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