On Saturday 11th November an incredibly large number of CFTS students gathered at our usual course venue in Kempston for a much anticipated session to be taken by Andi Kidd. He is the author of From Shotokan to the Street and has been training in martial arts for over 25 years. He is graded 4th Dan and is a fully qualified Instructor with both the British and World Combat associations. He is one of a select few to hold a full instructors teaching certificate from Iain Abernethy. His original karate style is Shotokan but has trained in many other art-forms which has given him a deeper understanding of his first love, karate.
“Andi Kidd is one of the most impressive bunkai teachers I have worked with. His ceaseless exploration of the pragmatic aspects of our tradition have seen him develop a way of approaching kata that is very holistic. Andi is not one to be trapped by dogma, but instead he questions deeply and it is this approach that ensures what he teaches is always focused on the core traditional values of functionality and practicality. It's not just Andi's material that sets him apart, it's also the way in which he delivers that material. Andi is a warm and humorous guy who is able to effectively communicate his thinking. I highly recommend Andi to anyone who wants to practise karate in a logical and open-minded way”. (Iain Abernethy)
The junior members of CFTS met noisily just before 1pm ready to train in street clothes not quite sure what to expect. To warm up they performed Heian Shodan initially slow and relaxed to count progressing on to faster and stronger. They then split up into ten groups and moved around various rooms within the school to experience the kata and some bunkai in more cramped surroundings also using moves within the kata to strike or punch bags held by senior grades. This led to slow relaxed freestyle having to be aware of a more hazardous environment than a dojo making it more realistic. Continuing to move around the school they were then told to “escape” to a predetermined place of safety. On the way out they were confronted by various senior black belts some slowing their progress down, some attacking them and some holding kick or punch bags for them to strike, kick or punch as they made their way to safety. Sadly and only too quickly their time had run out and it was time for them to depart but not until after a group photo and receiving an attendance certificate.
Next it was the turn of the adults who had just witnessed the marauding juniors noisily rampaging to safety out of the school. They began their session with very slow and relaxed mass freestyle where anyone could turn and attack anybody who was within reach. This started very controlled and slow but soon became a little more serious as adrenaline flowed and spirits raised. Using kata as a starting point we practiced bunkai drills to strike and punch bags and focus mitts held by our partner. After a variety of fighting and self-defence scenarios we, like the juniors, adjourned to differing parts of the school. We moved around experiencing being attacked, or defending, in offices, classrooms, kitchens, changing rooms and even toilets using anything within that environment to assist with defence or making it more difficult for the would be assailant. Once again this was supposed to be performed slowly and with control but as the fun escalated so did the spirit and effort making in some cases quite a realistic experience.
The adult session closed with individually having to get from one end of the hall to another where there was once again, like the juniors, a place of safety. The trouble was between the starting point and the place of safety were a dozen black belts each wanting a piece of you. On your way to freedom apart from fighting back you could take your aggression out on the nearest punch bag. Before we realised time had run out and it was time to conclude the session. We formed up for our habitual end of course group photo. Renshi presented a specially made gift, “In friendship and genuine respect” in Japanese and framed, to Shihan Kidd on behalf of the instructors and students of CFTS. A weary but happy group of CFTS karate-ka thanked him for a great course before departing for home.
Thank you Sensei Kidd, here’s to you next visit, Oss!
More images from the day can be viewed in the Events Gallery.