45th Anniversary Gasshuku
2014 marks the 45th year of Chidokan in Australia. To celebrate this event the November Gasshuku was held in North Sydney.
Soshi Sensei Hudson arrived at lunchtime and after a quick feed we popped into the Dojo. We found a room that wasn’t being used so we started the training early.
We worked on our tools: Zuki and Geri. Kihon-Uke-Kame San was the canvas and our focus was on fast hands and quick spins. We covered Gyaku-Zuki and Oi-Zuki before adding a Mae-Geri.
We closed the session off with a look at the first move in Tekki. Particular attention was paid to the direction of the back foot and the effect a small detail like that has on the application. I got the sense this was a taste of things to come?
The evening session was an all grades session. A lot of the Kyu grades had never met Soshi Sensei before so weren’t sure what to expect. He lived up to his reputation! Two hours of intense Kihon followed by some Bunkai cleared away the cobwebs.
We started by working on our ‘tools’ with some wall work which we developed into Kihon, working on fast hands and foot work. This lead us naturally into partner work, racing against your opponent with all kinds of strikes. The session ended with Bunkai for Gedan Barrai, Oi Zuki and some good old throws.
Exhausted and red faced we needed to slake our thirst.
What better place than at the Oaks. Just like old times. The venue was a little different to 45 years ago but training is still training and a beer’s still a beer.
Saturday was a Dan grade day where we focused on the specifics of certain techniques as well as some unique Bunkai. The morning was filled with footwork and fast Zuki.
We did drill after drill of Tai-Sabaki, moving in all directions and leading with both hands. The context changed from offensive to defensive, blind side, leading hand and so on. We ripped through each technique so fast I felt like my brain was going to explode. Just as I’d managed to get the hang of things, we were paired up for Bunkai.
Taking turns being the attacker and defender, we put the drills to work. The message was clear; you’ve got to move quick, real quick!
The afternoon was all about Bunkai and in particular, the Heian kata. We started with a few rotations of the Kata before Soshi picked the 1st and 2nd moves of Heian Shodan to drill in Kihon. Speed was the focus and we drilled the move in Kihon-Uke-Kame San.
Next up was bag work. We took the last four Shute-Uke from Heian Shodan and worked on how best to generate power from the hips. This was followed up with some more partner work to cement the applications.
As with all Gasshuku, there never seems to be enough time and, before we knew it, it was closing time at the PCYC. But there was enough time between the end of formal training and dinner for Riz and I to get another hour in.
The Gasshuku dinner was held at Yok Thai in Neutral Bay. Great food! Almost everyone who trained was able to make the dinner, plus a few extras. Dusan wasn’t able to train but joined us for food and it was great to see him.
The Dan grades met in the park early to go over the previous day’s training and ‘warm-up’ for the final day. Nobody was giving it away but suspected they were all feeling as stiff and bruised as I was.
The final session for the weekend was a long one. All grades were invited and we spent the whole three hours working on Kihon and Bunkai.
The focus of the session was to improve our tools. It was mostly Kihon with plenty of Kihon-Uke-Kame, Kihon Yon Dosa and wall work. The final 90 minutes of the weekend was spent applying various Bunkai to each other. There were plenty of students so we all got to play with each other. Everyone had a turn at throwing and being thrown.
We concluded the Gasshuku in style with a BBQ in St Leonards Park opposite the Dojo. It was a great way to wind down after a LOT of training. We were also joined by our family members and it was great to catch up with everyone.
Finding a venue in Sydney to host a weekend long karate event in no mean feat. Luckily, the PCYC went out of their way to help us make it work so that we could host it at our Dojo. Our thanks and gratitude go to Ian Kirk and Curtis Busseler from the PCYC for their support.
Thank you to all the students who were able to make it. It’s a full on weekend and one that requires a big commitment from all to make it work. Thanks to Sensei Alexander for joining us, despite his circumstances and thank you to Renshi Sensei and his wife Denise for making the long trip down from Manilla.
Finally, thank you to Soshi Sensei Hudson for making the Gasshuku what it was. Congratulations on the 45 years of dedication to Karate.