We were delighted to host Sensei John Parnell, 6th Dan from Basingstoke Karate. He taught the regular all-grades class getting everyone to work through some set piece kihon (basics) attack and block sequences. He then got everyone to pair up for kumite (sparring) and we worked through the same sequences with our partners: practise first on your own to get the shape and understanding, then work with a partner to make sure you understand how to do it under real pressure. He then got us to work on kata. First through to the count slowly and smoothly focusing on getting the moves right, then as fast as possible not worrying about technique, then finally mixing the two trying to get the right technique with vigour.
Sensei John then took a senior class focusing on syllabus for first, second and third Dan (black belt). He explained that the secret of passing a black belt grading is kihon. You need to keep relaxed because if you tense up you don’t move quick or sharp, you don’t move your hips – which is essential in shotokan – and you tire quickly. He then got us practising the kihon for grading paying attention to these points. We then worked on each person’s grading kata.
He said he enjoyed teaching everyone and was impressed at how well behaved all the children were and how they were watching and learning. Well done everyone!