Here's a surprise for those of you that read the blog. I'm back from overseas training with Taira Sensei, again. This was the inaugural Okinawa Goju Ryu Kenkyukai seminar in Naha, training with Taira Sensei in his new home dojo, the Tsuboya Elementary School gym, and the obligatory public training at the Dojo Bar.
- Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia 14-16 March
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 21-23 March
Udine, Italy 5/6 April
Monroe Township, New Jersey 25-27 April
France 29-31 May, 1 June
San Diego August
New York August
New Zealand 31 Oct - 10 Nov (tentative)
Okinawa Goju Ryu Kenkyu Kai Blog
Announcements and news
Dojo is done
Just a quick update to let you all know that the dojo is now completed
Taira san would like to thank the following members for their generous donations to the dojo to help cover some of the construction costs:
- Pete Keogh - Australia
- Ken Erridge - UK
- Glenn Cunningham - U.S.A
- Brendan Murray - New Zealand
- Sunil Gopal - South Africa
- Brian Loterbauer - U.S.A
- Sinn Chew - Australia
- John Eccles - U.S.A
- Chuck Nuccio - U.S.A
- Ashok Pawar - U.S.A
- Jeff Mason - U.S.A
- Sandy Machiaverna - U.S.A
- Paul Chandler - Australia
- Cesar Camara Martin - Spain
- Steve Nedelkos - Australia
Okinawa Dojo Update
Here's the latest on the new Kenkyukai Honbu dojo. After a lot of talking with the builders and the city planning office it was decided that new building regulations would not aloow us to build the Honbu doo on the top of Taira san's existing house. We have therefore decided on an alternative. In order to provide the kenkyukai with a honbu dojo and somewhere to come and train when members are in Okinawa, we are completing gutting the first floor of Taira san's house and creating a dojo on the first floor complete with kitchen (for after training entertaining :-) ) and shower. Quotes are in and building is scheduled to start in the second week of June with a completion date in July. We will therefore have a honbu dojo ready for the October seminar. It won't be big enough to have everyone there for a seminar but will give us a base.
The entire quote for the renovations to the first floor is US$19,000 which is significantly cheaper than we were initially thinking. We are starting a fund to cover the costs of building and hope that everyone in the kenkyukai can help out. Please emial me if you are interested in donating to the building fund (email@example.com).
Okinawa Goju Ryu Kenkyukai Seminar
Time is marching along and the seminar is fast approaching. I will be getting registration forms ready in the coming weeks and they will be available for download from the website. I will let you know when they are ready to go.
To Shibu dojo heads, please send me a list of items that you would added to the meeting agenda for discussion in October. I need to compile a complete list which will be sent to all Shibu heads so you can come to the meeting prepared to make decisions. Those Shibu heads who cannot make it to Okinawa in October will need to prepare their opinions on the topics in writing and send them to me for distribution to other Shibu heads prior to the October meetings. I need your lists by mid June please as there will be a bit of going back and forth with all in order to finalise the list.
Accommodation is filling up. There are not many apartments left now. We were only able to put a hold on them until the end of this month. Those of you who are planning on coming and staying in an apartment need to get your booking in quickly. I spoke to the apartment company today and they have had a request for 30 apartments for 6 months from a construction company. That leaves very few for anyone coming in October. Please let me know asap if you need one.
At last some word from Okinawa!!
Hi all, sorry for the lack of communication. Things have been hectic over here to say the least. Settling down a little now hence the newsletter.
Taira san has just returned from a very successful seminar in Italy. Thanks to Andrea Sensei for organizing and running the seminar. Australia is getting close and Taira san is looking forward to getting back to the Gold Coast and Melborne. Thanks again to Pete Keogh and Damien Martin for the hard work they have put into to getting everything organized.
We have some house keeping notes for this newsletter. It has now been a little over a year since we launched the new site and the subscription option. Please be aware that PayPal will automatically debit your account for your yearly Kenkyukai membership fee. There have been a number of skipped payments recently due to expired cards etc. Please check your paypal account and make sure your account details are up to date. If PayPal suspends your subscription, the system automatically cancels your site account meaning that you need to rejoin the organisation and the site and all the posts etc linked to your account are not accessible via your new account.
Lastly, October is fast appraoching. We are working on agenda points for the Shibu head meetings. Shibu heads will be emailed details as soon as they are available.
Accommodation for October is not going to last long. I spoke to the apartment company today and they are holding the apartments for us for now but told me we need to have bookings (even if they are tentative and a changed or cancelled later) in to them by the middle of April or they can't gaurantee availability. October is a busy time of the year here and with other organisations having seminars around the same time, accommodation will fill up incredibly fast.
Once again, sorry about the long gap between newsletters.
One of the nice things about a small country is you can visit most of it without too much trouble. So in December we took Taira Sensei the length of New Zealand, from Dunedin in the South, Auckland in the North, and finishing at Wellington in the middle. Ten days of 5 hours a day training, with a solid contingent of 9 of us hitting all the venues, and a couple more doing at least two.
Glenn has produced another kenkyukai newsletter, which follows the break.
There are a solid group of people that will be following Taira san to every NZ session, in Dunedin, Auckland and Wellington. That's pretty much the whole length of the country and we're expecting it all to be great success. At last count 10 people will be doing all the sessions. And we've confirmed that Paul and Michelle Enfield will be coming from the US and joining us on our travels around this beautiful country.
Organisation Name Change
Better late than never I guess. Some of you (most I hope) will have noticed that we haven't been referring to the organisation as Okinawa Goju Ryu Karate-do Kenkyukai for a little while now. We have shortened the name of the organisation to Okinawa Goju Ryu Kenkyukai. There is a reason behind this decision. Firstly, the original name was a mouthful. Secondly, there seems to be an organisation in the States that calls itself the same name. Rather than cause any confusion, and more importantly open any of our Shibu and Jun Shibu dojo in the States up to legal action, we changed the name. Not a big deal really, we know who we are and what we do. It makes no real difference to us if there are others organisatiomns with the same name but apparently it matters to others........So be it. Onwards and upwards.
Okinawa Goju Ryu Kenkyukai Newsletter
Well, I have finally gotten around to getting this newsletter set up. I've been talking about it for some time now and after constant prodding I thought it was time I got it done.
I would to use this newsletter (which will hopefully become a weekly thing) to keep everyone up dated on what is happening over here and throughout the organisation as a whole.
For those of us who have had the good fortune to travel to Okinawa, the kindheartedness of the Okinawa people is distinctive. I have both experienced and heard stories of foreigners asking Okinawans for directions, only to find themselves being personally guided to their destination, regardless of distance or imposition. Taira Sensei delivers this same aspect of the culture to us at every seminar. He does much more than simply show us the way; he personally takes us deeper and deeper into the bunkai by demonstrating several routes to arrive at the objective. He is willing to work with us until we get it (although, somehow I feel I’ve never truly “gotten it” on his level) and has certainly provided us a launching point for further investigation.
Sensei brought his inimitable charisma to Ottawa, where he opened with the basic drills and built upon those. We worked Shisochin Kata Bunkai, and he demonstrated counter attacks to the Shisochin Bunkai using Seipai techniques (innovation defined). He had us work extensively on the takedown techniques derived from “leg kakie”, via Shisochin Kata. He touched on takedowns from Sanseru and Seipai as well, using them as supporting material for the relevance of leg kakie. He demonstrated a plethora of takedowns and throws and created even more on the spot (unbelievably). He requested that we film a sequence of “ashi waza” techniques in Napanee, so we captured them on video for future release.
From an intellectual standpoint, it seems as if Sensei has contemplated every possible counter and manufactured methods for countering the counter. From a practical standpoint, it’s essentially similar; when you think you are going to be lurched forward, you are unexpectedly dispatched another direction, quite effortlessly.
The “after training training”, took place in the Sywyk’s kitchen, and consisted of a flurry of short demonstrations of specific technique, further supporting drills and we were offered more detailed explanation on the full renzoku patterns when we asked (Wouldn’t it be great to remember everything you learned in the kitchen?). This was also the learning venue for Taira Sensei’s ever expanding vocabulary of the English language; wherein his New York vernacular is unrivaled (thank you Glenn Cunningham), he picked up at least one new word from me as well!
On our final evening, Sensei offered us the poignant egg metaphor, explaining kata is like an egg. Unless we break it open and look inside we will never know what is there. Furthermore, one person may choose to make something simple with the egg, such as a boiled egg, while, another may choose to make a soufflé or gourmet meal. Kata is simply the starting point, not the ultimate. The depth Taira Sensei has delved into the kata bunkai is awe inspiring, his creativity and ingenuity are incomprehensible; he is a true prodigy (who never sleeps)!
Thank you so much to the Sywyk’s for organizing a fantastic event, and whose hospitality is unsurpassed, even by 5 star hotel standards!
Goju Karate Center, Carlsbad CA
It might seem a little broken record of me, but I've just finished attending a seminar with Taira san, this time in Carlsbad California hosted by Paul and Michelle Enfield. It's the second time I've done a US seminar this year, so was able to catch up again with a lot of people that were in New Jersey. There are a solid core of people that are willing to travel great distances to train with Taira san, which not only says great things about his karate but about the events that surround his seminars.
I'm back in NZ after 10 days of seminars with Taira Sensei. Five days in Melbourne, three days in Surfer's Paradise, and two in Brisbane.
For those of you not from down here - going to Australia is always great. If you're English speaking they're just foreign enough that you don't have to shout for them to understand you, and you lose 1 word in 5 from them so they seem properly foreign. And they're friendly, love to train hard, the seminar attendees were all enthusiastic, and in a country with good beer, scenery and weather.
Nobody reads these.
Just back from Taira bunkai New Jersey 2012. Taira san concentrated on what we might call "taira bunkai kihon". Lots and lots of open close and similar drills, part of the upper body toolkit that you need to work his bunkai.
Back in November last year we did a lot of kata specific technique, but there was a large emphasis on moving - stepping and turning and using your weight, with the correct timing.
So my point is?
It depends on the person, but I learn by doing then analysing. Some people are do-ers, some get it from listening or seeing or just from lots of practice. Whatever works for you is good. But what matters is that there is a toolkit or a set of movements that build.
My personal belief is that the tools comprise the upper body open/close drills, the mid-body/centre hip and body shifting techniques, and then the lower body stepping/trapping and maneuvering techniques. Get all that together and you'll have far more chance of making the renzoku bunkai work for you.
Train with Taira san a lot. Look at the videos on the site to build a toolkit. Train with Taira san and other tairabunkai practitioners as much as you can. It's a long path, but we think it's worth it.
One of the delightful new features of this site (thanks Glenn) is a return to something a bit more collaborative than the most recent incarnation of Tairabunkai.com. We got tairabunkai back on line so people could keep access they'd paid for, but we knew we'd need to do something greater. This is that something greater. And there's better reason for it all now.