Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Seminar observations

One of the things that I have noticed with Taira sensei's seminars and the training that surrounds them, is that if you just go to the seminar, you'll just get the drills and the bunkai.

Certainly in NZ, but I've seen this in Australia, France, Italy, USA - the non-seminar sessions  often cover kata, kihon, drills, and more kata-connected bunkai. For those of us that  identify as Okinawa Goju Ryu Kenkyukai members, these sessions are at least as valuable as the seminar itself. It is where we train and understand where Sensei is coming from in the seminars. It tells us how we should be thinking about our kata and kihon. It is what makes us Kenkyukai. The seminars are what makes us practitioners of Sensei's bunkai.

If you're a Kenkyukai member, and you don't make it to the fringe sessions, you're missing out, big time. The same applies to the big all-Kenkyukai seminar we had in Okinawa in 2013 - if you weren't there  I believe you missed out.

I'd also like to point out that when we all met in Okinawa one point Sensei mentioned was not running gradings within the Seminar format. People come to the seminar to learn bunkai, not to watch a grading. They pay to attend a seminar. He feels, and I agree, that if the organiser runs a grading in your seminar time, then you're being cheated.  

For those grading - grading is a privilege and an aspirational goal. It isn't meant to be easy and convenient. Too hard to  grade with Sensei?  In almost all cases, if he's going to be within 12 hours travel of wherever you are, within 6 months of your 'expected' (really?) grading date, then wait, and drive or fly or something, and take a day off work for the grading. Make the effort. I try to put all my students in front of Sensei. It helps organisational cohesion, common standards and a sense of community,  just as coming to those 'fringe' sessions does.


Saturday, 7 November 2015

NZ Seminar Series: Arrival + Friday

Taira Sensei spent about 10 days in New Zealand this year. He arrived in Dunedin, in the South Island Thursday night, then was ready for dojo training at the Green Island Dojo Friday night. A good turnout of students from the Dojo, Steve Nedelkos from Melbourne, Riki Robinson from Wellington and Sennen Harry from Auckland, all took part in an introductory session, that largely focussed on the definition of Kihon Bunkai for gradings planned for the following Monday. The session ran for about 3 hours, covering kata and basic bunkai.

As Taira sensei has expressed to us, the bunkai, or kumite, for the gradings need to demonstrate good basic technique, with good timing and focus. That means good separation of technique to show focus before moving on to the next. So aim to be non-continuous, while still being fast and powerful.

Friday, 30 October 2015

NZ Day 1

Taira sensei is in New Zealand for a week, starting in Dunedin in the deep south, then progressing to Wellington and Auckland. First session was on Friday Oct 30, and it was great - basic kata and kihon kumite then progressing to more advanced methods, all while maintaining focus, structure and distance.

Taira sensei is emphasizing keeping your focus on your opponent, and how moving your line of attack will overcome as they move from a position of strength to one of weakness.

More to come.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Buttazzoni Sensei in Hungary

Andrea Buttazzoni ran a seminar in Hungary recently, hosted by László MONINGER Sensei, a Kyokushin practitioner. You may have seen videos of Moninger Sensei demonstrating the application of some of Taira sensei's work to the Kyokushin versions of the kata. He proves that you don't have to be   a Goju practitioner to get value from Taira Sensei's principles and practices. Well done everyone

Report by Andrea BUTTAZZONI on HUNGARY Seminar 2015

Host: Mr. László MONINGER
Location: Veszprém, Hungary. (About 500 km from Udine)
Date: 17 October 18, 2015
Training Time Table: from 10:00 to 13:00 am and 16:00 to 18:00 pm
Technical program of lessons: Okinawa Goju ryu Kenkyukai Basic training.


  • 35 people from: Hungary Shin Kyokushin Karate Dojo - Laszlo MONINGER sensei
  • 4 people from: Hungary Okinawa Goju ryu dojo Kenkyukai - Laszlo Kiss sensei
  • 4 people from: Karate dojo Udine.

Short information on MONINGER László sensei

Rank: 3th dan
Karate Style: Shin Kyokushin

Participation in TAIRA sensei Seminar:

  • United Kingdom - year: ??? Organizer Dojo New Forest Martial Arts
  • Italy - year 2013 - Organizers Dojo: Karate Udine
  • Italy - year 2014 - Organizers Dojo: Karate Udine
  • Italy - year 2015 - Organizers Dojo: Karate Udine