Typical Training Session
(Click on any picture to enlarge)
Instructors: The club has two Japanese trained, fully qualified instructors. The club Lead Instructor is Sensei Rob Windsor (3rd Dan). Phil Sears (2nd Dan) is Assistant instructor.
What do you need: If you've never done Karate before all you need is a T-shirt and a pair of Tracksuit bottoms or loose-fitting trousers. An 'open mind' would also be useful together with some enthusiasm (but we'll help with this!). If you've done Karate before and would like to start training again come along and try us out and see if we fit the bill! Age is not an issue. The founder of Wado, Grand Master Ohtsuka I, was training regularly up to the age of 89. Wado is about relaxed, flowing body movement - you don't need the physique of a body-builder to develop effective technique.
Thorough Warm-up: In a typical Karate session you will use pretty much all of the muscle groups in your body. Therefore it's important that you warm-up and stretch your body before and after each session to avoid injury, discomfort and make training more effective. Before each lesson starts the students complete a number of different cardio-vascular exercises and stretches to get the body thoroughly warmed-up. You'll be encouraged to do this at your own pace and will learn techniques that can be used before and after any type of physical exercise - so, maybe Karate can also benefit your football, hockey, netball, squash or tennis game too!
Basics: In the same way that your home is built on solid foundations, a Karate students progress is built on regular and thorough practice of a number of basic techniques. These basic techniques cover both punching and kicking as well as evasion and general control of your body movement. Body movement is particularly important in Wado Karate. Students are encouraged to remain relaxed and to use hip twist and body shift to generate rapid movement to create the power in their punching and kicking techniques. These basic techniques form a foundation for development of more advanced techniques as the student progresses. All Karate students from beginners to Sensei's need to continually work on their "basics" throughout their training to enable the more advanced techniques to be attempted and practiced.
Self Defense: Wado Karate training includes Goshin Ho which are techniques for getting out of grabs or holds. This form of self defense is based on Jui-Jutsu techniques that Grand Master Ohtsuka I integrated into his students Karate practice. The series of pictures above show Sensei Windsor demonstrating how to defend against a grab to the wrist using a Jui-Jutsu-based movement. Students are taught a number of these basic self defense techniques during regular training.
Fighting Basics and Pair Work: A lot of Karate training is performed in pairs. Students are matched on height, weight and ability where ever possible. Partners take it in turns to attack each other giving their counterparty an opportunity to practice various defense and counter attack techniques. As the students become more confident and competent in the techniques they can ask their partner to speed-up their attacks to simulate a real life situation. In the picture sequence above, Sensei Windsor demonstrates a counter attack against a Mawashigeri (round-house) kick.
The pictures to the left of this text show students practicing counter attack to a punch. Pair work is important in allowing students to practice their timing and distance. If you move too soon after an opponent starts an attack they can change the direction of their attack and strike you. If, however, you wait to the last moment to evade their attack you can gain distance on them and counter attack before they can attack again.
Kata: Kata are set patterns of body movement which allow the student to practice evading and counter attaching against an imaginary set of opponents - a little bit like a Boxer will 'shadow-box' against an imaginary opponent. There are five basic Kata in Wado know as Pinan Kata's: Shodan; Nidan; Sandan; Yodan; and Godan. There is also a basic Kata that all students learn first called Kihon Kata. After these basic Kata, students learn the more complex Kata which are very old and can be traced back to the origins of Karate in Okinawa. These Kata include: Kushanku; Naihanchi; Seishan; and Chinto. These are the main Kata of Wado although there are many others which are also learnt and practiced (e.g. Bassai, Jion, Jitte, Wanshu). Students can learn many important counter attack techniques from the study of Bunkai which are applications of sections of Kata practiced with a partner(s). Kata can be very effective training for a student when they are on their own and can be practiced anywhere (e.g. your living room or bedroom at home, a hotel room, a garden - pretty much any space you can stand in!). Students can, and do, compete in Kata competitions within the WKF.
Sparring: When they are ready, Students are given the opportunity to practice light sparring against other Students within the Club. This allows them to practice evasion and combinations of counter attacking techniques in a more realistic situation. Students are also taught the rules of sport competition fighting and are given coaching on useful attacking and counter attacking combinations. Kumite, as sparring is known, competitions can be entered within the WKF - Students at the Fudoshin Club compete in such competitions. The sequence of pictures above shows students at the Club practicing sparring at the end of a regular training session.