There are only two or three times a year that members of Chito-Ryu clubs in the Maritime Provinces get an opportunity to see Higashi Sensei and train with him, so I plan on taking advantage of every Higashi Sensei Clinic I can over the next thirteen months. I'm told that it really helps if he sees your face often, as people have a tendency to let their nerves take over during their Shodan grading, and if he sees you often enough, he is aware of what you are capable of under "normal circumstances".
These clinics also give the senior belts (kyu levels and dan levels) a better understanding about certain techniques and how we should be teaching them. One of my major complaints about KV Karate is the lack of consistency in teaching techniques. One Sensei will teach a technique one way and then another will tell you it's wrong when you're asked to demonstrate it at another class.
On April 16th, several members of KV Karate (among others) attended the Higashi Clinic in Charlottetown, PEI. Typically, these clinics include a Chito Bo clinic, as well as separate time for Junior and Senior students. We arrived shortly before the junior students were completed, which gave us an opportunity to get changed and then mingle with some of the other attendees who were waiting to begin.
After a brief warm-up with Sensei Golz, Higashi Sensei had junior belts pair up with senior belts, and we went straight into gohon-kumite,sanbon-kumite, and then finally kihon-dosa-ichi and kihon-dosa-ni bunkai. It was a great opportunity to fine-tune those blocks for the junior belts as the senior belts tend to not pull their punches as much, and there was more than a few bops on the end of a nose.
After lunch, the clinic moved to the Charlottetown Chito-Ryu Karate Dojo where we continued on with Kata, bunkai and goshin-jutsu.
There are two points in this kata that need clarification. I have been aware of these points for some time, but I run into students from time to time who are unaware of these details, and I think they should be mentioned as often as possible. These points are:
- After the initial gyaku-zuki soto-nagashi-uke repetitions and turning, the next four techniques are NOT tekube-kake-uke, but rather kote-uke (wrist block) and then hiki-otoshi (pull down).
- After the kote-uke hiki-otoshi repetitions, the karateka must perform a soto-uke, jodan-zuki-uke (high punching block) and then shift into shiko-dachi. When shifting into shiko-dachi, pivot on the ball of your foot instead of the heal. If you pivot on the heal of your foot, you actually move slightly away from your target, and you should never move away from your target when striking, always forward.
I covered Niseishi before, and all of the information in that article, I'm proud to say, is accurate. Check it out.
There was only one technique discussed in Rohaisho that caught quite a few people by surprise. After everyone thought about it for a moment, it makes sense. When twisting into shiko-dachi after the migi-kyusei-kamae, you should shift in the direction of your attacker when throwing the gedan-uchi (which is actually a gedan-kentsui). Other than that, Sensei Higashi wants to see a KIAI on the mae-empi.
After going over the katas, we went over the bunkai for each, and moved into Goshin Justu (tehodoki-no-waza, tai-sabaki and ju-ni-ko). Fortunately, the partners I had for bunkai and goshin justu were senior belts (1st kyu and up) and we didn't have to spend any time teaching each other the techniques, only perfecting them.
During a couple of points during the clinic, Higashi Sensei would demonstrate the technique he wanted us to fine tune, and he would throw a punch or perform a block. It really is quite a sight to see someone 70 years old throw a punch that is the crispest and one of the fastest you've ever seen.
I really wish I had taken pictures or video. I'll remember to take pictures at the next clinic in May at the New Maryland Karate Club, and I'll update this post.
More to come later.