Eihachi Ota Seminar – 2014.

Sensei Pennell & Sensei Ota - 2014
Sensei Pennell & Sensei Ota – 2014

Your core is the centre of all your power.

Of course – this is something that we’ve all heard before.  Striking by just swinging your arms is… well, it’s just a waste of time.  It has been several years since I’ve seen Sensei Ota and not much has changed – yet everything has changed.  It never ceases to amaze me;  Sensei Ota is 69 years old – but has the speed, agility and power of someone 1/2 his age.  A true testament to the health benefits of a diet including a hefty dose of Karate!  The Seminar began on Friday with a great review of some Kata including Ananku and Gojushiho.  The amount of power that you can harness by proper stance and use of core muscles is truly incredible.  The was particularly evident in Ananku – a true powerhouse Kata.  Oh – and don’t forget to breath. 🙂

Bo Kata.

If you have not seen Sensei Ota wield a Bo – then you’re missing a real treat.  Once again it all comes back to core strength to get that tip speed up to unbelievable levels.  What I came away with from the Bo seminar was using your trailing hand for control – allowing you to increase your Bo’s tip speed – and hence striking power.  Sounds simple enough – but the only way to truly master the physical mechanics is to practice.  And that is something that Ota has done a lot of – and it shows.  The Bo has to be an extension of your core –  or else, it’s just a long, awkward stick.

Competition Sparring.

Flow sparring is nice.  It’s a good way to loosen up and have some fun.  But lets face it – it can make us lazy.  Particularly if we don’t mix it up with some semi-contact sparring (for those who are up for it that is).  We spent a great deal of time on Saturday doing some good semi-contact sparring.  Ota was quick to point out the importance of low stances, ever-moving hands and watching your opponents body moments for signs of what he/she is going to do next.  Keep your opponent guessing long enough for your to deliver your strike.  Don’t let your hands rest.  Use them as tools of distraction – another tool in the toolbox.  Combine that with quick strikes, power technique and solid stances and it makes for effective sparring, as well as a great workout.  And whatever you do, don’t hang around in your opponent’s strike zone for too long.  Get in and get out.  Know your range – and know your opponent’s range as well.

Shodan and Nidan Grading.

Congrats to Evan on his promotion to Nidan & congrats to Yousif for his promotion to Shodan!  Great work guys.

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