Sensei Aidan Trimble 7th dan, Wantage Spring Course 2008
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.