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Selby Shotokan Karate Club

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sensei Dave Hooper JKA

The Man

Sensei Dave Hooper first took up karate as a schoolboy in England, in the 1970's. Nearly eighteen months later he made up his mind to go to Japan to train - the result of his first encounter with Osaka Sensei. He had been invited to London as a guest instructor on a special course. Within ten minutes of being in his class, Hooper Sensei realised that here was a totally different level of karate. It was this karate that he wanted to learn, and this was the person he wanted to learn from. He informed him at the end of the session that he would be coming over to Tokyo as soon as he had finished high school. He arrived at the JKA Honbu (the headquarters of the Japan Karate Association) about one year later.

Hooper sensei was shocked to find that no other Englishmen had got in ahead of him, but it was an even greater shock that four French dan-grades were already well-entrenched at the JKA: He could already see that training here was going to be far worse than he had previously imagined.

He practiced regularly, six days a week, for the next year and a half, and was awarded shodan before returning back to the UK, to begin a three-year undergraduate course at university. In order to maintain the level of training to which he had become accustomed in Japan, he ran a club at the university in Wales. During this period, he was introduced to Kawasoe Sensei, and periodically, he would travel the 250 miles down to London to practice at his own dojo - a dojo that was straight out of Japan.

Apart from a brief visit back to Japan in the summer vacation Hooper Sensei had to wait until graduation before he could return to Tokyo and resume his training at the JKA. This second stint in Japan lasted for the next four years, during which time he was invited to train at the infamous Takushoku University Karate-bu (club), from which many of the JKA instructors (Kawasoe Sensei and Osaka Sensei included) had graduated. He was also a member of Nakayama Sensei's private dojo (The Hoitsukan dojo) for a couple of years, in addition to continuing his training at the JKA.

Hooper Sensei took sandan under Nakayama Sensei in the summer of 1985, and then returned to the UK for another three years where he completed a Ph.D. in motor-control and learning, also at the University of Wales. During this period, he once again ran the university karate club, but much more on the lines of Takushoku's training regime. He was encouraged to realise that contrary to everything he was told on his return, British students were, in fact, quite receptive to this style of training.

In 1988 Hooper Sensei left Britain for the last time, and went back to Japan to live, currently working full-time in one of the major universities in Tokyo.

The Training
Helen, Rebecca, Emma and I, along with members from York and Haxby dojos attended the session which was hosted by York Kenshinkan karate Club. (Many thanks to our hosts)
Hooper Sensei was presented with a very mixed class of karateka to teach from an absolute beginner who was very keen but so new he had not had the opportunity to get a gi yet to 7th Dan. We all went away very satisfied, Hooper sensei had managed to offer something to all. Two of the younger students from York club that were only going to train for 1 hour asked to stay and train for the full session.
Hooper sensei teaches from kihon, the basics, stance, foundation, correct movement etc. what he taught was no different to what Sensei Keith, Andy, Mike and Ian teaches at our clubs but may be with a slightly different focus. What I took away from the course is that it is no good just turning up and training three nights a week. Will I improve, yes but very slowly (this has always been the case). What I need to do is think what I am trying to achieve, what I am trying to work on with each technique I do.
Whether it is trying to keep hip rotation on a level plain, or the contraction and expansion on a movement etc. I need to try and train for myself, what I need to do to get the best out of my training.
What can we learn from visiting instructors, probably not a great deal more than from our own highly qualified instructors? The difference I find is that each time we train with a visiting sensei it lifts the club students and Instructors alike. A motivation injection.

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IJKA Ireland Coure (Pt 3 of 3)

Saturday morning was a little overcast so we trained in the hotel. We had an hour to spare while the beginners/low grades trained. Sensei Kato told Rebecca to get changed quick and take the low grades. You can imagine the face on it? Once the warm ups were finished Sensei got Helen and Hammer from Ireland to join in as well. I kept well out of the way. The afternoon session was on the Beach, after a few warm ups we were ready for some serious training. We did a lot of kicking, foot techniques, ashi bari and take down training all as a lead in to Kata Training.
Sensei taught Rantai which is an Asai kata to help develop kicking and foot techniques, I quite liked it but it definitely did not suit everyone.
Sensei had us belt training again, the basics for the lower grade and then the lower grades had a chance at getting their own back. The Video show me trying my best to perform the jump in Heian Godan as the belt comes toward me. I don't think it did my old knees any favours.

Kato Sensei had Toomey Sensei teach the Kata Meikyo on Sunday morning while he undertook a dan grading. Sensei finished the course teaching another Asai Kata Rehesu, Sensei said I was too slow learning kata...I told him everyone over 6 feet tall it would take longer to learn because it Had further to go! We had been taught three new katas on the weekend and my brain was struggling.

The video above shows Helen attempt at the scissors take down, she seems a little confused? In the second video below Sensei is close at hand to give some expert tuition, watch out for the extra little kick at the end that Sensei puts in for good measure-sweet.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Course with Sensei Dave Hooper

Looking forward to training again with Sensei Dave Hooper tonight in York, will let you know what happens in a few days, but it is bound to be a great course as always.

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Ireland Course with Sensei Kato (Pt 2 of 3)

Above a few pictures of sensei Kato's course in Ireland for all to see what a great time we had.

I hope to get a final post of the weekend uploaded in the next couple of days. Enjoy, Osu!

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

FA Update

Thanks Nick, New Total now £1074.51 with gift aid.

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18-21 July 08 - Training in Ireland Pt1 of 3

Above: Training on the Beach in Ireland

Many thanks to both Brian's, Tony and Claire for your hospitality in Ireland over the weekend. For Helen, Rebecca and myself it was the first time we had trained on a beach. I will write more next week about our experiences and post a few more pictures etc.

Looking forward to seeing a few of you in Italy in a few weeks time Osu!

P.S. We all wished Sensei kato a happy 65th Birthday, I asked Sensei if everything was half price now he was a pensioner. (I was out of his reach at the time, the other side of the table)

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Facing Africa Update

Many thanks to Rob Price for his donation to Facing Africa, following his Sheffield 1/2 Marathon Run, the new total including gift aid is £942.78

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Friday, July 11, 2008

Kung Fu Panda

Above: Po
Tonight approx twenty karateka from Haxby and Selby dojos visited the cinema to see if we were to be bestowed the honour of the dragon warrior. Unfortunately Oogway chose Po.
Above:The Furious Five, Tiger, Monkey,Crane, Mantis and Viper
Much like Sensei Ian, Master Sifu struggled to impart his wisdom, but he eventually finds a way to unlock Po's warrior beneath, through his stomach.
The lesson we all learnt tonight....there is no secret ingredient!
Some say that Sensei Ian looked a little like Po on Thursday night when he instructed Rebecca to kick him Mawashi geri Jodan, he missed the block and got a toe in the eye.
For those that couldn't make it, beware... we now have all the moves and the secret of the little pinkie!

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Monday, July 07, 2008

Facing Africa Update

A Quick update on our fund raising efforts:
James kindly donated £10
The teachers of Sandgate School Kendal £71.50
The Sappers of RHQ 72 Engr Regt £100
bringing out total to date to £682.50
Thank you everyone for your contributions.


Whitchurch Course July 08

Sensei Keith, Simon, Rebecca, Helen and myself were Whitchurch bound at the weekend, for another Black and Brown Belt course.
We are honoured that Sensei Kato our chief instructor opens his house to all, Karateka travel from all over England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, and usually there are a couple from Europe as well.
Above: Sensei Billy Thompson attacks Helen
Sensei Billy and Sensei Keith travelled from Aberdeen, both formidable karateka with years of experience behind them. Unfortunately no kumite instruction from Sensei Billy this course but maybe we can get up to Aberdeen sometime?

Above: Chinte (One for the ladies?)

Chinte, often described as the ladies kata, but there is no reason why it shouldn't be performed by all karateka. I quite like it. As I have discussed before I suffer from the "frozen kata" but, I managed to get through the whole kata without freezing, when Sensei called both Sunil and myself up, after his short period of instruction.

Above: Rebecca and Helen- Kumite Practice

No chance for Rebecca to relax, Sensei seemed to be on her case all weekend, just a complement that Sensei thinks you are worth correcting. It doesn't matter if you make mistakes but you must always give 100%.

Above: Helen- Ready for action

Helen managed to blend into the background this weekend, I don't know how you managed it? Sensei can normally correct us even when he is not looking. Sunil told us at the weekend when he corrected Nick and himself and Sensei wasn't even in the same room..they could just hear him shouting that they had made "mistake!"

Above: Shihan of the BBQ?

The BBQ master at work, lots of smoke, lots of food and even the chicken was cooked.

Above:Sensei's neighbour Malcolm in Mokuso

Sensei's neighbour Malcolm is a retired Jockey and semi professional singer in his day. During the evening he sang the most beautiful song dedicated to his late wife, who sadly passed away very recently, It was a very moving rendition. Anyway in the photo above Malcolm is enjoying a period of reflection as we seem to have come to the end of a very smooth Irish Whiskey. Malcolm, god bless, our thoughts and prayers are with you.

We look forward to two weeks time when we will be travelling to Ireland to train with Sensei Kato and Sensei Brian Toomey. Osu!

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