On 11/12/13 March 2016, we had another opportunity to study under Kazumasa Yokoyama Kancho. It is amazing to see him move, explain, inspire and enjoy Karate. He amazes me every time I (AJ) see him and my friend from Germany, Mr. Stephan Yamamoto, said and I quote:
Throughout the weekend, Kancho aimed to once more transcend styles. Often when you crosstrain with another style, you have to follow a different set of rules leaving you with the feeling that you are doing something alien or that might contradict principles of your style. Personally, I never had this feeling studying under Yokoyama Kancho, whether it was regular Karate training or practicing with weapons.
I want to let you know about a couple of things that Kancho instructed during this seminar and share some pictures and a video. First however, please let me announce Yokoyama Kancho's new book! We have been working on the book since his visit last year in February and managed to finish it just before the seminar. The book, called Principles of Karate, is a book that transcends styles and reveals the fundamental concepts of nature used in Karate. He basically introduced some of the contents of the book during the seminar.
If you want to know more about the book and download the preview, please check the blog I wrote about the launch of the book
During a Karate Masters Course, there is not too much formal basic Karate practice. A simple reason to almost skip that, is to not interfere with style specifics since there are practitioners from different styles attending the course.
The basics we did practice where the basic Uke waza such as Jodan (Age) uke, Gedan barai, Uchi and Soto uke, which are used as a platform and stepping stone to explain how you can incorporate Meotode to your basic movement, to move on to the next level and also to show how basic movement can be used as an application.
Maybe you know that Meotode can be practiced with a “4 beat” and a “3 beat”, which Kancho introduced during other seminars. This time, Kancho used the "3 beat" to get us started and then introduced the “1 beat”, which basically meant to use one arm to ‘block’/control and the other to strike at the same time.
Kancho does not only teach the concept, he also introduces trainingmethods and some Ippon kumite to use for you personal studies.
Kazumasa Yokoyama Kancho explained about Chinshinho and Fushinho and connected it to In and Yo (Yin and Yang). To start this chapter, I would like to share a video where he introduces both Chinshinho and Fushinho.
During the seminar, Kancho introduced us to trainingmethods to develop both Chinshinho (compression) and Fushinho (expansion). The following pictures are a method to develop Fushinho that Kancho showed us during the seminar:
He also had us working on the direction of energy and how to change the direction as well. He used a fairly well known joint lock to let us have a go and apply the theory. This kind of “find out by yourself” training is not only fun, but leaves you only with appreciation for his teaching, showing the regular stuff from a different angle.
One of the things that I admire about his seminars is the high fun factor that he is able to create, even though the topics are quite serious and fundamental.
Throughout the weekend we worked on Bo, Sai and even Nunchaku. Nunchaku was not planned, but there were plenty of Nunchaku around so we decided to do that as well. As Kancho wrote in his new book “Principles of Karate”, weapon training is connected to regular Karate training (which he often refers to as “empty hand”) and has quite a lot of benefits. Summarised, weapon training will improve your empty hand knowledge and skill.
Kancho introduced basics for fundamental Sai and Nunchaku training, dealing with the different kind of grips and the variety of the movement.
We finalised Sai training with two basic Kata called “Fukyu Kata” which can be translated as universal exercise. The Kata teach the fundamental movement of Sai which develop your finger ability and therefore your empty hand skill. To conclude this review, I want to share the following pictures of some Sai basics that Kancho taught us during the 5th Karate Masters Course.