A report on the recent Executive Instructors Kata Workshop by Ben Holloway.
On the sunny Saturday afternoon of the 8th of April students attended our most recent training course, headed by the three executive instructors of CFTS.
After a brief warm up led by Sensei Saunders, we were introduced to the three instructors of the day’s course; Shihan O’Reilly, Shihan McClagish and, Renshi Kidby.
Following brief introductions from all instructors we then had explained to us the key focus of the course, The Ten Elements of Kata, which would be broken down and the different elements would be led by different instructors;
- Renshi Kidby’s focus being; INYO, the active and passive movements of kata, CHIKARA NO KYOJAKU, the correct application of strength, and ZANSHIN, remaining on guard, staying mentally focused back to yoi.
- Shihan McClagish’s focus being on; TYAKUGAN, Focus, aiming points, keeping in mind the purpose of the move, KEITAI NO HOJI, Correct stance, positioning, angles and movement, and TAI NO SHINSHUKU, Expansion and contraction of the body and movement.
- Shihan O’Reilly’s focus being; WAZA NO KANKYU, speed of movement, KIAI, demonstrating martial spirit, and KOKYU, breathing relative to the movement.
Students were split into three groups, all dan grades were in one group, 1st to 4th Kyu’s in another and 5th to 10th in a third, and then spread across the school halls in our groups allowing the instructors to move between each group, working with each group for 40 minute periods.
The first rotation involved all dan grades participating in the Bo Kata Suishi-No-Con, under the instruction of Shihan McClagish focusing on the precise positioning of the body during the kata and the techniques involved. Bo is something very rarely trained with during normal training, and something even rarer to master and therefore to go into further details and to think of the application of the kata was very insightful.
Alongside this Renshi Kidby took the 1st-4th kyu’s through Jiin, a kata needed for any karateka coming up to their 1st kyu grading in the future, whilst Shihan O’Reilly took the lower grades through Heian Yondan.
The second rotation involved Shihan O’Reilly taking the dan grades through the Nidan kata Nijushiho, with emphasis on how to make kata a performance in light of our upcoming competition day. The speed of movement being something extended in an almost dramatised way, yet making the kata look more punctuated, a key thought for any grade planning on competing in any kata events this year.
Alongside this both other instructors took their group through Bassai dai, a higher grade kata, yet one which is aesthetically very strong and dynamic with lots of opportunities to demonstrate all 10 elements of kata.
Following a short break outside enjoying the sun, we returned once more for our last rotation of the day. Renshi Kidby delivered a lesson on Sepai to dan grades that had the pleasure of training outside after a quick floor sweep of broken rulers, paperclips and other things destined to end up in toes.
1st-4th kyu’s were taken through their second "J" kata of the day, Jitte, under the instruction of Shihan O’Reilly, whilst the lower grades were taken through Heian Sandan by Shihan McClagish.
To finish off the day all grades were reunited in the larger of the halls to run through the association kata Sochin, a kata which all students above brown belt must have a working knowledge of, but it is only needed for a grading at shodan. Running through it to count primarily, in order for lower grades to follow along and get their first experiences with the kata, then repeated several times, each time building in elements we’d been taught throughout the day. To end, all black belts performed the kata to the rest of the attendees and parents.
As Renshi stated repeatedly throughout the course “If each time you put on a Gi you take home one thing, it’s been worthwhile”, and it was impossible not to do so. A truly worthwhile afternoon.
Kyu Grade Attendees
Dan Grade Attendees and Executive Instructors
GO TO THE GALLERY FOR MORE IMAGES OF THE COURSE