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Sensei Maureen Day Course - February 2018

Updated: Dec 21, 2021

Whether trying to improve your kata for to compete at tournaments or just to improve the standard of your kata a lot of valid sound advice was given by Sensei Maureen Day on a recently well-attended course she took for CFTS.

The kata studied was Bassia-Sho, the sequel and more advanced kata to Bassaidai. It was taught to all the course delegates, old and young, of all grades, very capably broken down in a way that even the youngest of the lowest grades could do what was asked. In fact the course content was delivered to all in a light hearted, humorous, warm spirited way that engaged everyone regardless of age and grade. This is no mean feat considering the range of grades and ages in attendance. As such any apprehension there may possibly have been disappeared and Sensei soon had everyone’s attention and all were training with good effort and spirit.

The session began by breaking down moves within the kata then practicing even the simplest of moves as basics. We then practiced them as bunkai. This meant there was full comprehension of the move and Sensei’s expectancy of us, and how to best deliver the power within that move.

The kata built gradually and steadily until almost everyone there could perform Bassai-sho slowly without assistance but to count. Throughout her teachings Sensei reminded us of the key elements of performing kata well. As has been said before, there is only one karate and we were reminded of this fact. There is not kumite or kata, just karate, and all karate must be performed with genuine spirit and effort as if it were a real fight. Repeatedly as we practiced, Sensei reminded us of the precept laid down by Funakoshi Gichin: “Spirit first technique second”. “What is the use of having a technique if you haven’t the will or spirit to use it?” she asked.

Once confident enough we performed the kata high speed with full spirit to count remembering Yoi No Kisin, concentrate! Be ready, was to be our first thought as we stood in Yoi. Other key elements of kata performance were stressed continually throughout the afternoon in an interesting way such as Chikara no Kyojaku – The correct application of strength and how to deliver that power by correct stances and use of hara (Ketai No Hoji). Another point stressed well was Kokyu, correct breathing. This message was put across in an interesting way whereby you should think of your hara as a tin can puffing breath in and out gradually or completely emptying it depending on the move. Looking in the direction of the move before it was executed was a point also put across well by Sensei. Indeed she went further by looking in the direction of the technique especially on kiai with scary focused “Tiger Eyes”. Students were told to remain focussed retaining Zanshin as we completed the kata and returned to yoi. The kata is not over until you have bowed, we were reminded.

The course then broke for a much needed refreshment break resuming for some energetic kumite drills some five or so minutes later. These were simple, based mainly around gyaku-zuki, testing speed of reactions and focus both mental and physical. Judging by the noise within the room, this part of the course very popular. This tested students spirit and endurance which most passed admirably. This part of the afternoon concluded with line training defending a continuous flow of punches by multiple attackers.

The final action of the afternoon was when we returned to Bassai-sho. We were asked by Sensei to keep the same mind set as with our kumite and line training. Basically treat your kata as you would if you were fighting. Having all performed the kata high speed to count with true Budo spirit, the black belts were then asked to perform the kata as a group.

Sadly, time had run out and it was time to finish. The afternoon concluded with thanks to Sensei Day for coming and rapturous applause from the course delegates followed by group photos and presentation of a course attendance certificate.

Sensei Maureen Day was awarded 3rd Dan by Enoeda Sensei and you can see his teachings and karate training come out in the instruction of Sensei Day. She has since declined any further grades in respect of Enoeda Sensei. To learn more about Sensei’s Instructor, click here: Keinosoku Enoeda Sensei.

Watch this space - Sensei Maureen Day will be back to take us again.

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