Saturday 2nd February 2013 saw the return of Sensei Donovan Slue to the Bunyan Sports Centre in Bedford. The day was opened by Sensei Kidby who thanked the students for supporting the day and for Sensei Slue for taking the course. Sensei Kidby talked about the need for diligent dedicated practice and the need to be disciplined in maintaining one’s personal practice at home. He went on to say there was a genuine need for all to attend courses, to train with a variety of instructors, but to get the most out of the day to ask questions in the search for knowledge and personal development.
Sensei Slue echoed this by saying students should ask questions and if they didn’t understand, to ask again, and if that leads to yet another question, then so be it, ask another. He said to bear in mind throughout the days training the need to train with harmonisation and intensity, something which he would keep coming back to. “There is a need to be at one with the technique, to practice diligently, until it becomes a natural reaction.” He told everyone he hoped they would enjoy the day and to relax and train well.
The day’s course content began performing Kihon-Ippon Kumite as basics to the standard areas with the common attacks of our sets. Sensei Slue said here that Ippon meant one step and one chance to get it right. He pointed out that in this form of Kumite a student should not “run-away” but should be genuinely practicing their blocks. He reinforced something Sensei Kidby has said many times, that you should take the attacker’s power as you block and give it back instantly, with interest, within your counter. It was at this point that Sensei demonstrated good use of his hips. The idea was to use them in the correct manor to both block more efficiently and yet at the same time to generate more power for the counter.
After much repetition of five different defences and counters we formed groups of three with two students attacking one who had to perform all the moves learnt performing at speed and with good spirit and focus. This did indeed test a student’s intensity and stamina.
The afternoon, which was passing much too quickly, culminated in practicing some single and double attacks, jyu-ippon style, with competition in mind. Sensei Slue also talked about competition and various strategies and tactics one could utilise. To bring the afternoon’s training to a close and to test the students memory, we had to perform all the sequences we had been doing in order and gradually with increasing intensity and speed. Hopefully by this point students were at one with their moves and in harmony.
In conclusion Sensei Kidby again thanked everyone for their attendance and Sensei Slue for a great afternoon's training. In turn, Sensei Slue thanked everyone for their attitude and etiquette and for embracing his ideas, not least the way in which they had trained. He went on to say that if everyone had taken away one thing whether a technique, a sequence, a thought, concept or word, then their training was worth the effort.
I think it is fair to say all who attended are already eagerly awaiting Sensei’s next visit.