||On Saturday 60-70 Brown Belts and 70-80 Black Belts attended the Deeside Black and Brown Belt Course and Grading.
Here the first class of brown belts are shown at the start of their session warming up under the direction of Sensei Sherry.
||As usual the brown belts were divided into two groups. In the photo the grading group is shown being put through their basics by Sensei Rhodes. Palm-heel attack is being used directly following a reverse punch with snap back in order to prevent the target falling forward onto the attacker for example.
||The second half of the lesson saw Sensei Rhodes instructing the other brown belt group on the kata Bassai Dai. The application of some important techniques in the kata was reviewed. Here, just before the downward thrust kick with Kiai the reverse hip is pushed forwards ready for the attack.
Since the photographer trained in the next session, unfortunately there are no photos to show of the instruction carried out in the black belt class. 50 of the black belt 2nd Dans and above (comprising several 6th Dans including Sensei Gary Harford and Sensei Jimmy Brennan) were instructed firstly by Sensei Sherry whilst the 30 Shodans were instructed by Sensei Rhodes. For the senior class, the training with Sensei Sherry involved partner target-practice for various techniques whilst on the move. Emphasis was placed on fast foot and leg work. For ushiro-geri good upper body balance and relaxation was required at the same time as leg speed and accuracy- not so easy to master. The senior Dan group were later instructed by Sensei Rhodes, who taught the kata Gojushiho-Dai. The complicated kata techniques were practiced several times, Sensei Rhodes showed methods of performing some of the techniques with mechanical advantages which made the performance of these moves much more fluent. At the end of the class there was time for some of Sensei Rhodes' application to this kata, although a rather complicated kata the essence of the techniques were put across well by practicing the moves on a partner.
For the shodan class, Sensei Rhodes had created a partner training combination involving body evasion, blocking, kicking and elbow attacks. The kumite combination ended with the students moving off to the side out of range, to quench any bad habits of repeatedly stepping backwards out of range. Sensei Sherry followed up by taking the shodan class through numerous kata. Nijushi-ho was worked on fairly rigorously followed by Jion and Hangetsu (that I managed to see).
The instructors received a much appreciated round of applause at the end of the session.
Congratulations to all those that were successful in the grading, their names shall be found on the KUGB website.
Between these dates Sensei Rhodes also taught at the Black and Brown Belt Courses and Gradings both at Barnsley and Deeside in 2005.
||Group photo of Black Belt karateka who trained with Sensei Sherry and Sensei Rhodes at Grantham Meres Leisure Centre, Grantham on 6th November 2004.
90 brown belts and 60 black belts
congregated at Bath Leisure Centre
on Sunday to be put through their
paces by Sensei Sherry and Sensei
Rhodes. Both the brown belt class
and the black belt class were
divided between those grading
and not grading and given 45 minutes
of instruction by each Sensei.
This enabled the 3rd Dans to 6th
Dans to have a class of their
own. The class of brown belts
shown below was divided into the
55 taking their shodan grading
(upper karateka) and about 35
who had travelled to Bath only
for the training (lower karateka).
For course write-up please see
to all those that were successful
in the grading, their names can
be found on the KUGB website.
Sherry instructing in the brown belts
session, demonstrating morote
jodan uke or 'upper level block
with both hands', from the shodan
grading kata Bassai-Dai.
non-grading group were taken in detail
through Bassai-Dai, excellent preparation
for when their grading is due.
demonstrating kizami zuki or
'jab punch' during the brown belts basics
non-grading group were taken through
a shodan combination adapted by Sensei
Rhodes to increase in complexity finishing
with a reverse uraken-uchi
or 'back-fist strike', one of Sensei
Rhodes' favourite techniques.
Sensei Sherry taking the time to explain
in detail the grasping hand in two handed
grasping block position from Bassai-Dai,
ryo sho tsukami uke. Don't
try and say that too quickly without
warming up first!
In the black belt
session, the 3rd Dans and above were
given their own training session, with
Sensei Rhodes is teaching Gankaku and
demonstrating migi jodan uchi uke
kamae, hidari gedan-gamae or 'right-hand
upper level block, lower level block
to the left'.
of the kata techniques were then used
in a special Sensei Rhodes bunkai combination
which the karateka practised in pairs.
Write-Up By R. Hicks, 4th Dan and Senior
Instructor Bath Karate Club
of the many changes undergone by the KUGB
during the past – eventful –
year is the way in which the Black and
Brown belt courses are run. The course
in Bath was the first one of the ‘new
style’ that I have been on, and
here are some details and thoughts on
the first session, the Brown belts were
divided into two groups – those
who would be taking their 1st Dan later
that day and those who were just there
for the training. The session started
off with Sensei Sherry taking those who
would be grading, while Sensei Rhodes
took the other group. Half way through
the session Sensei Sherry and Rhodes changed
groups. This seems to be a particularly
good way to run the brown belt session
– people taking a grading a few
hours later can only realistically be
‘fine tuned’ at best. Even
so, the right words of encouragement from
such senior instructors can have a big
impact on the confidence and state of
mind of those about to grade. Those taking
their Dan grade at some time in the future
can have any potential ‘deficiencies’
pointed out, with the relevant advice,
so they can work to improve these points
ready for their own grading. I spoke to
many of the Brown belts later in the day
and everyone was very positive about the
new format. It all seemed more tailored
to the specific needs of both groups.
The Dan grades were split according to
grade – 1st and 2nd Dans in one
group and 3rd Dans and above in the other.
Again, this was a well-thought out split,
as only people in the former group would
be eligible to grade on this course.
the Black belt class, Sensei Sherry started
off with the higher Dan grades. The first
part of his session concentrated on various
punching exercises, in pairs. The emphasis
was on timing, hip speed and footwork.
I have seen a lot of articles in various
magazines that ‘prove’ that
snap punches are neither powerful nor
effective. However, one only has to watch
Sensei Sherry perform this ‘simple’
technique to appreciate just how effective
it is. Better still is to be on the receiving
end of one – the feeling is of being
hit by a fast-moving piston which, fortunately,
stops on skin contact – in which
case you develop an intuitive understanding
of the power behind it. The ‘secret’
is in the precise timing and perfect co-ordination,
with the whole body working together,
along with a kime that is measured in
milliseconds – and yes, being a
physicist, I do know what a millisecond
is. The theory seems easy enough …
Kicks were then covered with the same
emphasis – precise hip timing to
produce power, coupled with the appropriate
footwork to put oneself in range. Again,
relatively easy to understand, very difficult
Sensei Rhodes was taking the other group
through some of the grading combinations;
first as an exercise in its own right and
then in pairs. This is one of Sensei Rhodes’
great strengths – applying basic techniques
in kumite exercises. It adds depth and meaning
to the kihon we practise, and makes one
realise that these combinations could be
made to work against an opponent, given
the right timing, distance and ‘line’.
the Brown belt session, the instructors
‘changed ends’ at half time.
Sensei Rhodes took the senior Dan grades
through some pair work. As with all top
instructors, he makes the exercise look
easy, straightforward and flowing. After
a while, and once I had sorted out the
correct timing and distance, I managed
to make it look …. well, I’ll
work on it. After that, we went through
the Kata Gankaku. The first time was just
to refresh our memories, after which Sensei
Rhodes emphasised a few details to keep
in mind on the next go. We then went through
it again with more power and speed, while
trying to keep the same precise technique.
After that, we were in to Sensei Rhodes’
great specialty – bunkai
or application of kata techniques. He
puts a lot of thought into this aspect
of his training/instruction, and I am
always amazed by his ingenuity. There
is often the “oh yes, I never thought
of it that way” element. This is
a always a valid exercise in its own right,
because it does make you think about the
appropriate line, power and timing of
the technique – “what is this
move for?”. It is particularly important
for people taking 4th Dan or above, where
the explanation of kata is a requirement
of the grading. To finish off the session,
we went through the kata again at full
speed, with the emphasis back on correct
technique – no bits as in the bunkai.
The session ended with both groups coming
together for the final ‘rei’.
admit that I like this new format –
it reminds me of training on the Lancaster
or Torbay course. The session somehow
seems longer (and that’s a good
thing?), with more material covered and
more to take away and work on. It just
seems more special. One of the great strengths
of the KUGB is the great depth and diversity
of our ‘top-flight’ instructors
and we must remember just how lucky we
are. I make no comment about other organisations.
- R. Hicks, Bath
Shotokan Karate Club