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.


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