Posts Tagged ‘Black belt’

What’s in a name?

Written by bryan. Posted in Martial Arts

I’ve been asked many times over the years, what style of Karate do you do? Too many people get too hung up on styles, particularly those that have done some prior training.

Black Judo, Black Belt Karate in Basingstoke

Black Judo, Black Belt Karate in Basingstoke

To a great extent Karate is Karate whether its Goju, Shito-Ryu, Wado, Shotokan, Uechi Ryu, Kyokushinkai or whatever (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karate for more information on styles). Each style has something to offer, but at the end of the day, there are only so many ways to kick, strike, block, throw and punch. Of course an individual practitioner might tell you…….. that their style is better than style x because ……well generally there are lots of different reasons and most of the reasons given aren’t usually genuine in the sense of being correct.

All the styles that I’ve ever seen or trained in work at long (kicking) range, medium (punching) range and close (elbows/knees) range. They all teach front punch, reverse punch, upper block, round kick etc etc. Okay there may be some stylistic difference between them. For example how they generate power in performing a reverse punch you can use your hips (amongst other parts of the body) to generate power, but double hip, single hip or no hips? Consider a Roundhouse kick, do you impact with the ball of the foot, instep, shin or even big toe? Linear or circular, hard or soft, Kime or no Kime…….I could go on, but you probably get the idea, that’s are some differences between styles, but what’s necessary to keep in mind is that If you watch two exponents from different styles fighting, there is very little to choose between them in terms of repertoire of techniques, nor in terms of which style wins most enough at an international competitive level.

What is more important is the individual teacher and their ability to impart knowledge with some substance behind it. If we take one style or lets narrow it down to an association within that style and then further to a single club within that association, there are and should be differences down to the dojo level, let alone as you investigate across a cross section of different clubs in an association. Its not rocket science really to figure out why. As individuals we are all different; – weight, flexibility, strength, co-ordination, age, body type, fitness levels etc. Given this fact, why do some instructors insist that we have a vanilla flavoured Karate style.

I remember Kanazawa Sensei http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hirokazu_Kanazawa at a grading saying to someone grading for Sandan (3rd Dan,)  okay your way is different to mine, but at your level you must change your Karate to suit you. Karate should be different its not meant to be a one size fits all Martial Art, its meant to be personalised by the practitioner, rather than developing clones of a particular instructor. Heaven forbid that people look different when training in class, it makes the dojo look so untidy. I found myself out of favour at a course once, when the instructor moved my punching a fraction. I asked him during a break and with no-one else present, why? His answer was because it looked better, not that it was more practical or more effective, but because of aesthetics, so that I’d look the same as the rest of his students. It’s sometimes confuses visiting students when they train with us to see a Kata being performed in different ways by different students. For example is a particular leg movement a crescent kick, knee stomp, knee block or step? Does it really matter which of these moves is used as long as the practitioner understands why they do the application? I don’t believe that it does, of course I’m open to being persuaded, but as far as I’ve seen so far the study of Karate and in fact Martial Arts is a personal thing. I’ve trained with many of the most respected instructors both from within the UK and also from overseas and the quality that they share is their individuality, regardless of which style they are meant to be practicing.

Don’t worry about the name of a style, the approach of the instructor is the most important thing.

As the pop group Bananarama and Fun Boy Three sang many years ago “It’s not what you do, but the way that you do it.”

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Basingstoke Black Belt Grading

Written by bryan. Posted in Grading, News

Karate Black Belt, Adult Karate, Martial Arts in Basingstoke, Karate club in BasingstokeOur Martial Arts School based in Basingstoke held a grading on Saturday 8th December with members attending from both our Alton and Basingstoke classes. The grading itself was split into four different groups dependent upon age and ability. This was also one of two opportunities for Black Belt candidates to be examined during 2012.

Congratulations to the many people who came away with new belts, your own hard work, effort, perseverance and determination paid off. For those that were disappointed this time, listen and consider the feedback given to you, to help you come back stronger next time. Gradings at our club are examinations, you simply don’t pass for turning up, you have to prove that physically you can do the techniques correctly and that you understand the principles behind them. At a senior level you have to also understand the theory that goes behind it and be able to pass that knowledge on to others.

Many of the children excelled what they did, I’d like to mention particularly Samantha Butcher who is 11. She attempted her Junior Black Belt grading, for her this meant conducting a warm up in the younger age Children’s class, also teaching them a couple of groundwork based techniques and acting as the coaches assistant when necessary. In the second part of her grading session with the 10-15 year olds, she had to present two things  to the group:-

  1. Explain why a Black Belt always has to take themselves out of their comfort zone and what this means for their progress
  2. Explain what you think the most important part is in learning a Martial Art

It’s not uncommon for the presenter to get asked questions about the topic that they have presented and this proved to be the case again with Samantha being asked some challenging questions about her presentations.

In addition to this she then had to take part in over 25 fights, some in a competition scenario where the objective was to win the match and some, where she just had to keep going against both more senior students and against multiple fighters. Finally she finished up with performing her respective forms and katas. Samantha’s performance was excellent, it showed a lot of confidence in her skills and also a maturity. Without doubt she had proven her right to wear the coveted Black Belt that she earned.

Mention should also go to Louise Kelly, Ewan Furness, Hannah Boyle and Amelia Pomerance who all achieved double grades during the Children’s grading sessions.

 

Black Belt, Kids, Children's Martial ArtsThe final session was the adults grading commencing at 7:30pm. These are always more nervous affairs because the people taking part in these are always taken outside of their comfort zone and don’t know exactly what they will be asked to do. Nine of people attending this grading were being examined for Brown Belt or higher, so it was fair to say that the intensity was somewhat high as were the expectations from the examiners.

Congratulations go to Mark van Meerkerk and Emma McDade who passed their 1st Dan Black Belt examination and to Jonathan Swift who passed his 2nd Dan Black Belt. All of whom demonstrated strong physical techniques, determination, discipline and fortitude. Like Samantha all three had to also present various topics including their thoughts on ‘Deeper Training,’ ‘What makes a good student’ and ‘Defending against Knives.’ With several senior black belts present during the grading, it’s fair to say that the push-back to them was quite strong.

After a near 3 hour grading which included padwork, body evasion, knife defence, sparring, forms and teaching for the higher grades, I’m pleased to say that all of the adults passed and some are now ‘looking forward’ to their own Black Belt examination in the next year or so with some advice on things to concentrate on in their own practice.

Mention should also go Rob McDade who double graded.

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Grading success at Tsunami Martial Arts

Written by bryan. Posted in Grading

Grading, Black Belt, Tsunami Martial Arts, Paul Pretty, Basingstoke, Karate, Martial Arts, TaekwondoOur Karate club’s Senior Instructor Bryan Andrews was invited to hold a seminar and grading in Iver for Tsunami Martial Arts, which is a club based in West London and Norfolk. Paul Pretty 4th Dan is the Chief Instructor of the club and he and Bryan have known each other for over 25 years since their years training together in Windsor.

 

The course covered competition Kumite skills taught through different physical techniques and included the concepts of footwork, bodyweight, guard, stance and how to score techniques.

 

At the end of the course, a Black Belt grading was held for a number of the participants. They were tested on their fundamental techniques (Kihon), their forms (Kata) and fighting (Kumite) as well as their understanding of the principles and theory behind their physical skills, in the form of a presentation to the assembled audience and participants. During the course of the 3.5 hour grading, they all had a number of unexpected challenges thrown their way in a bid to take them out of their comfort zone and challenge their thinking.

 

The following people successfully passed their Black Belt (Shodan) grading:-

Under 16s:- James Holt, Samuel Poulter, Ellen Taylor and Jack Friend

Adults:-  Gary Maguire, Mark Maguire, Paul Allen and Selina Lo

Congratulations to all of them and good fortune as you move forward onto the next phase of your journey.

 

If you are looking for a club to train with practicing Karate or Tai Chi in either West London or North Norfolk, then we can recommend www.tsunami-martial-arts.com and it’s Chief Instructor Paul Pretty.

 

 

 

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