sandwiches or for the healthier option cereal, and then down to Exmouth sports centre. For 10:30 am.


Sensei Gary Roberts took us for our first lesson as we were all spilt into groups according to belt grade. This lasted for over an hour, but it was fun and exhausting. We did all the fundamental blocks punches and kicks, and then we had a break for a drink. After that we swapped over to Sensei John Eudan. I must point out that Harvey (our son) is registered blind and the way he was taught was absolutely brilliant! A big thank you to all the TSKA members. Back to the second half which we did kata for all those planning on grading so that they had a chance to learn and tweak all their moves.


It was a sunny day on Saturday so it was decided we would do our karate on the beach that day as the weather report was not so good for the next. “They were right”. We headed back to Brenda’s for lunch which we had sandwiches, then made our way to the beach, we again were put in belt grades and we must say a big thank you to Barry Tullett for the way he was with the young children and a big thank you for all he did for Harvey. Amazing, you could see on the children’s faces that they had fun.


We had Sensei Gary Roberts who showed us moves on self defence, we got into pairs and had a go. It was nice to see other groups from Wells and Margate (Kent) and other from areas. We had an enjoyable afternoon and also got very wet from running into the sea! “YES” running into the sea – it was COLD, but you did get used to it; we were asked to do kihon kata which, as you can imagine, was hard to do with waves crashing into you but we all laughed as this was fantastic.


We all went back to our caravans to get showered and then over to Brenda’s for Jonathan’s curry which was enjoyed by all yum yum . The evening led into a quiz which was won by Wantage, then we headed back to Brenda’s for more singing and guitar playing, drinking, laughing and more drinking and singing (which led us to have security to come round as the camp site was also being entertained at 2am in the morning – O dear, they were cool about it).


We all went to bed – slept like a log. Got up at 7am and showered and we all went to Brenda’s for more fantastic food to set us up for that day.


10.30. We were back at the sports hall, for karate which we had Sensei Peter Manning. He told us all about what karate means to him and why we should give all what we can. Then we did moves which you could help yourself if you had an attack by a knife which led you being in control of the situation. We also did the kata which was your belts next grading. We had a brilliant day and as you can imagine sore and tired but feeling good as you know it was worth it. Tea that night was spaghetti bolognese and cheese and biscuits followed by drinking and more drinking and by singing karaoke – fantastic fun had by all, the noise level was being managed by Sensei Paul as we didn’t want to entertain the site as they were not paying us for our super entertainment: we had another fun night and we finished at 2.30am when we stumbled back to our caravans and slept like babies.


Monday morning we had breakfast and then sorted out our caravans as we would not return to them, we then set of for the last time to Exmouth sports hall and short lessons by Senseis Paul Mitchell 4th Dan and John Euden 5th Dan, first lesson we did stances going backwards and frontward blocking and shoto. The next short lesson was kata but Wende did the kata for purple stripe heian godan which I found fun and Tim did heian nidan. We both were so proud of Harvey as he knows the kata and he has only just graded. That is what a weekend away can do for you – all he needs is to tidy it up. Well done Harvey! Also Alex showed us great potential for his kata too.


At the end we all collected our certificates and for those who were grading stayed to grade for their new belts (hope they all succeeded); we all then drove back to Wantage thank you Sensei Paul, Brenda, Dave, Jonathon, Kay, Tony, Steve, Chris, Kim Kerry, Karolina, Richard, Alex, and Harvey. We had an amazing time and yes we would do it all over again. Oss.


Tim and Wende

TSKA Residential, May 2009

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Friday 15th May saw a group of Wantage karateka going south. Well, more south-west, actually, as we made our way to Devon Cliffs for the 6th annual TSKA Residential Karate Training course. Everyone in the group had been many times before and had been looking forward to seeing old friends, making new ones and practising a lot of karate.


The journey was uneventful (the best sort of journey, I have found) and very soon we had sorted out our caravans and a few of us started breaking open some beers as an appetizer for some beer. The training started relatively early this year with a tai chi session on the beach led by Sensei Paul Mitchell who is not only a 4th dan in shotokan karate but has also been practising tai chi for nearly 20 years. We did this with him a couple of years ago and I had thoroughly enjoyed that, so I had been looking forward to more of the same. After some warm up exercises we practised the short form; this, I am guessing, meant a short kata though it seemed pretty long to me. As always the flowing movements were relaxing, particularly so next to the rolling ocean as it lapped gently against the shore a few feet away. Having practised this a few times we partnered up for some tai chi pair work; though tai chi is often seen as an effective form of exercise for the elderly, it is also a very efficient means of self defence. The pair work we did was necessarily simple but is demonstrated how tai chi could be used and, once again, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Hopefully this will become a TSKA tradition.


After an hour or so of this (I confess to losing all track of time, getting lost in the environment) we headed back to our caravans to freshen up before the other main event of the evening: a visit to The Major. As is the norm for the Wantage crew (group? rabble?) we all congregated at the caravan of Brenda, Kay and Kerry for hearty meal (a delicious shepherds pie followed by cake – thank you ladies!!!) followed by the traditional sing-a-long led by Tony ‘the crooner’. I have known The Major (or, as he is sometimes known, Major Beers) for a number of years and have always enjoyed his company: this year was to be no different. Proceedings finished at 3am when, sore of throat and wobbly of leg, those of us who weren’t lucky enough to stay in the ladies plush caravan wandered back to our own for some much needed sleep before the following morning’s proceedings.


Saturday dawned as early as ever and we all headed back to the ladies caravan (let’s call it the boudoir for ease of reference) for some breakfast. Then it was straight to the local sport centre for the beginning of our karate training. This years instructor lineup consisted of Senseis Peter Manning, 6th dan, John Eudan, 5th dan and the aforementioned Paul Mitchell.


Sensei Manning led us through the warm up and stretching followed by the traditional starting combination (four of each: oi tsuki, age uke, soto uke, uchi uke, shuto uke, mae geri, mawashi geri, yoko geri keage then kekomi and ushiro geri). As usual we did this slowly, then medium speed and then fast. After this I for one could consider myself warmed up! We then split into graded groups (coloured belts, brown belts and black belts) and, as a black belt, I had the pleasure of Sensei Eudan . He started off with some basic combinations (choko tsuki twice, step forward oi tsuki, back foot to front then front back oi tsuki and an equivalent age uke and soto uke combination) followed by partner work practising those, looking for correct timing and above all distance. But this was the aperitif. After a while we stopped this to practise a new kata – Senka. This is an Asai kata that was taught to Sensei Eudan by Sensei Richard Amos. From my experience it is not a kata you would find on a typical shotokan syllabus which, though understandable since it is complex and incredibly difficult to perform correctly, is a shame since its flowing, undulating movements and spinning turns are beautiful to watch. By the end of the session we all had a fairly good grasp of the basics and I determined I would not make the usual mistake of forgetting it! Time will tell… As we left the dojo to grab a shower and some lunch at the boudoir we were each issued with a TSKA residential 2009 t-shirt.


Saturday evening provided a departure from the traditional since an association party had been organised. At the duly appointed hour we all headed towards the venue, not quite sure what to expect. Initially, of course, we started to eat and drink but whilst indulging in this, one of my favourite pass times, we were invited to enrol in groups for a quiz, and this of course we duly did. Ten teams in all entered the quiz, that posed questions on general knowledge of 2008, the London Underground (I kid you not) and, of course, karate. The competition was stiff, nerves tingled and the atmosphere was tense. Massive concentration could be seen on everyone’s faces as we strove to diligently answer the questions. Well, ok, it wasn’t quite like that, but I wanted to big up the fact that my team (the Wantage Willburies) won, despite a ribbing at an earlier lesson on our ability to count. The evening continued with dancing, drinking and chatting, followed by more drinking, dancing and chatting. At a little after midnight, the venue closed and the Wantage crew headed back to the boudoir for some more alcohol, chat and general merriment. Again, at a little after three, we headed back to our own beds to rest in preparation for day 2 of the course.


Sunday is a rather odd day, I always find, on these courses. It is like Saturday but spelt differently, though it shares many of the same letters in its name. But I digress. After the standard warm up we were treated to the presence of Sensei Mitchell, who took us through some light basics followed by how they could be applied in an effective manner.


Next up was the turn of Sensei Eudan who started the lesson by very kindly helped us consolidate our fading memories of Senka with some more of its practise. We then started on a ju ippon exercise with specific block/counter combinations to each attack to help promote timing, tai sabaki (evasion) and distancing. These consisted of the following attacks/counters:

  • Oi tsuki jodan: moving back 45 degrees with shuto uke, mae ashi mawashigeri & gyaku tsuki
  • Oi tsuki chudan: moving in quickly to jam the attack with a chudan ude uchi, gyaku tsuki
  • Mae geri: stepping through past the opponent with gedan barai, kizami tsuki, then throwing the opponent over the forward foot and finishing with a counter
  • Yoko geri: moving back and to the side with nagashi uke, spinning behind to deliver enpi uchi, then spinning back as a reset (boy did that help with the dojo spinning)
  • Mawashi geri: stepping at 45 degrees past the opponent with kizami tsuki, then stepping with the front foot away (now at 90 degrees) throwing shuto uchi to the neck, optionally followed with a throw
  • Ushiro geri: shuffling back (to get the correct distance for the counter) with nagashi uke, then continuing the body round (in the same way as the block) with an ushiro geri counter, after which the kicking leg was returned to its original position without touching the floor on the way back


Once we had been able to remember these defences we paired up and, slowly but with increasing speed, went through them again, all the while Sensei Eudan wandering between us making helpful comments and giving the occasional praise.


Sensei Manning joined us towards the end of the proceedings and took us through Kankudai. Once we had done this a couple of times we were joined by Sensei Eudan who stood at the opposite side of the class so that those who weren’t sure of it had someone to watch.


After training, as any of you who have been on a TSKA residential will know, came the turn of the dreaded beach training. This has always involved some basics and take downs on the sand, sometimes with kata training, followed by some basics standing waist heigh in the freezing sea. I have not yet met anyone who actually enjoys standing in the sea whilst punching, kicking and blocking, though everyone (myself included) always leave with spirits heigh and looking forward to the next year’s sojourn. This time was to be different, however: since the weather had been very blustery and rainy, it had been decided to perhaps just paddle in the waters for the sake of safety. So we duly assembled on the sand, facing the cold, cold waters and started our training – stretching followed by some simple basics and the occasional sprint to the water and back to get the blood flowing. We then practised some takedowns. These involved the opponent throwing oi tsuki whilst the defender blocked soto uke, turning into enpu uchi. After that first strike, the defender was to turn and throw a second enpi with the other elbow and then continue the turn, taking the opponent down and finishing with something suitable. And then we headed into the sea for our “paddle”. After an initial safety briefing “keep the children in sight at all times and keep them shallow”, we proceeded into the iceberg riddled waters (ok, I made that up) to throw some kicks, punches and blocks along with loud kiais that seemed to be drowned out by the crashing waves (though I do find they help in these situations). Finally, after over an hour standing in that cold water (well, alright, 10 minutes but it seemed longer), we headed out to the warm sand and then on to a warm shower.


Sunday evening saw the Wantage crew sitting comfortably in the boudoir being entertained by the crooner whilst drinking the final supply of gin, vodka, cider, lager and anything else that came to hand. A fitting end to the day.


Monday morning began, as it tends to do, and the TSKA karateka all headed down to the sport centre for the last day of training. After the standard warmup, the dan grades were initially presented with Sensei Mitchell who, as usual, got us thinking and questioning our karate and why we do things the way we do them. We looked at some standard combinations (particularly the soto uki, enpi uchi, ukraken, gyaku tsuki, gedan barai combination) and how they may be used more effectively and in a way that might actually work, rather than the typical applications I have heard so many times before. After practising this with a partner for a while the lesson was (all too quickly) finished and we stood in front of Sensei Manning. We started off with blocking age uke (hidari) gedan barai (migi) from standing. Some of the senior grades could see what was coming and I looked forward to practising Sochin with relish – one of my favourite katas. We then practised sochin dache and then, finally, went on to spending some time with the complete kata. After this we split into groups and were given some bag work, first punching (1 minute punching a bag is a lot harder than it sounds!) and then applying heisa geri. At this stage I thought the lesson must surely be at an end, but Sensei Manning had one further exercise for us. We paired up and did some light freestyle kumite and then, after a few changes of this, continues in groups of three with two against one. Never one to shirk a (controlled) fight, Sensei Manning volunteered myself and Paul Edwards to fight against him by means of a demonstration. Having demolished us he then got us all to continue in a similar vein for a while until, tired but elated, the lesson and thus the course finished for another year.


As is usual on these courses, there was a TSKA grading and I am happy to report that Kerry Cross and Ian Jordan were both graded to 1st dan black belt and Karolina Nenca was graded to 4th kyu purple/white belt.


So ended another TSKA residential. The enthusiasm of the instructors was, of course, evident, as was their knowledge and approachability. But what struck home for me was how the standard of karate is improving within the TSKA. It is clear that the senior instructors are looking at how karate can be used effectively and efficiently (rather than never questioning things and doing moves by rote, as I have seen before). As you may be able to guess from the above, I enjoyed the course once again and am looking forward to 2010, and the 7th TSKA residential.


Dave Paine

Sensei Velibor Dimitrijevic training course

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Sensei Velibor Dimitrijevic training course 8/9th November 2008


Sensei Velibor Dimitrijevic was one the closest assistants to the late Taiji Kase Sensei and is based in Athens. He is also President of Shotokan Karate-Do Academy of Serbia. A full biography can be found on his homepage http://www.vebodo.com/index.htm. Two three hour courses, and a one hour lecture were given by Sensei Vebo in November 2008.


Kase-Ha style focus on strong rooted stance with positive connection with the floor. The body focus by tensioning all the muscles at a single instance.


Breathing technique

In order to understand the correct method by which to breathe when applying karate techniques a simple kata was practised. Breathing technique comes from the diaphragm so that as one breathes in the belly inflates and contracts on breathing out. Whilst breathing out all of the bodies muscles tense so that the body becomes a single solid mass rooted to the floor.


Zanshin kata

The kata was practised in three different stances: yoi dachi, han zenkutso dachi and fudo dachi

Start with yoi dache.

Breathing in, prepare for kakewaki (wedge block), breathing out as the move is completed

Breathing in, bring right hand back to hikite

Breathe out, gyaku zuki

Repeat kakewaki and punch with the other hand


Breathing in, prepare for kakewaki. Breathe out complete move with open hands.

Breathe in and bring both hands to hikite position.

Breathe out, both open hands move out as if punching, however, there is no tension in the hands.

Repeat the last two moves twice.


Breathe in, maewashi uke (round house block) to prepare position (when practised in han zenkutso dachi or fudo dachi this is done whilst moving backwards). Breathe out, as hands push forward, heiko shotei zuki (open palm strike with both hands upper and lower).

Repeat (stepping back) maewashi uke, heiko shotei zuki.

When performing this kata in han zenkutso dachi or fudo dachi it is important to breathe in before moving and to tension all muscles when breathing out.


Practising stance, moving and blocks

Starting from han zenkutso dachi

1. Sugi ashi backwards into fudo dachi with age uke, gyaku zuki. Breathe in as front foot meets with rear foot and breathe out into stance.

2. Yori ashi: front foot steps out with left foot 45deg to outside, turning(clockwise) 45deg to face opponent; kizami zuki.

3. Oi ashi, rear foot(right)step through 45deg inside turning(anticlockwise) 45deg to face opponent; kizami zuki, gyaku zuki.

4. As 1, suri ashi back into fudo dachi, mae geri.

5 As 2, step 45deg outside(left) mawashi geri, step back 45deg; kizami zuki.

6. As 3, step 45deg inside(right) yoko geri kikomi, step back 45deg(anticlockwise); kizmai zuki, gyaku zuki.


Stance and movement 1 is repeated using different blocks, age, tate, otoshi, soto, uchi. All followed by gyaku zuki.


Partner work

A: Attacker: oi zuki jodan. Defender: age uke, gyaku zuki

B: Repeat attacker blocks the defender’s gyaku zuki with otoshi uke

C: As part B after attacker blocks gyaku zuki he steps backwards to create a space between his opponent.


E: Attacker oi zuki chudan. Defender: soto uke, gyaku zuki

F: As part E, defender move 45deg off line to the outside of the attack.

G: As part F, defender step through kosa dachi(cross legged stance) into zenkutsu(or fudo) dachi ura ken


H: Attacker: oi zuki jodan. Defender: open hand ura uke (open handed block that come out in a straight line form the body with a small outward motion towards the end) to the shoulder.

I: Block as part H plus defender prepares, with right hand, open handed shuto uchi during block and strikes to the collar bone.

J: As part I dropping weight as shuto uchi makes contact with collar bone.

K: As part J, defender’s blocking hand takes attacker’s wrist and steps back 45deg (anticlockwise) whilst dropping their weight to take the attacker to the ground.


L: Attacker: oi zuki jodan. Defender nagashi uke

M: As part L defender traps attacker’s arm with left forearm behind the attacker’s elbow and the right forearm against the attacker’s wrist.

N: As part M defender turns clockwise into the block and drops their weight to take attacker to the ground. Note this move is achieved entirely with body movement: there should be no strength in the arms.



A one hour lecture was presented Sensei Vebo in which he described the transfer of power, used in karate techniques, from a bio-mechanical point of view. In a simplistic sketch of the body, figure 1, Sensei described the body as consisting of 206 bones, connected by 10-12 major joints. The body can be thought of as a scaffold, connected a a few major joints, that is held in place by the application of muscles tension. When the heels push against the floor that push is transmitted through the body, provided that the limbs are locked to the body by the application of muscles to the joints.


Figure 1:Sketch of the skeleton showing the major joints (shown as circles)

Figure 1:Sketch of the skeleton showing the major joints (shown as circles)





Figure 2: With correct posture a stance can be used to transmit power to the point of contact

Figure 2: With correct posture a stance can be used to transmit power to the point of contact



To make a good technique the bones and joints must be aligned, by the muscles, in the correct stance, figure 2. By pushing the heels against floor power from the leg muscles is transmitted through the legs into the hara. Simultaneous tensioning of the bodies other major muscles groups focuses the power to a single point, e.g., the fist. In addition to oi zuki, this was demonstrated by subtle realignment of age uke. By aligning the bones and joints in the arm and shoulder to the body the ability of the blocking arm to bear weight dramatically change, and therefore increase the effectiveness of the block.


Breathing exercises

Sensei Vebo detailed some breathe exercises in order to improve control of the hara.

1: Breathe in for 5s , hold breath for 5s, then breathe out for 5s. Try to increase the breathing out period to 10s, 15s, 20s, 30s….

2: Hara conditioning, tension and release the hara rapidly, say every second, with regular timing for at least 30 repetitions. Try to increase the number of repetitions.

3: In yoi dachi blocking and striking techniques were practised in combination with breathing. The exercise started performing age uke whilst breathing in (no tension), followed by otoshi uke breathing out, breathing in tate uke , breathing out soto uke. And so on for gidan bari , uchi uke, kizami zuki, ura ken. On the breathing out stage the whole body is tensed so that there is a strong connection of the blocking arm to the rest of the body. The exercise was repeated with breathing out for age uke, breathing in for otoshi uke……..



Combining breathing and movement

Taking the scheme 3 from the breathing exercises above the basic blocks and strikes were combined with sugi ashi. The exercise was performed in fudo dachi with full foot movement, i.e. feet came together rather than halfway. From yoi dachi, breathe in and then, whilst breathing out, step forward into fudo dachi age uke. Next sugi ashi backwards, breathing in as the feet come together and breathing out into fudo dachi otoshi uke. Complete the other techniques in the same manner: breathing in as the feet come together, breathe out into technique. Moving forward tate uke, back soto, forward gidan bari, back uchi uke, forward kizami zuki. Step 45deg inside ura ken (same hand) turn 45deg (anticlockwise) gidan bari. Move to right into kosa dachi (breathe in), breathe out into fudo dachi ura ken. Turn 90deg anticlockwise gidan bari.



Basai dai was practised with emphasis on using the heel’s reaction against the floor to initiate movement. Points to note were for choko zuki uchi uke(moves 8-13) only to block side foot twists 45deg, not both feet, so that the power in the block is focused forward rather than out sideways. Also, when moving into kokutso dachi the rear foot twist on the heel. Basai dai was also practised in which the traditional timing of the kata- fast, slow movements, pauses, etc., were replaced by a more flowing, faster, regularly spaced timing in order to better reflect jiyu kumite.


The first 6 moves of Jihon were practised with emphasis on the use of the reacting hand, particularly for age uke. The kata was also performed in ura, go and ura go forms.


Steve Reynolds

TSKA Residential 2008

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It is probably my age. In fact I am sure it is. Positive, in fact. They do say that as you get older time seems to speed up and this must be the reason why the previous year shot by and Friday May 19th, 2008 saw a group of Wantage Karate Club members heading down to Devon Cliffs near Exeter for yet another TSKA residential karate course.


Once again the club had a decent number of attendees for this annual event with twelve karateka (along with associated families) turning up at the caravan park for wine, beer (well, lager anyway), gin and singing. Oh yes, and some karate training.


Training started relatively early with a group session on the beach where we practised Wankan (what an excellent start to a course!) for close to an hour. Of course, this was just a taster for the main event which was to be three three hour long training classes at the local sport centre, taught by Senseis Peter Manning, John Eudan, Gary Roberts and Paul Mitchell.


Note to self. I must not drink wine before training. I must notdrink wine before training. I must notdrink wine before training. I must notdrink wine before training. I must notdrink wine before training.


After training, the Wantage crew headed to the bar and began the drinking in earnest whilst watching a Queen tribute band do their thing (I thought they were rather good, though there was some disagreement about this). Their set finished around midnight and we dutifully trotted back to our caravans to sleep in order to be fresh for the morning’s training. Of course, we were far too excited to sleep and thus ended up spending three more hours drinking and singing in the ladies’ caravan (thank you Brenda, Kay and Kerry). Think of it as an extended nightcap. Once more, young Tony played a blinder with his guitar playing, as he likes to point out, two kinds of music (both country and western).


Tony gives it some

Tony on the guitar


Saturday morning dawned bright and early. A couple of hours later we all surfaced, grabbed some sustenance and prepared for some serious karate. As is the norm at the TSKA residential, the karateka were split into three groups, dan grades, brown belts and coloured belts. After a warm up and some basic stretches we were introduced to some kihon waza designed to help finish the warm up and tune our minds to karate. It consisted of groups of four techniques: jodan oi tzuki forwards, turn age uke, returning with age uke towards the back of the dojo, turn soto uke, soto uke forwards, turn uchi uke, returning with uchi uke, turn shuto uke, shuto uke forwards, turn double gedan barai, returning mae geri chudan, turn gedan barai then kamae, mae geri jodan, turn kiba dache, yoko geri kiagi in both directions (to practise both legs of course) then yoko geri kekomi in both directions, turn then mawashi geri back to the rear of the dojo. Once these moves had been completed, each row in turn was required to sprint to the front of the dojo, touch the wall and sprint back, tagging the next karateka.


This technique was practised once slowly and then once fast, after which most of us were ready for a rest, not the start of a karate lesson. The combination was used to hep warm up at the start of each of the three sessions, so we always knew of something to “look forward to”.


Sensei Roberts took the dan grades initially. We practised gyaku-tzuki followed by same-arm Gedan barai and then steping forward gyuku tzuki. We also practised tai sabakai with onus on a straight back when turning and decoupling the turning of the head from the body to avoid becoming giddy. This then progressed onto ushiro-geri as the next technique on the combination. Finally we practised empi strike and block/trap to emphasis leverage principles based on the distance of the arm from the body.





The wantage club prepares to train

Time passed, as it tends to do, and before we knew it the training had finished and the afternoon was upon us. Sadly there was football on the box, and try as I might I could not get most of the club members to see the folly of their ways and eschew the game in favour of a visit to the recently opened Stabucks café. I managed, however, to persuade Kerry to join me in savouring that naughty bean (the persuasion went along the lines of “Kerry, fancy a coffee?” … “yeah, alright”) and we headed off for some caffeine and a natter. We returned bearing perhaps the greatest gift of all for our fellow karateka (coffee) to find the game on TV had finished and everyone had decided to play it for real!



Dave, Kerry and Brenda with the naughty bean



That evening there was some very sad news. Since Tony had mistakenly booked himself to play at a performance (back in Oxfordshire) he had to leave us, taking his guitar with him to make the trek home for the gig leaving us with just alcohol for company. Being the resourceful people that we are we managed to entertain ourselves with said alcohol and a take-out Chinese meal.




Paul, Carolina and Chris on the guitar


Sunday dawned once more and training occurred. To show true spirit and incredible fortitude, Tony joined us for the training, haven driven through the night to return after his gig. True grit!


Sensei Eudan was allocated the dan grades initially and he helped us compare the trajectories of both kekomi & keage, initially from standing and then from a freestyle stance. We moved on to practise ura mawashi geri blockint with tate shuto uke and then counter to attackers back. We also used some basic blocks including the much ignored uchi uke that is unforgiving if timing is wrong. We finished off with some partner work: -attcker- Jodan mawashi followed by uraken and finish gyaku tzuki. -defender- Jodan uchi and nagashi uke to block the first two techniques. – attacker- jodan Oi-tzuki, – defender- slide to outside and counter with gazami-tzuki.


Following on from this, Sensei Manning gave us some bag work – gyaku tzuki, mae geri, kekomi and mawashi geri. It is a lot of fun trying to power the techniques into something solid and gauging the bag holder’s reaction! We then moved on to some advance kicking focused on mae geri, kekomi and mawashi having a common initial stage of a forward knee lift to disguise kick. It was emphasised this should not be taught to beginners as the correct muscle strength should be developed from basics. We analysed the knee position on mawashi to deliver more power, seeing it must go past the target and not point at target. Rapid knee lift and pull back of foot was emphasised in partner work where the target withdrew at kick impact leaving the attacker holding their leg out with hips thrust forward, to ensure correct balance. We finished with close in sparring practise with the opponent’s back to the wall followed by some ground based grappling. Unfortunately, our chief instructor Sensei Paul, during this groundwork, had his head accidentally introduced to the very hard floor resulting in a very fetching shade of purple above his left eye.



Paul tends to his new injury



The full glory


For those who have been on one of the TSKA residential courses, the very word “Sunday” should strike a chord and many memories, because Sunday is the day when the “real” beach training happens (not be confused by the occasional beach training on the Friday evening). After some relatively gentle training and then some kata (the black belts were given Gankaku, which isn’t easy on sand, and Tekki Nidan) we practised some throws and take down (lots of fun on the beach) before the age old joy of entering the sea to practise some punches, kicks and blocks (with the children safely and sensibly supervised). The waves were pretty high this year, which was nice, and the water was as cold as ever.


Note to self. Don’t wear a lightweight gi into the sea since they turn see-through! (Fortunately, I didn’t).


After a good shower and some food, we all headed back to the caravan to sing and drink. A play station had been brought along together with some karaoke games and thus the evening’s entertainment more or less provided itself.



Kerry and Kay go large



Big Dave and Big Steve … with small voices


Monday morning dawned … well, you get the picture. This time the dan grades were allocated Sensei Mitchell who took us through gojushiho-dai. Time seemed (for me, at least) to speed past at this stage. His evident love of the kata shone through and we moved from there to some more realistic bunkai for it. After perhaps a couple of hours of this, Sensei Manning took us through kanku sho, showing us some specific details and nuances to ensure we were comfortable with the kata. Once we finished training we prepared to leave the dojo for another year.


All four instructors came across as knowledgeable and capable yet friendly and approachable. They brought many new aspects to the training (there is always so much to learn) and helped re-invigorate us.




As we prepared to head off, Chris Bell attempted his shodan black belt and, of course, passed the grade (he had been training too hard for too long not to). Carolina Nenca passed her 6th kyu (green belt). Well done Chris and Carolina!


Thus the TSKA 2008 Spring Residential ended on a very positive note for us all. In chatting to the other Wantage karateka since the course I know that everyone thoroughly enjoyed it. At the rate time is speeding on I look forward to next week and the TSKA 2009 Spring Residential.


Dave Paine & Paul Edwards

Sensei Aidan Trimble 7th dan, Wantage Spring Course 2008

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Session 1. Novice to 4th kyu


This lesson focused on the use of blocks as strikes, namely Shuto, Soto, uchi and age-uke. The defender (Uke-te) was constrained from moving sideways or backwards and in each case stepped at 45° forward to the out side of the attacker’s (Tsuki-te) Oi–tsuki while pivoting back to face the direction in which he or she had just come from. Shuto (using the leading hand), soto (reverse hand), uchi (leading hand) and age-uke (reverse hand) were used in each case to deflect the Oi-tzuki.


In the case of Shuto, Soto and uchi-uke a transfer of weight onto the opposite leg with a change of direction was accompanied by the other arm applying the same technique as a strike to the chest/neck of the Tsuki-te. The direction of the counter attacking being in the weakest direction for the attacker’s zenkutsu dachi, i.e. 45° forward to the out side. Sensei Trimble stressed that the resulting strike should be driven by the core and weight transfer rather than the use of the arms. In the case of age-uke the Tsuki-te’s leading arm was grabbed and an arm bar applied to the elbow across the Uke-te’s shoulder. A hammer fist strike (Tetsu uchi) subsequently followed to the Tsuki-te’s groin with a transfer to neko ashi dachi.


Session 2. Brown & Black belt kata


The kata Jion was studied and broken down into component parts for Bunkai. Oyo partner work cleverly catered for traditional, sport and close quarter applications. Two examples of the opening move being a left hand gedan barai against mai geri followed by either an uchi uke to block a jodan tsuki or an immediate ura tsuki counter. The corresponding counter following the uchi uke consist of a choke applied in a 45° stance angle in the tsuki-te weakest direction. The choke being applied by the uke-te’s leading left hand grabbing the inside left of the attackers gi collar with the palm facing out initially, then pulling down and taking up the slack. The uke-te’s right hand sliding in simultaneously high on the inside of the tsuki’s right, grabbing the gi and using this as leverage applying seiken straight to the throat.

Manji Kamae featured stepping back at 45° and blocking a mai geri, jodan gyaku tsuki combination with gedan barai and jodan uchi uke. A subsequent jodan kizami-tsuki was blocked with nagashi uke and countered kage tzuki. Sensei Trimble noted that the hook punch had the potential as a very strong punch but it was necessary to drive the hips into the target. Another manji-kamae application feature deflecting a mai geri with a rear hand gedan barai while simultaneously pivot (without the feet position shifting) from a front stance to a back stance facing diagonally behind. The new rear hand simultaneously striking the tsuki’s face/neck with the forearm. The leading arm then grabbed and pulled the opponent across the front of the defender followed by a kage tzuki.

Close quarter application of the jodan jude uke –uraken uchi and ura tzuki combination and palm heal strikes (Teisho Uchi) combinations to the elbow and jaw completed the bunkai work.



Session 3 Brown & Black belt kumite


Following kicking practise various supporting foot orientations were demonstrated for the correct application of kicks. Mae geri, notionally forward facing with a minor deviation allowed, mawashi geri beyond 90º from the target, more like diagonally behind, ushiro geri facing backwards with the trajectory of the kicking foot replicating an upside down mae geri.

Partner drills consisted of a mawashi geri attack with the defender stepping back at 45º into Shiko Dachi (Square Stance) and palming down the kick with the leading hand and countering gyaku tsuki. The 2nd iteration featured a grab and instantaneous jerk of the Tzuki-te’s Gi prior to spinning and striking empi uchi. The 3nd iteration had the attacker immediately changing legs after the kick prior to landing. This enabled the attacker to block the counter reverse punch with gedan barai and continue turning to deliver an ushiro geri. The 4rd iteration featured the uke-te stepping through avoiding the ushiro geri while hooking the kicking leg and taking the tzuki-te to the ground.

Various kicking attacks from a common starting position were practised. Following a step over, the resulting front knee, held in a half front facing position enabled either mawashi geri, ura mawashi geri or yoko geri kekomi to be used. The Uke-te remained static and attempted to predict which kick and subsequently block it with the leading hand.

The last drill of the day worked on reactions and consisted of part facing each other in left jiyu kamae. When commanded both sides slide to the left with the front leg, then stepped through with the rear leg and then sharply turned with the rear leg and punched gyaku tsuki at each other simultaneously.

Many attendees commented just how enjoyable and informative the course was. Special thanks goes to DRC Construction for their generous sponsorship of the event without which hosting one of the biggest names in UK karate would not have been feasible for the Wantage Club. The day finished with a beer, Thai meal and many a story to contemplate.

Paul Edwards



The senior grades after the first training session


Thanks you for the help, Dave!

lPaul Edwards, sponsor Dave and son Mark, Aidan Trimble



Pete Manning, Aidan Trimble, Paul Edwards

Sensei Aiden Trimble Course

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On Sunday 16th March, Wantage Karate Club hosted a spring course with Sensei Aiden Trimble, 7th dan head of the Federation of Shotokan Karate, in the Wantage Leisure Centre from 12:30 to 17:00.


Residential 2007

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I realise that this report has taken along time to write, but you must understand that when you get to my age, the memory isn’t quite what it should be and I have only just remembered that I attended, you might wonder why bother to write the report now and the fact of the matter is I said I would write one and so here it is, as the event was nearly a year ago, I’m sure you will forgive any omissions.

Holly and I set off, for the lovely County of Devon, unfortunately, I bought some Famous Five tapes for her to listen to on the way down, and this seemed to make the journey longer rather than shorter, mistake number one.

Thankfully the weather was better this year, and the customary afternoon training session on the beach was able to take place, unfortunately I had consumed a large curry and was unable to take part, mistake number two, (so far I’m not doing very well, however, mistake number three was to be my real undoing), so I took over camera duties. The training was enjoyed by all, and plans were made for the following days training at the local sports centre. The following days training started with a good vigorous warm up to warm all the muscle groups, and to make sure we were all ready for the training that was to follow, a lot of the days training was partner work, which was great, as it gives you the opportunity to assess your speed and accuracy against a moving target, also it helps the karate-ka get used to having someone try and “attack” him/her, and although the training was hard, judging by the smiling faces at the end of it all, everyone seemed happy.

This was followed by another beach session, which I again managed to miss, due to an ankle injury.

Sunday’s training focussed on Kihon and Kata as there was a Kyu and Dan grading to come on Monday, this gave everyone who was grading the opportunity, to sharpen up the little things, that can mean the difference between failing and passing a grading, and all those who weren’t grading the chance to correct the small mistakes that creep in whenever complacency raises it’s head, so another useful session for everyone !.

Another beach session followed, and this was where I made mistake number three, I had been asked to attend the session wearing my Gi, even though I was not training, what I didn’t know was that it had been decided that maybe I had enjoyed myself a little too much at the expense of others, and while I was laughing at the guy’s in the freezing water, I failed to notice four black belts heading straight for me, I only became aware of their intentions, when they had hoisted me off the ground and headed for the sea, now I know why my mensa application was refused, and I was unceremoniously dumped in the sea, much to the delight of all watching !.

The final day’s training, again focussed on basics, when we were all again pushed to try and improve, there’s always some improvement that can be made, and finally to the grading itself, and I’m pleased to say a successful grading for all concerned, a good way to end the course.

Looking back on the weekend, I found it very enjoyable, although physically very tiring, I think the main plus points are the training with different sensei’s, and different partners, and the socialising within the association, definitely a good weekend, and I’m sure 2008 will be just as good.

Richard Ward

Sensei Kanazawa Course, 18/11/07

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Opened by repeating Saturday drill: choku zuki. First, half way hand position: tate, ura zuki. Push through, no hip movement.


From zenkutsu dachi: First, no hands open and close hips: Using a book Sensei Kanazawa showed that the hips pivot not about the centre but about the edge, i.e. the hips hinge around the front leg like a door opening and closing. This so power is projected forwards and there is no backwards movement.


In zenkutsu dachi practised opening and closing hips using one hand on the hip; to push the hips closed or to hold the hinge in place. Repeated punching exercise, as choku zuki, in zenkutsu dachi with same half way hands position: it is important that the hips do not move before the halfway position and only open/close once the half way position has been passed


Mini kata: stepped down migi oy zuki; move back shuto uke, kokotsu dachi, gyaku zuki; 45 degree gedan barai, kiba dachi(important that the stance and gedan barai finish at the same time); step forward oy zuki fudo dachi; step back oy zuki fudo dachi; right turn back 270 degrees kiba dachi empi; turn back 180 degree kiba dachi empi; pull back neko ashi dachi gedan barai; turn left 90 degree mawashi uke(tora guchi); step forward mawashi uke; yame


Hangetsu:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ebJlhR6Tns Before each move take a short rapid breathe in then exhale over about 2 seconds. Before moving into next stance straighten feet in direction of travel. Move 7: breathe in; move 8/9 breathe out for all of 8 and some of 9 until after hands cross then breathe in; move 10, breathe in during upward hand movement then breathe out on down stroke; move 11, take quick breathe when rotating hand; move 41 should take about 3 seconds(1 second breathe in, 2 seconds breathe out.


Gojushiho sho(dai):Sensei Kanazawa has swopped the order of these two katas to reflect their relative difficulty (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggSdKBcMSBQ)


Ippon kumite: Demonstration of three responses for kizami zuki, gyaku zuki; ushiro geri. Practised one kizami attack. Defence: front leg step 45, gyaku uraken, gyaku zuki Practised one gyaku zuki attack. Defence: front leg step 45, turn towards opponent kizami zuki, gyaku zuki.


Steve Reynolds









Master Class with Richard Amos

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Brenda, Kay and Paul attended an open ‘Master Class’ with Richard Amos Sensei – 6th Dan (Renshi) and World Traditional Karate Organisation Chief Instructor on Saturday 4th November 2006. The course was held at Hemel Hempstead and hosted by Sensei Malcolm Phillips 6th Dan of Seishinkai Shotokan Karate International. The following day the World Traditional Karate Organisation’s 2nd UK WTKO Championship was held at the Seishinkai Honbu Dojo… Saturday’s course consisted of two separate sessions lasting almost two hours. Both sessions attracted in excess of 100 participants. The theme was smoothness of movement and body compression to facilitate acceleration.

The first drill focussed on the immediate retraction of the leading hand when stepping with oi-zuki to improve forward acceleration. Sensei Amos stressed the importance of initial explosive pull back of the arm timed with the forward thrust of the rear leg to maximise body acceleration. The feeling of pulling an opponent towards you was then further developed by partnering up and using a facing partner as an anchor to react against. It was explained that oi-zuki wasn’t a natural movement and was infact opposite to the body’s natural gate of opposing arm and leg in unison. However having captured the feeling it could be transferred to easier combinations.

Sensei Amos stated that the most emphasis during training focused on the end stages of technique at the point of kime. However one should be prepared to strike the target at any stage along the striking limb’s trajectory. Subsequently delaying movement of the fist at the start of the technique may later prove to be detrimental. The starting positions of rising and outside blocks were then examined in detail. In the case of rising block the shoulder, arm and hip were fully compressed in a gyaku-hanmi position. This enabled the compact shoulder to provide the foundation to react against. While in the case of the outside block the upper arm was held out perpendicular to the ear with the lowerarm completely relaxed and flopped down on top of the shoulder. This emphasis on relaxation and recoil of techniques was practiced with partners moving up and down the Dojo in a Sanbon kumite style exercise utilising same arm blocking and counter-attacking at speed.


< < <

Role Direction Initial technique Followed by
Tzuki-te (attacker) Forward Oi-tzuki jodan Soto-uke chudan
Uke-te (defender) Backwards Age-uke Gyaku-tzuki chudan
Tzuki-te (attacker) Forward Oi-tzuki cudan Age-uke
Uke-te (defender) Backwards Soto-uke chudan Kizami-tsuki jodan

Role Direction Initial technique Followed by Tzuki-te (attacker) Forward Oi-tzuki jodan Soto-uke chudan Uke-te (defender) Backwards Age-uke Gyaku-tzuki chudan Tzuki-te (attacker) Forward Oi-tzuki cudan Age-uke Uke-te (defender) Backwards Soto-uke chudan Kizami-tsuki jodan

This concept was taken forward with Mae geri, with Sensei concentrating on the recoil of the kick combined with fast body rotation. This led into looking at the Kata Kanku Dai putting the concepts of the training session to use in various sections of the Kata such as the Mae geri sequences and the choku tzuki – uchi uke combination. Sensei Amos is scheduled to return for further master classes on 24/25th November 2007.

Paul Edwards

Sensei Elwyn Hall 2005 Course

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On Saturday 24th September club members travelled to Tisbury, Devon for an association organised kumite course. The normal keen students attended Brenda, Kay, Ben and myself. Needless to say the travelling arrangements and organisation of the trip down there is worthy of a report on its own. To say that Kay was totally responsible for the party eventually arriving late, running around Hungerford playing car spotting and then consequently getting stuck behind a car crash with supporting air ambulance is a little harsh, but factually true!

None of us had previously trained with Sensei Elwyn Hall but I think most of us had at some time seen a selection of his Shotokan Street wise videos. Add to this his achievements as a previous European and World Team Champion, we were all looking forward to a impressive course. We weren’t disappointed!

The first half of the course worked on a range of techniques practise in a kihon format. With the onus being on keeping the heel down of the rear foot and using the resultant equal and opposite force as the foundation of the technique. Partner work was also practised to avoid unnecessary movement of the front leg that telegraphs your intent prior to a rear leg technique. Sensei stressed that Kihon enables us to learn the fundamentals and principles that can be applied to kumite, but that kumite was significantly different.

After a short water break Sensei Hall demonstrated the kumite dynamics involved with a number of techniques. Power from a Gyaku tzuki was increased by the forward shift of the centre of gravity with a twisting of the hips, rather than a static twist. The majority of Sensei’s weight distribution (>75%) was compressed on the rear leg. This compression was then used to catapult the centre of gravity towards the target. To maximise power in the technique the movement should be driven towards the opponent at the same height without dropping the centre of gravity.

This principle was also applied to gazami-tzuki and front leg mawashi-geri techniques. Sensei stressed the differences in a boxers front jab to gazami-tsuki. The karate strike should incorporate the whole body weight behind the technique. Partner work was practise with the emphasis of making distance and delivering a powerful strike to the top of the chest at the union of the collarbones.

Sensei Hall’s impressive acceleration from a static posture was generated by his low centre of gravity and push off of the rear leg. Awesome displays of this were then demonstrated on a couple of the association’s senior instructors, with, I might add the delight of the vast majority of their students (I wonder what ‘divine retribution’ is in Japanese?) One notable example featured a side step to the out side and a counter with a rear leg mawashi geri and step back. This followed immediately with a devastating sweep, or should I say gedan kick with the same leg that floored our association’s chief instructor and caused all observers to wince in unison.

It was interesting to see how Sensei Hall adapted his height, weight distribution and centre of gravity to maximise his techniques. A simple concept that all advanced karate-ka should apply to suit their own bodies instead of getting too constrained by kihon based stances. This follows Fundakoshi’s 17th precept of “Beginners must master low stance and posture, natural body positions are for the advanced.”

Paul Edwards

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