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Friday, December 07, 2007

Kato Shihan's Christmas Course

Above: "Hammer" from IJKA Ireland grades for Shodan

Above: Sensei Sharad Karai, Gen. Secretary IJKA England

Our congratulations go to "Hammer" from Ireland, a well deserved Shodan. Sophie one of Sensei Sharad's students also attempted Shodan and has been invited by Shihan to re-grade in three months time.

The Shodan grading was both physically and mentally demanding. Shihan does not have a set grading syllabus, you can not practice your grading over and over before hand. In Kihon you are asked to undertake 6 to 8 move combinations moving forward, backwards and using multiple stances within the same combination.

Shihan Kato will explain the combination, you get to practice 2 or 3 times and then you execute the sequence with speed, power and Zanshin. Forget the combination, lack good technique, speed, power or Zanshin and you will be marked down.

A couple of weeks ago a black belt from a different association came to watch at York club with a view to training the following week. Shihan Gullen was teaching the beginners and I was taking the Purple belts. We happened to be going through combinations, we were practising some of the Shodan combinations Sensei had used for the Dan gradings in Budapest (where I believe only about 4 out of 18 students passed!) Shihan Gullen spoke to the student afterwards and asked him what he taught of our training. He informed Shihan that they didn't do it like that at his club and was concerned that it would confuse him. Unfortunately we have not seen him since.

I strongly believe that Shihan is looking to see enough in any student to pass them, he is not there to invite you back at a later date. However Shihan must maintain a standard and that standard needs to be the same throughout the Association whether in the UK , Russia or anywhere else in the world.

When you present yourself for your Shodan grading prepare to be pushed to your limits and beyond, at this point you will no longer have good technique, speed or power but you must still have Zanshin!

Shihan many thanks for the brilliant course, the hospitality of your home and the opportunity to meet with all our friends again, Merry Christmas, Osu!

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