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Sensei Andi Kidd Course - November 2019

Junior members met at Balliol School at 1pm for their session in the main school hall. To begin with they did one-on-one self-defence techniques, philosophies and strategies, and drills. Soon afterwards they moved on to protecting another student from a would-be adversary. They practiced their favoured techniques against focus mitts and punch bags before moving on. Their session culminated in departing from one point in Balliol School and getting to a point of safety running the gauntlet of many senior graded CFTS adults. Judging by the noise, chat and laughter they were certainly enjoying their afternoon.

The Dan-grades and senior Kyu grade students arrived at 3pm for their session. They began by freestyle fighting against two opponents. Soon they moved on to sumo-style vertical grappling learning to utilise your opponent’s body weight, strength and balance to your advantage by the use of stance changes and hip rotation. Sensei encouraged us to 'feel' your partner’s power and to read it. Whilst undertaking this training, bearing in mind what may occur on the street, Sensei explained it is paramount to keep your head tucked in, away from your adversary, and to look for openings to enable you to get a strike in and make your escape. As with the juniors the adults were given time to practice striking focus mitts and strike shields. They were told not to be afraid to use open hand techniques which aimed at the right target can be devastating. “Only a fool uses a fist against a hard target like someone’s head," we were reminded, something everyone has been told on many occasions. Senior students moved on to multiple attacks defending against more than one attacker. They were encircled by others holding mitts and pads and had to fight their way out striking and get to a given place of 'safety'.

More than once in both sessions Sensei Kidd reminded everyone of the need to practice basics and kata for effective karate and ultimately self-defence. Don’t worry so much about technique in a situation where you may need to defend yourself Sensei said. He referred both directly and indirectly to two of Funakoshi’s precepts. “Spirit first, technique second,” meaning don’t worry about getting your technique exactly right just do whatever you choose with power and accurate focus. “Do not think about winning rather think you must not lose” he also said meaning don’t worry about battering your attacker just do sufficient to make your escape and get to a place of safety.

To some less experienced and even some who have been training a while the afternoon may have appeared disorganised chaos but there was method in the session. “Fights are messy,” we were told and one cannot predict the outcome so even if the day didn’t feel like traditional karate or kata bunkai that is what it was based upon. Judging by the noise, chat and laughter on the day students certainly enjoyed the afternoon. Many thanks must go to Shihan for taking the time and effort to come over to CFTS students. We are confident his ideas and approach gave young and old plenty to think about.

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