Who Am I to Be Offered This?
I was warming up in my rec-room area, waiting for a Zoom session to begin. As of late, I have been doing some online session with a Sensei from BC - to assist me with my WJKA Instructor certification, and to get me to my next Dan ranking.
I'd done a few with Sensei Don Owens, but today was different. I was invited to train with him and some of his students and karate-colleagues. As the session got started, we were all introduced. I recognized some of the names from my karate research obsession, and after the session I did a little research to find out who I was training with. I was kinda in awe.
You see, Sensei Owens himself is a 9th Dan who has trained for over 55 years. He started under Yamashiro Hiroo Sensei, and has trained with Nakayama Masatoshi 10th Dan, Chief Instructor to the JKA, and Sugano Jun 9th Dan, JKA Vice Chairman. In 1992, he was invited to meet Asai Sensei. Through Asai Sensei he was given the right to the name of Canada JKA.
The others in the group reached up to Shihan (master instructor) in title.
So, what was I doing there??
Well, I've figured this out. Karate people who have served their time and accomplished titles of Shihan, Renshi or Hanshi don't position themselves on a pedestal and become unapproachable. Part of the reason they have been honored with these titles is because of their dedication to Karate sponges like myself.
Country singer Don Williams was called the "reluctant superstar" because his worldwide fame was matched by his humility. Sensei Owens and company remind me of that. In my local Dojo, Sensei Brian Power Sr. isn't interested in telling you about all the years training he has, or who he's fought or trained with, but ask him about a Kata and that's another story - he'll pour it all out.
During the Sessions with Sensei Owens and my new karate friends I am grabbing snippets of Karate wisdom - simply because I have a genuine interest n learning.
- "Relax = Power & Speed"
- "A short Kiai to break the opponent - A full Kia to destroy the opponent!"
- "The purpose of a kick is the transfer energy. Mae Geri Keage is a short pulse of energy in to the opponent. The Kekomi is a longer shock!"
- "Why do Kata? For fluid movement, breath, timing, muscle memory, transition..."
- "Teach a wide stance to beginners for balance but it isn't to be maintained as they grow."
- "A front stance is not a kumite stance is not a front stance. Where is your center?"
- "Use natural compression, not muscle."
Thank god that gone are the days of 'do it this way because I'm telling you it's right!' Informed instruction is teaching that you can test, and you can feel.
I'm honored to be doing these session - delighted actually. And I am also very thankful that Power Karate didn't miss a beat when we went back into this 'circuit breaker' lockdown - They simply switched to online classes twice a week.
I'm no one in particular to be given these karate opportunities, but I guess if you're serious about Karate, the teachers and their wisdom are there to discover.