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Midlands Koryukan Summer Camp 2016
The first KU Summer Camp hosted by the Midlands Koryukan took place at the Kings Sutton Millennium Memorial Hall, Astrop Road, Kings Sutton, Oxfordshire. Karate enthusiasts from all around the UK attended to train in the drills and practices of Koryu Uchinadi. The instructors included Shidoin Jeff Capstick from the Midlands Koryukan, Shidoin Joost Frehe from the East London Koryukan, Sensei Alan Richardson, Sensei Ciaran McDonald and Sensei Derren Fielder.
After all the arrangements, the mats were down and the event kicked off at 5pm with a short welcome introduction to all the attendees. Sensei Alan Richardson led the class through a series of application practices from Aragaki Seisan, and then linked these back to the ritualised template of the solo kata. The blend of chokes and strangles, pressure points, takedowns, receiving techniques of percussive impact along with joint locks and cavity seizes, certainly got the sweat flowing from all corners of the room!!
Saturday morning started with Sensei Derren Fielder leading a class on breakfalling methods and then into various throws found within the KU curriculum. The session started with a lecture about the important of breakfalling in order to safely practice throws and takedowns. The breakfalls were performed individually and also as partner drills, gradually increasing the level of difficulty to more effectively simulate being thrown. These were broken down to illustrate the important aspects of throwing, including unbalancing your opponent and sticking to them. This was then demonstrated in a variety of different throws, including O’soto gari, O’goshi, harai goshi and several more. Sensei Fielder then developed these throws into a short drill whereby one partner escaped the first throw and then was thrown with a second throw to show how some throws can be effectively linked together.
After lunch, Sensei Ciaran McDonald took the group through KU’s quadrant drill. This drill is designed to develop effective ways to receive and respond to various types of percussive impact. The drill was taught in short sections, allowing the participants to practice their individual techniques, which were then linked back into various combinations to help to develop functional spontaneity.
After a short coffee break, Sensei Jeff Capstick taught various ne waza techniques. The session began with a short explanation about the five ancient machines and their importance in applying techniques with the maximum amount of efficiency. These were analysed in detail to demonstrate how to effectively apply various techniques, such as the arm wedge crush, bent arm locks, straight arm locks and the aptly named “Hell Strangle”!! From there, Sensei Capstick moved into leg locking techniques, demonstrating how to maximise the effectiveness of these techniques through a proper understanding of anatomy and physiology and the application of the five ancient machines. Virtually everyone in the class managed to increase the pain caused in the Achilles tendon crush significantly, just by a couple of simple alterations to how the method is usually taught. Heel hooks and toe press techniques brought the session near to a conclusion, but the final point was a focus on straight knee bars, with particular importance on the role of controlling the foot to prevent escape.
Saturday evening saw the group enjoying a barbeque dinner together at the dojo. A few beers and a few stories led to some great laughs, particularly as the evening went on, and it was a great way to wind down after a hard day's training.
Sunday morning started with a session on kansetsu tuite waza led by Shidoin Joost Frehe from the East London Koryukan. The session began with an informative lecture about the development of joint manipulation and cavity seizing techniques and how it plays an important role in Koryu Uchinadi. Sensei Frehe also outlined his own experiences working and developing his knowledge in this field, both from a healing and a harming perspective. After a short warm up, the group were led through a series of cavity seizes and these were then applied to various different joint manipulations to highlight the relationship between the two. These same applications were then worked as responses to Habitual Acts of Physical Violence (HAPV) and worked against gradually increasing levels of resistance. The sweat was flowing as the participants pushed themselves physically and there was a great atmosphere in the dojo to start the final day of this summer camp.
After a short break for lunch, Sensei Jeff Capstick taught various chokes and strangles. The introduction to this topic began by examining the important aspects of anatomy and physiology in relation to chokes and strangles, and how best to adversely effect the circulatory system and normal functioning of the human body when performing these techniques. The dojo was awash with the mantras of “unbalance your opponent”, “use the small-circle”, “get your cutting bone in”, and “stay tight – no spaces” as people explored these techniques. The group then began to practise how to apply these techniques from various different clinch positions whilst being grabbed by a non-compliant partner against an increased level of resistance.
Sensei Joost Frehe delivered the final session of the weekend with a great introduction into Yamane Ryu bo-jutsu. After a short lecture on the development of Yamane Ryu, Sensei Frehe demonstrated and led the class through various fundamental exercises to develop the ability to control and swing the bo, and also how to pick the bo up from the floor when it is dropped without using your hands. It only took a short while for the participants to be swinging, jumping and turning and spinning the bo with an increased level of skill and control.
This was the first weekend Koryu Uchinadi summer camp hosted by the Midlands Koryukan. It was fantastic to see everyone leaving the dojo with great big smiles on their faces and clearly buzzing from a fun and intense weekend of training. Well done to everybody, and a special thanks to Sensei Mark O’Connell for his key role in organising this event. A big thank you to Shidoin Joost Frehe, Sensei Derren Fielder and Sensei Ciaran McDonald for agreeing to teach various parts of this summer camp and delivering your sessions with such enthusiasm, and demonstrating such a high level of skill and knowledge.
Event report written by Shidoin Jeff Capstick of the Midlands Koryukan