The bi-annual seminar for 2nd Dans and above took place at the Lewis Sports Centre Maberley Road Crystal Palace London.
There was a fairly small but cosy turnout of Dan grades from European countries, the size mainly being due to the fact that people have only just returned from the European Championships in mid October. The countries attending were England, Northern Ireland, France, Italy, Sweden, Holland and Belgium.
After the normal hugs and greets on Saturday morning Sensei Jon Wicks went straight into a warm up of Sandan Kata which gradually got more and more vigorous as the participants warmed up.
They next started on Dan grade renraku number 2 in great depth. The students were made to do this again and again to try and improve both their technique and understanding. Sensei Wicks performed each little detail time and time again until he was a little more satisfied on their performance.
The next part of the training was the Kata Chinto and if the students thought that they had problems performing renraku waza this was only heightened by Chinto. They had to keep doing he moved singly, by combination and then completely until Sensei Wicks was satisfied with the techniques. The students then broke away to practice the Kata individually while Sensei Wicks toured the Dojo explaining where each person was going wrong or having a problem.
After 2 hours Sensei Wicks called for a small well earned break and a group of sweating students sat down for some light rest and refreshment.
The second half of Saturday went underway again in earnest with Kick block number 3. This was welcomed by a number of students as the kick blocks and jodan blocks tend to be somewhat neglected by the higher grades. They are remembered as they are always teaching them in their clubs but their own technique gets a little rusty. They practiced the moves without a partner for a while and then moved on to a partner for distance and timing training.
Sensei Wicks then asked two students to demonstrate Ohyo Gumite No 3. This threw them for a moment once again highlighting the need to continually practice the whole syllabus all the time. He then went on to show their faults, which were ones common to most of us, mostly incorrect timing and distance. He showed everyone the importance of correct timing, not moving before the opponent attacked just because they knew what the next technique would be. This would make training with a partner irrelevant. Off everyone went then to practice with their partners. Luckily for once there were mats available so everyone could practice the throw more realistically. Sensei Wicks toured the dojo pointing out to each pair their problems. After a lot of practice Sensei Wicks pointed out the need to continually practice all techniques.
They then went on to practice Kihon Kumite no 1. First of all independently, with a full analysis of the moves and then progressing on to a partner. Once again Sensei Wicks made certain that everyone was doing the technique correctly.
The course then progressed on to Idori number 5 with a great emphasis on getting the throw correct both from the attackers and defenders perspective.
We had a relaxing evening at a local Japanese restaurant with good food, good company and bright conversation.
Sunday began with the kata Wanshu. There were a few more participants from England that had arrived for this session. A great deal of time was spent on this complex kata and Sensei Wicks made them practice again and again. They did individual moves, combinations and at the end they performed it all through. Just when they thought they were finished Sensei Wicks then told them to practice.
They then moved on to the kata Niseishi which needed a lot of work. They went over move by move again and again , then in combinations and then all the way through. Each part after it was explained was practiced individually.
After a well deserved break the next technique they practiced was Kihon Gumite no 8. Sensei Wicks spent a lot of time showing where the common mistakes were and then correcting people as they practiced.
They then moved on to Tanto Dori No 3 which again Sensei Wicks spent time explaining the more common faults.
The last technique of the course was Tachi Dori No 5. This was welcomed by most students as the Tachi Dori techniques are probably the least known by most students and ones that need a lot of work.
After a short cool down a group of exhausted students went to change and say their goodbyes until the next time.