On the Friday night the 17th, Shihan Howard and Sempai Alex arrived in Ballina where they had dinner with Sensei Mark and Sensei Jon.
Training began at 9.00 am sharp the next morning at Ballina Dojo. The first session was for the Little Lions. The morning class was spent focused on kihon (basics): strikes, blocks, kicks and combinations. The class ended with some fitness and competitions.
The next session was an hour-long class for instructors only, revising the finer points of techniques, how to break things down and teach them, and for Shihan Howard to ensure all the basics were the same standard across all six KIMAA dojos. The class was attended by Sempai Wally Gray, Sempai Simon Morris, Sempai Patricia Tan, Will Brook, Jermaine Downs and other assistant instructors to the North Coast and Brisbane dojo operators.
The afternoon was focused on the adults. Things got off to a bang, starting with an energetic kumite warm up.
The sparring was followed with fight training and fighting techniques, including footwork and movement. After this, different grades took turns demonstrating kata to Shihan Howard appropriate to their level. This was followed by bunkai (self-defence applications), take-downs and throwing each other around the room. Sempai Alex quickly proved to be Sensei Jon’s favourite crash test dummy!
The instructors finished the afternoon class by running the group through some joint locks and pressure point techniques, and some conditioning.
A group dinner was enjoyed by the visitors and local senior grades at a restaurant in Ballina by the water.
Training began the next morning for adults at 8.30 am at Lismore Dojo. Sensei Mark and Sempai Rob warmed up the class and revised some basics and strength work, before Shihan Howard stepped in to show the group how push ups are really meant to be done!
The class turned to more basics and stance revision, emphasising the importance of separating basic technique from bunkai. The former is the foundation to the latter, and keeping the true form of the technique correct is imperative to the development of one’s karate.
After a final group photo, black and brown belts stayed on for senior kata training. Sempai Alex took the class exhaustively through Garyu. Shihan Howard then had students pair up for advanced kihon techniques and partner work in the Nidan syllabus. The class ended the session by studying Tensho kata.
Sempai Rob commented about the seminar shortly afterwards online, in particular about Shihan Howard: “I am still in awe of this man. The technical ability and his knowledge of every detail of every technique absolutely blows me away. There are very few people in the martial arts world like Shihan Howard Lipman.”
Shihan Howard was most pleased by the students’ standard of technique, as well as the teachers’ instruction of both the North Coast dojos and those who came down from Brisbane. The quality of the KIMAA students are an obvious reflection of their instructors. He passed on his thanks to Sempai Alex for his assistance. Shihan Howard congratulated Sensei Mark, Sensei Jon and Sempai Rob on the level of technique their students had attained, the fit-out of their dojos, and their obvious dedication to and rapport with their students.
Shihan Howard Lipman and senior KIMAA members met Shihan Ken during the 2015 Japan Group Tour when training at Sensei Hokama’s dojo. The group trained with Shihan Ken for a class and Shihan Ken was most impressed with the “Australian team”. The members of the tour found it to be a fantastic experience, and a friendship was formed between KIMAA and Shihan Ken.
Shihan Howard was so impressed with Shihan Ken as an instructor that he invited Shihan Ken to Australia to conduct a seminar in Karate and Kobudo. Shihan Ken was delighted to accept. He arrived in Australia on Wednesday November 16th. Shihan Howard and his wife Masumi hosted Shihan Ken for the duration of his stay.
The class ran for two hours and focused on bunkai (self-defence applications) from some Kyu-grade katas, especially the Pinan katas. While KIMAA students regularly study bunkai in weekly classes and seminars, and perform it as part of Kyokushin gradings, Shihan Ken introduced the class to bunkai options from these katas with a Goju-ryu influence, being his main style of Karate. Senior and junior grades alike learned many new applications and enjoyed the training. Sensei Peter Olive quickly became Shihan Ken’s preferred partner to demonstrate applications with, throwing Sensei all over the floor and performing joint locks on him over and over!
Sensei James & Sensei Mark.
Sensei Jon & Sensei Estan.
The Wednesday night class at the Shihan Ken Seminar.
There was no class on Thursday, so Shihan Ken was shown the sights of Sydney. Shihan Rick Cunningham, Sensei Mark and Sensei Jon joined Shihan Ken on a climb of Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Shihan Rick, Shihan Ken, Sensei Mark & Sensei Jon
KIMAA Bridge Climbers
Two classes were held on Friday the 18th. The first was a Black Belt class in the afternoon, which primarily focused on Okinawan Seipai. Joining the mix was Sempai Rob James of North Brisbane and Nundah dojos.
Shihan Ken demonstrates Seipai bunkai
Sensei Peter is Shihan’s dummy again
Sempai Rob James strikes.
Sensei Jon Ellis blocks
That night, Shihan Ken took another class open to all grades. The class was even larger than Wednesday’s, with kyu grades from Lismore and Ballina also in attendance. Once again bunkai was studied, applying joint locks, neck grabs, takedowns and more within the context of kata. After training, the group booked out the restaurant Noodle City in Gordon and enjoyed a meal with Shihan Ken.
Training began promptly at 9.00 am the following morning at Annangrove Dojo, with Shihan Rick taking the class through basics and sanbon kumite. After the half hour of warm-up training, Shihan Ken arrived with Shihan Howard to get stuck into the day of learning. A group session revised content from Wednesday and Friday nights, as well as diving into new bunkai from other kata.
Lauren from Ballina Dojo works with Sempai James Campbell from Turramurra Dojo.
Following an extended group session, the focus turned to Kobudo (weapons). Sensei Paul Finnerty and Sensei Mark Shelmerdine took groups of students with varying level of Kobudo experience outside to practise the Bo, while the more experienced karateka remained inside to work with Shihan Ken. Shihan Ken checked some basic Bo work with various exercises, the Kihon kata and Ufugusuku, all with the related partner work.
Shihan Ken then gave attention to the intermediate Kobudo group, revising the Bo exercises and first kata. Sempai James Campbell and Sempai Alex Lloyd took the senior group through a new exercise Shihan Ken had shown them, before Sempai Alex took over the intermediate group revising Ufugusuku.
Tony from Turramurra and Larissa from Ballina work the Bo staff.
A BBQ lunch was enjoyed, prepared by Shihan Rick’s wife Kirsti and cooked by Sensei Ian Holdaway. After lunch, the kyu grades practised what they had learned already during the seminar with Sensei Peter.
The black belts had the first session with Shihan Ken, where Sensei James Sidwell and Sensei Jon took turns being Shihan Ken’s new demonstration partner, giving Sensei Peter some reprieve. The black belts then went outside to further practise the two Seipai katas.
Sempai James Campbell & Sempai Rob James.
After a short break, students were again divided into groups. The intermediate kyu grades continued their kata training with Sensei Ben Ng and Sensei Don Cheong, while the juniors remained with Shihan Ken indoors. The black belts revised some Nidan- and Sandan-level katas, led by Sensei Paul and Sensei Idir Bahamid. The black belts then went back inside and Sempai Alex helped the juniors with Sanchin kata.
The students all came back together for a fitness session with Shihan Rick. Shihan Ken enjoyed watching the Kyokushin students train in their element, taking many photos. He was very impressed.
At the end of class, Shihan Howard made an important announcement. Peter Olive began training in Kyokushin at the Honbu Dojo in Tokyo, grading to blue belt before returning to Australia. Peter has trained with Shihan Howard, Shihan Rick and KIMAA as a whole for nearly twenty years, and is a regular instructor at both Turramurra and Annangrove dojos. It was Shihan Howard’s pleasure to promote Peter to 5th Dan (Godan) in Kyokushin, and awarding him the title of “Shihan”.
Congratulations to Shihan Peter!
After this promotion, Shihan Ken kindly posed with the students for individual and group photos.
An enjoyable and relaxing dinner was held for the senior grades and visitors from the North Coast and Queensland at Shihan Rick’s home.
Class began at 9.00 am on the Sunday morning, kicking off with more basics and fitness with Shihan Rick and Shihan Peter.
Shihan Howard, his wife Masumi and Shihan Ken then arrived to begin training. Masumi took some photos for Shihan Ken and assisted throughout the day. Shihan Ken continued to demonstrate his intricate knowledge of kata and the self-defence techniques hidden within, giving students a much more advanced and deeper understanding of what they so regularly do in class.
After the combined training, the juniors stayed inside with Shihan Ken to learn more kata and bunkai. Shihan Peter took Sempai Rob, the Shodans and brown belts through every kata up to Nidan grade level in preparation for the upcoming black belt grading.
Sensei Paul meanwhile took the senior black belts through Kanku-Dai.
Everyone then came together for lunch, cooked again by Sensei Ian. After the break, the senior Kobudo grades stayed with Shihan Ken for more weapons training. The youngest of the kids went home and the other kyu grades went outside for more kata and bunkai training.
Indoors, Shihan Ken ran students through Bo v Bo defence applications. This was followed by the Tonfa kata and Bo v Tonfa defence. Finally, Chibana no Sai and Hame Higa no Sai were practised and polished. Shihan Ken was most impressed with the standard displayed by KIMAA’s senior Kobudo students.
The groups continued to rotate indoors and outdoors. Everyone came together at the end of the day for kumite, the fight training important preparation for the senior grading in two weeks time.
Shihan Howard and Shihan Rick ended the class by expressing their immense thanks to Shihan Ken for all the training. Shihan Ken was then presented with “traditional Australian bush clothing”!
The final session of the seminar was the Monday night. Students arrived quite stiff, needing a lot of stretching to loosen up for the last session! There was quite a split in grades, from senior black belts to outright beginners, so Shihan Ken taught the class in two main alternating groups of seniors and juniors, switching between kata bunkai to basic self-defence.
Everybody who attended the seminar, whether for one class or the whole week, walked away amazed at the amount of knowledge imparted to them. Shihan Ken’s time was generous and teaching outstanding, his deep understanding of the martial arts coupled with quality and caring instruction.
The senior KIMAA instructors have taken on board a lot of new bunkai and other techniques to practise with their students; Kobudo practitioners have had their skills fine-tuned; and all kyu grades discovered new layers to the martial arts which they may not have realised was there before. The KIMAA karateka are all grateful for their time with Shihan Ken. Especially gratifying for KIMAA was Shihan Ken’s enthusiasm for the Australian students, and his pride in what they accomplished during the week.
It was a great honour to train with a brilliant martial artist. Thank you Shihan Ken.
Thanks also go to Shihan Howard and Shihan Rick to organising the seminar; Masumi for all her help; to Sensei Ian and Kirsti for feeding the troops; Sensei Mark and Sensei Jon for coming down the coast for the whole week; everyone who travelled from the North Coast; Sempai Alex and Jonathan Lee for the photography; and to all who attended for being exemplary KIMAA ambassadors and training so hard.
Video footage from the week will be made available to KIMAA senior instructors shortly, filmed by Sensei Mark McFadden and Sempai Alex.
Senior KIMAA black belts will next see Shihan Ken in the 2017 Japan Group Tour in January. Shihan Howard invited Shihan Ken to return to Australia and conduct another KIMAA seminar in October 2017, and Shihan Ken was quick to accept. We look forward to training with Shihan Ken again next year.
The seminar began on the Saturday afternoon. Much of the afternoon was dedicated to kata and bunkai. Attention was also given to breathing technique and the importance of expanding one’s lung capacity. Self-defence applications were derived from the three Taikyoku katas, Sokugi Taikyoku sono Ichi and the first three Pinan katas. The more senior grades also went through Sanchin and Tsukino.
Kumite was a big part of the afternoon, with Shihan Cunningham discussing the finer points of stances, kicking, timing, distance and a good defence.
The seminar resumed on the Sunday, beginning with a Little Lions session. The class covered Kyokushin kihon, kata and pad work.
Kata, bunkai and pad work were the main focuses of the Sunday adults class as well.
The weekend was very successful and the students learned a lot. Thanks goes to the venue, Healthworks Fitness Centre Aspley. Sempai Rob and his students were also enormously grateful to Shihan Cunningham for teaching the seminar.
“It’s not everyday you train with someone like Shihan Rick, who has a wealth of knowledge in the martial arts, is a great mentor and genuinely wants to see you grow,” said Sempai Rob.
The seminar was hosted by Lismore Dojo’s head instructor, Sensei Mark McFadden (3rd Dan Kyokushin, 3rd Dan Kobudo). Other black belts in attendance were Sensei Jon Ellis (3rd Dan Kyokushin, 2nd Dan Kobudo) and Sempai Wally Gray (2nd Dan Kyokushin). KIMAA Karateka included adults and kids from local dojos Lismore and Ballina. Sensei Barry Potts from Northern Rivers Shukokai Karate brought along his students to participate in the seminar’s Saturday session.
The primary focus of Saturday’s class was on bunkai (application) from kata (pattern or form). The applications were taken from various Pinan Kata and Naihanchi.
Everyone had a good time, and a lot of content was covered in the day.
Sunday began with Kobudo. A grading was held, and students were assessed by Shihan Cunningham. Trish Tan, Wally Gray, Jack Hannah and Wes Snyder were all graded to their next Kyu belt in Kobudo. Congratulations to all.
After the Kobudo was a Little Lions session. This session included kihon (basics), pad/bag work and kata.
The Little Lions enjoyed themselves, especially having guest instructor Shihan Cunningham show them a few new tricks!
Lunch was then served, expertly BBQ’d by Sensei Jon Ellis. Thanks go to Geoff from Wyrallah Rd Blue Ribbon Meats for supplying the snags to feed the hungry Little Lions after the morning session. Patricia Tan was also a great aid with the supply shopping and other little situations that arose. Of course thanks also go to the parents of the Little Lions who gave up their weekends to come and support their kids.
Shihan Howard Lipman extended his apologies but was unable to attend due to work commitments.
An afternoon class was held on the Saturday, attended by the North Coast and Brisbane students, along with senior grades from Sydney. The session focused on Kobudo, specifically the Kali sticks and Bo. This was followed by bunkai from the Kyokushin Karate kata Pinan sono Ichi.
Guests from the other dojos and Sydney seniors then enjoyed a dinner at Shihan Cunningham’s home, prepared by Shihan and his wife Kirsti.
The main part of the seminar took place on the Sunday, beginning at 9 am. The first session ran students through basics, which included a lot of partner and contact work. This was followed by sanbon kumite and bunkai from Pinan sono Ichi & Ni.
For the next session, students were broken up into groups based on belt grade and experience with Kobudo.
Sensei Ian Holdaway (3rd Dan Kyokushin, 1st Dan Kobudo) took some junior kyu grades through the Pinan sono Ni kata and bunkai. Sensei Paul Finnerty (4th Dan Kyokushin, 3rd Dan Kobudo) took other kyu grades with little prior Kobudo experience through the Bo, specifically the Kihon kata. Sensei Mark Shelmerdine (4th Dan Kyokushin, 4th Dan Kobudo) took a more experienced group of kyu grades through the Bo, including the Kihon kata and the partner contact work.
Kobudo at the Sydney Seminar.
Senior grades remained inside with Sensei Peter Olive (4th Dan Kyokushin, 1st Dan Kobudo). Sensei Peter took students through various Karate kata, including Pinan sono Yon & Go, Yantsu, and Gekusai Dai & Sho.
A BBQ lunch was then served by Sensei Ian.
Students were then broken up into groups again based on which weapon they wanted to work on. Sensei Mark took students through the Eeku kata; Sensei Paul taught the first Sai kata, Chibana no Sai; and Sempai Alex Lloyd (2nd Dan Kyokushin, 1st Dan Kobudo) ran the Kali stick group through a partner drill and multiple combat drills.
All students came back together for the final session, which was fitness and fight training. Students did full-contact work in rotating pairs. It was a hot weekend with high-intensity cardio, allowing the karateka to demonstrate their fitness and determination.
Kumite at the Sydney Seminar.
Students enjoyed the thorough stretch and warm-down at the end of the class!
Thanks go to all guests from the North Coast and Queensland dojos for making the trip to Sydney, as always; thanks to Shihan Lipman and Shihan Cunningham for organising the weekend; and to Shihan Cunningham once again for running an excellent seminar.
The next KIMAA Seminar will be held at Lismore Dojo in April.
On the weekend of November 28-29, my wife Masumi and I travelled to Brisbane for me to conduct a seminar at Sempai Rob James’s (2nd Dan Kyokushin) dojo in Aspley. There were 15 kids and 12 adults in attendance over the course of the weekend.
Sempai Rob and Shihan Lipman lead the class.
Aspley Dojo Little Lions with Shihan Lipman.
On Saturday afternoon the first class was for the kids who were initially a little apprehensive, however they were soon made to feel at ease and settled down to enjoy their class. I was most impressed with their level of knowledge and attitude towards training. The class consisted of Kihon, Ido Geiko and Kata.
At the conclusion of the class, Masumi wrote all the kids’ names on their belts in Japanese, which they thought was great.
This class was followed by a session with the adults where once again I checked and emphasised the importance of basics. Most of the class was spent on Kihon and Ido Geiko. Both were at a good standard, which is always a measure of capable students and a quality and dedicated instructor.
On Sunday morning there was another class for the adults and this was orientated towards Ido Geiko, Kata, some fighting techniques and a little self-defence. All the adults performed well and have potential to move forward in their grades.
A few deserve special mention: Jermaine and Amanda, the senior kyu grades, are excellent role models for the more juniors. Chris and Yolanda from the junior kyu grades also performed exceptionally well.
Aspley Dojo adults with Shihan Lipman.
All the adults also had their names put on their belts in Japanese by Masumi.
The seminar was a great success and enjoyed by all. Congratulations are due to Sempai Rob, who I have known since he was 17 years old. It has been interesting and pleasing to watch his progress over the years. His dojo now is well organised and well disciplined which is a mark of the man himself.