The gathering was a most enjoyable day which started with Jeremy Wood and Josh Ransom giving a well-structured session on self-defence for younger students with a view of dealing with unexpected attack, perhaps at school perhaps not. Perhaps they are attacked with sticks, bats etc. So using the principle of alternate weapon defence (using what is around you) and from a basis of evasion and timing - School backpacks and garbage bin lids were shown as shields and weapons. Books were used to parry and also along with soccer balls “thrown” at the face to distract and/or create an opening. I know it is a terrible thing to say but I think our kids need these skills in today’s world. To both Jeremy and Josh I offer my compliments.
Darrin Anderson taught techniques which centred on using the concepts of hyoshi timing and maai distancing to practice blending and flow responses. This was well received and appreciated particularly by the students. Darrin showed clearly that like a fine wine he just gets better (no apologies for saying that Darrin)
We then had a sparring session and the student’s present received hands on teaching and experience. There were a couple of thumps when some hit the floor, but since it wasn’t me - I didn’t feel a thing.
After that I gave a session on the Bo. I showed long and short pole methods and how to move between them; emphasising need for continual change of hand positions. The mandatory 8 directions of attack and defence were covered. Also the relationship of punches - hook, uppercut, jab, shuto etc. to technique delivered by the Bo was covered. I also brought some old farm tools i.e. a cane cutter and a scythe, both on 4 foot poles and did a short demonstration (In my imagination I killed several ninjas) which I hope showed the reality of what can be done.
Noel Mahon came along and we put the hard word on him which he did not expect - so he also gave the honour of a session on positioning, timing, weight distribution and angles also the use of one hand to block and parry multiple hand techniques while remaining covered. He also reminded all of the fact that there is no basic difference between a shuto block and a shuto attack which simply means attack the arms and legs as a defence; which along with his patented punch block to arm or leg were a couple of Wally Szlagowski’s specialities. During this session which Noel conducted, and speaking for myself – I felt Wally’s spirit was there with us. Vladimir also expanded on this subject and said that after a while the punching block while “still on file” so to speak became rarely utilised as it caused too many injuries to the attacking arm or leg, although that did not apply when fighting other clubs.
All in all – a very good day and we went 30 minutes overtime – hmm – now who to conscript to give a seesion for the next gathering? - Methinks Alan Thomas can do one session.
Regards and respect – John Cook