|The large group of senior black belts pictured with Sensei Suzuki & Sensei Wicks (seated centre, front row) at the Leaders course on 11th & 12th June 2011 Crystal Palace, London|
Once again the Summer Wado Kokusai Leaders weekend training course held at the Harris College Sports Hall, Crystal Palace London turned out to be a resounding success. Sixteen countries and over sixty senior black belts ( 2nd Dan grade through to 7th Dan) from across the globe took part. Participating countries included :- USA, Venezuela, Guatamala, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Belgian, Holland, France, Spain, Cyprus, Greece, England, Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The eight hour instruction was spread over two days and given by World Wado Kokusai Chief Instructor Sensei Jon Wicks 8th Dan whilst a watchful eye was kept on the proceedings by Japanese Wado Kokusai Chief Director Prof. Tatsuo Suzuki, the man who brought Wado karate to the western hemisphere back in 1965.
The opportunity is taken at these biannual seminars to focus on the correct and original Wado techniques, kihon and kata as taught by the founder of the style Grandmaster Ohtsuka the 1st to his most senior student Sensei Suzuki and who in turn has passed the knowledge on to his successor Sensei Wicks. The instruction at these special seminars is designed to ensure uniformity of correct techniques by those senior Dan grades who are entrusted with leading and developing authentic Wado karate across the countries of the World.
Following the warm up on Saturday afternoon the training began with basic sanbon gumite punch and kick drills with a partner. Sensei Wicks then taught a junior kata (Pinan Nidan) followed by a more advanced one (Seishan). Both kata were explained in great detail and a full explanation of the Bunkai demonstrated. Following a short break Kihon Gumite No 2, Tachi Dori (Sword Defence) No1 and classical Japanese Tanto Dori (Knife Defence) No 4 was practiced. The Saturday session closed with a warm down and many of the senior instructors arranging to meet for an evening meal in a nearby Japanese Restaurant.
Sunday's training began with the the practice of 'Idori' or kneeling defence; first from a standing position and then with a partner from a kneeling position. Idori is part of the Wado Kokusai advanced Dan grade examinations and it is interesting to note that many Federations claiming to do Wado do not include it in their syllabus at all. Training inTanto Dori No 9 and Tachi Dori No 4 followed and the final two hours was devoted to the practice and detailed study of the kata Niseishi and Bassai.
During the time Sensei Wicks was drilling the class in these kata, Sensei Suzuki was separating out various senior grades from the line up and giving them intensive and exhaustive one to one correction on the finer points of their kata technique.
The course concluded with a ten minute warm down, followed by loud applause. The next Leaders course will be held on the 29th & 30th October so please watch the website for details.
A special thanks to Milton Oggara for the photographs in this article.
(Wado Kokusai European Secretary)