A Kyokushin and Kobudo seminar was held in Sydney on the weekend of 25-27 October. The seminar was organised and run by Shihan Howard Lipman and Shihan Rick Cunningham. Senior students from the Sydney dojos and some lower grades attended, as well as Sensei Mark McFadden, Sempai Jon Ellis and Jeremy Gray from the North Coast, and Sempai Rob James from Brisbane. The purpose of the seminar was to bring the seniors from all the KIMAA dojos together to train, to give the lower grades an opportunity to train with the seniors, and to ensure that good standards of technique are being upheld across all dojos.
A senior grades class was held on Friday night at Shihan Lipman’s Turramurra Dojo. The class began with a revision of kihon (basics). Everyone’s technique was thoroughly reviewed, cleaning up any ‘bad habits’. General knowledge and terminology was also gone over. Sensei Peter Olive ran students through the Kyokushin Seipai kata. This has now been reinstated in the KIMAA syllabus alongside the Okinawan Seipai kata that has been taught in recent years. The class finished by revising the Naihanchi kata (video demonstration available here). Training was followed by a dinner at Noodle City in Gordon.
The seminar moved to Shihan Cunningham’s Annangrove Dojo for the rest of the weekend. Students from the Kids classes came for the day. The day began with a group session devoted to basic training: strikes, blocks, kicks and moving through stances were all practised.
Knox Grammar School senior school Karate students took a break from their regular sports program to attend the seminar in the morning.
After the first class, the students were broken up into groups. The Knox students were taken through further Karate techniques as well as basic Bo drill with Sensei Mark Shelmerdine and Sensei Paul Finnerty.
The kids trained with the seniors for Naihanchi kata and bunkai (application).
The group was brought back together for lunch.
While the food was being prepared, one of Knox’s senior grades Samuel Hoberman (4th Kyu) was given the opportunity to spar with Sensei Mark Shelmerdine, followed by Shihan Cunningham. Sam represented Knox admirably, getting into a grappling stand-off on the ground with Sensei Mark. By the end of his two bouts he found a new appreciation for the intense nature of Kyokushin kumite.
The Knox students were then taken by bus back to the school while everybody else enjoyed a group BBQ lunch, kindly prepared by Shihan Cunningham’s wife, Kirsti, and Sempai Ian Holdaway. The seniors continued after lunch with bunkai work from other Kyokushin katas. The group then practised throws.
This was followed by kumite (sparring).
Seipai kata was also reviewed following Friday night. A short ceremony was conducted at the end of Saturday where Shihan Lipman awarded dojo operator certificates. Shihan Lipman was made an Australian Branch Chief by Sosai Mas Oyama in 1989 and later South Pacific Representative in 1993. Shihan Lipman has chosen to similarly formalise the authority of his senior instructors, recognising them as official KIMAA dojo operators in the same way that he was an IKO Branch Chief of Sosai’s. These certificates were awarded to Shihan Rick Cunningham for Annangrove Dojo, Sensei Mark McFadden for Lismore Dojo, Sempai Jon Ellis for Ballina Dojo, and Sempai Rob James for Aspley Dojo.
After the seminar, the senior grades enjoyed a lovely dinner at Shihan Cunningham’s house.
Sunday was largely devoted to Kobudo training. After the warm up students were again divided into groups. Sensei Paul took the beginners through Bo drill, as did Sensei Mark Shelmerdine with the kids.
Shihan Cunningham ran the seniors through the basic exercises and Bo katas Kihon, Ufugusuku and Sushi no Kon Sho, as well as partner work. Shihan Lipman had unavoidable work commitments and unfortunately could not attend the Sunday session.
After the Bo students moved onto the Sai, working on the katas Chibana, Hamahiga and Chatanyara. The kids also got to work with Sai, but were only given rubber ones!
Some further weapons were practised before the groups were brought back together to go over Seipai and Naihanchi katas once again. Training ended with Sempai Rob James being awarded his 8th Kyu in Kobudo. A group lunch followed at a café in Round Corner.
The seminar was deemed a great success by the instructors and its students. Similar seminars will now be conducted every year, with brown belts and black belts always expected to attend. Bringing together the seniors from all five KIMAA dojos is a rewarding experience for all, as well as ensuring that standards are being maintained across the board.
The next seminar will be held in March 2014 in preparation for the senior grading (5th Kyu through to black belt) in June. Attendance will be required for anyone wishing to attempt the grading.
The KIMAA students express their warm thanks to Shihan Lipman and Shihan Cunningham for organising a wonderful weekend.