Rebecca and I joined Simon and Nick from Haxby, along with Eleanor from York at Sensei Liams's dojo to train with Sensei Gary Harford. Rebecca and I have trained with Sensei before so we knew were in for a good session, and we weren't disappointed.
Above: Gary Harford Sensei - 7th Dan - KUGB
Harford Sensei - The training
Sensei had us starting with correct technique, attacking with "Koshi" (ball) for Mae geri, "Sokuto" (foot edge) for Yoko geri and "Kakato" (Heel) for Usherio geri, the focus was on maai (distancing). Sensei had us kick to the wall ensuring we did not make full extension and lean away from the target. What sensei was after was a high knee position and driving forward with the hips forward of the supporting leg.
We partnered up for Gohon kumite and again Sensei commented on Maai, too many people were at the wrong distance to execute the technique correctly. We went on to practice "Teisho" (palm Heel) and "Empi" (elbow strikes) against the wall and partners.
We then were partnered up for Ippon Kumite, our challenge from Sensei was to block "Age Uke" to the Jodan attack, but then to execute either Gyaku Zuki, Teisho or Empi as a counter. Sensei's point was that you could not decide which to counter to after the attack had started, because you were not aware of the maai until then. You only had a split second to counter.
To me this was excellent training, action/ reaction, no planning, no thinking just do it. You may have not been right all the time, but it was obvious to you when you had selected the wrong counter.
Anyway after our warm ups with the KUGB I am feeling ready for another three hours of training at our own club tonight. Liam, many thanks for the invite, hopefully we can train again soon, Osu!
Harford Sensei - The man
Harford Sensei was born in Salford, Manchester on 21/4/60. He first began Karate training in 1972, he graded to 1st Dan in 1976 under Sensei Enoeda.He was selected as a member of the first Junior KUGB Squad and competed at the 1980 European Senior and Junior Championships held in Bregenz, Austria, at which he won 1st place in the Junior Team Kata and also 1st place in the Senior Kata.
Sherry’s Sensei had an enormous impact on him which enabled him to develop. In the KUGB National Championships at Crystal Palace, his highest place was 3rd in the Kumite event and 2nd in Kata.He has won the Shotokan Cup on two separate occasions, once in Kata and once in Kumite. His main highlight was being a member of the team that for many years dominated Karate in Great Britain, Europe and the World.
Above: Harford Sensei - Go no Sen - Ippon!
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Labels: Gary Harford, Karate, KUGB, Sensei, Shotokan