JKS England Spring Seminar with Kagawa Shihan – 2 new Sandans!

A handful of Red Tigers attended the Spring Seminar with JKS World Technical Director Masao Kagawa Shihan 9th Dan on Friday 8th and Saturday 9th March.

For those training it was an honour to be taught by one of the greatest ever karate practitioners of our generation. Kagawa Shihan is always extremely impressive. His list of personal achievements and championships he has won over the years speak for themselves. But once you see him in real life action and the way he moves, you simply cannot comprehend the fact that he is over 60 years old. He is a true genius and a master of the art. An inspiration and a gentleman. We are incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to train with him each year and the course is always a sell out!

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Eight of our Instructor team and four students were able to make the journey over to Nottingham and we all trained very hard. Congratulations to Pete and Emma Stansfield, Coral and Mickey Gavaghan, Connor Cherry Sensei, Rob Head Sensei, Mike Beckwith Sensei, Leesa Beckwith Sensei, Teresa Withington Sensei, Karen Anderson Sensei, Paul Wolstencroft Sensei and myself for taking part. Seven of us trained on the Friday evening and Kagawa Shihan was on fine form.

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Friday evenings class consisted of plenty of gruelling kihon drills focusing on Kibadachi and Yokogeri keagi’s and kekomi’s followed by Katas Heian Yondan and Kankudai. This was two hours of traditional Japanese Karate at its very best and we all had the aching legs the next day to prove it.

Kagawa Shihan was performing some inspirational demonstrations of both kicking and striking techniques. His timing and ability to generate speed and devastating power has to be seen to be believed.

His teaching & training methods and attention to detail combined with his extraordinary ability to put it all into practise year after year, are clearly the reasons why he is one of the most highly respected Japanese Instructors ever. You can also see why the likes of Okamoto Sensei, Arimoto Sensei, Makita Sensei and Matsue Sensei are all exceptionally impressive karateka, because they have Kagawa Shihan teaching them day in, day out!

Kagawa Shihan continued to pick out Paul Wolstencroft Sensei for demonstrations throughout the training on Saturday which is an incredible honour for him and must have been very nerve-wracking. He did us proud though and has plenty of bruises to show for it all! (Photo’s courtesy of RG Event Photograohy)

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There were two sessions on the Saturday and Kagawa Shihan covered Junro Shodan, Heian Shodan, Junro Nidan, Heian Nidan, Junro Sandan, Heian Sandan, Jion, Jitte and Gankaku. He even threw in some bunkai for good measure and we got to practise of a few Shodan and Nidan grading combinations and see how they are done by the man in charge. I think it is safe to say that we all thoroughly enjoyed the training with our bodies aching and our feet on fire by the end!

We would like to say a massive thank you to Kagawa Shihan for sharing his knowledge and to Alan Campbell Sensei and Wendy Campbell for putting together this event year after year and making everything possible.

An excellent weekend of karate ended on a particularly successful note for a couple of our seniors – Rob Head Sensei and Emma Stansfield. Both attempted the grade of Sandan after training for over 5 and a half hours and we are delighted to say that they both passed.

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Black Belt Roll of Honour

The grading panel consisted if Kagawa Shihan, Alan Campbell Sensei and Matt Price Sensei. What a trio to be stood in front of. You must never underestimate the courage and strength it takes to even put yourself up there to be judged not only by the grading panel, but by all the spectators and nosey parkers who stay behind after the courses. Hats off to you both for being brave and courageous enough to give it a go.

We had every confidence in them both because they have BOTH really put the work in to prepare for this grading, not just in recent weeks but over the last few years. It is always good to ramp up the training nearer the time but both Emma and Rob Sensei have consistently worked hard since they last graded and improved their karate massively. Emma of course has given birth to the beautiful Joseph Stansfield, but trained throughout the pregnancy, had only a few weeks off to recover and was straight back in the dojo working hard. That is inspirational in itself and shows what can be achieved with the right attitude and an unquestionable work ethic!

Rob Sensei was one of the very first to be called up and performed an excellent Kata Ji’in. He was sharp, strong and totally confident and I for one was really impressed with his Kata. Matt Sensei then called out Kata Empi. Rob Sensei again demonstrated the Kata with power, excellent technique and good timing. He was so focused I think they could have called any Kata out and he’d have smashed any one of them. He was clearly so well prepared.

Rob Sensei did really well in the kumite section and was on and off literally in a matter of minutes (which is always a good thing). He landed some heavy combinations and counter attacks and moved really well.

For somebody who spends much of his time unselfishly supporting and encouraging others, we were so pleased to see him do so well and make us all really proud. Amazing job. Well done 🙂

Emma Stansfield was up next and performed the Kata Jitte. She was sharp, focused and confident. The Kata was well timed and you could appreciate that many hours of practise had gone into it. Matt Sensei then chose Kata Hangetsu. Emma will have learned this Kata many years ago in our GKR days so this was probably one that she knows quite well. She performed it with confidence, good technique and didn’t put a foot wrong. She looked super relieved as she walked away but stayed very focused for the kumite section.

Emma had two rounds of kumite with the two other ladies attempting Sandan/Yondan. She came out looking confident and moved really well. She landed some powerful Jodan punches and was throwing plenty of combinations and head kicks. Emma really went for it and got a couple of warnings for her trouble. At least she knows she could handle herself if ever she needed to! I think she may have (secretly) enjoyed the kumite part and could’ve kept on going! Emma is a superb example of a female karateka who takes no nonsense and is as strong both physically and mentally as they come. Inspirational lady, well done:-)

Congratulations once again to you both, you represented our Club brilliantly and rounded off the weekend very nicely indeed!

Well done to all the other grading candidates who attempted their next grades under Kagawa Shihan, especially Hisham Saif Sensei who earned his 4th Dan with an extremely impressive performance. Having visited our Club a few times, we all know he is an extraordinary karateka and we really enjoyed watching him grade. Mouth open, jaw-dropping stuff – Wow! The talent in the JKS and JKS England is just second to none. We are in a great association!

We hope to see a few more Red Tigers training with the boss on the next one in March 2020!