View Full Version : re. 'peak' training experiences

tony leith
5th November 2002, 16:47
Hi all

I was just having one of those involuntary spasms of reflection brought about by the realisation that I've been doing Kempo for 11 years - I realise that to those of you who started in your cribs this might not seem very long, but when you train in a university dojo you achieve grizzled veteran status after about three years, and by this point I'm practically a geological feature (as in fossilised relic). Anyway, I'd be interested in hearing about what experiences particularly stick out in your Kempo careers:-

Selection of random highlights from mine-
1)Seeing Sensei Graham Knabbs and Nori san stitch the air with dan mawashigeri when they visited us in Glasgow when I'd been training for about three weeks - I remember thinking 'thank **** they're the good guys".
2)Seeing Mizuno Sensei do sokuto geri for the first time a few months after that when he came up to grade us - I say see, I don't think I actually saw it in transit, but he did obligingly hit the pause button at full extension. This occasion was also memorable for being the one and only occasion I've ever heard Sensei swear (mildly) in a dojo - he'd basically just got off a plane from Kenya then had to get on one to Glasgow for our grading, prompting the comment that Glasgow that "Glasgow was bloody cold". We couldn't help but feel that this was not a good omen.
3) Seeing the late Mori Sensei negligently flip the largest kenshi available through the air one handed (bad luck Dave Marshall for being conspicuously the largest kenshi - well probably anywhere).
4)Seeing Aosaka Sensei kick one of his aides round the room at Sayer's Croft - the effect being heightened by the running commentary the poor sod had to try and give at the same time.
5)Seeing Arai Sensei doing anything..

Anybody else care to chip in their top five (or thereabouts)

Tony Leith

Juan Perez
5th November 2002, 17:08
1. Sensei and I were working randori and I got the rare opportunity to execute a throw on him. He reversed the throw mid air and, I am not sure how, ended up throwing me. I landed crumpled-up against the corner of the dojo. Not knowing what had just happened, I asked him to show me again. He said: "No. You've learned enough today"

2. I was working newaza with Sensei and had been on the mat for over an hour with him. I was thinking: "Damn, I must be getting good. He hasn't been able to submit me yet." Then, a student takes a call and comes back to the mat and tells Sensei, "There's a call for you, Sensei." Sensei nods and submits me immediately to take the call.

Tripitaka of AA
6th November 2002, 06:32
This one needs some thought... I'll probably have to take a few days to blow the dust off the memories.. Thanks for the prompt Tony, I'm going to enjoy trying.

Difficult to separate the Dojo stories from the Social/Organisation/People stories, as Shorinji Kempo seems to be such a Life Experience kind of thing.

First one that came to mind was the peculiar pride that I felt, when selected to be knocked out by Mizuno Sensei at the Crystal Palace Summer Camp. I was so thrilled... which sounds a bit odd now.

John McCollum
6th November 2002, 19:55
Hi all...

Too many memorable events to remember...(?!)

-> Experiencing the sheer, blinding pain of a well executed kiri gote for the first time. The pain was so great and unexpected that I could only squeeze out a solitary tear, and wait for the pain to stop.

-> Practicing randoori for the first time with Guy Wardrop, an instructor at our dojo with a Muay Thai background. I remember being bounced around the dojo for about ten minutes, then realising that the coolest bruise (in the shape of a perfect footprint!) was rapidly appearing on mae sammai.

-> Watching two Hombu instructors (possibly Morikawa Sensei + another?) open the 3rd European taikai with a blistering embu. I remember thinking "so that's Shorinji Kempo then..."

-> Seeing the same instructor (Morikawa Sensei, again?) take Kihon the previous day. When demonstrating Jun geri, I was only aware that his foot had actually left the ground by the timing of his kiai.

More to come, no doubt. ;)

George Hyde
7th November 2002, 12:54
Originally posted by John McCollum

-> Experiencing the sheer, blinding pain of a well executed kiri gote for the first time. The pain was so great and unexpected that I could only squeeze out a solitary tear, and wait for the pain to stop.

Y' big girl!;)

'97 Kyoto seminar - Mori Sensei was demonstrating kumade-zuki on Fuji (biggest-chin-in-hombu) Sensei, illustrating the correct angle from about 2 inches. The memorable bit being watching Mori Sensei trying to hold up Fuji Sensei who was drifting in and out of consciousness immediately after the apparently gentle contact was made. Eventually Mori Sensei managed to prop him up against a wall until he regained his composure.


8th November 2002, 09:19
In 1991 a group of instructors came to the U.K. for an International seminar. Sanada Sensei was teaching, and he demonstrated a throw on me. From a static position he grabbed my arm and threw me about 10 - 15 feet across the room (I weigh about 95 kilos/ 195 lbs).
It was uncanny, and I still can't think of any rational explanation.

Indar Picton-Howell

tony leith
8th November 2002, 11:32
I too have seen Sanada Sensei apparently defy the laws of physics, though fortunately I was only a witness and not the victim. It was at a seminar he taught in Brixton a few years ago (with his arm in a cast if I remember). He was telling us about the importance of strong form for uchi atoshi uke, and demonstrated why on his partner. He did the equivalent of a quarter inch punch with a mawashigeri at full extension which was resting on the blocking surface of his partner's arm - I was watching very closely and didn't see any sign of the leg being drawn back preparatory to kicking. The hapless victim went sprawling about ten feet into amazed onlookers.

When he visited us in Glasgow a few years before that, he was showing us a sticky hands type exercise. Through Andy who was translating for him he said that we had to learn to 'use the Force'. Our expressions must have betrayed a certain scepticism that he had said any such thing, because Sensei looked at us and said very distinctly "Obi Wan Kenobi'. I kid you not. Maybe he's got a lightsabre under his hoi? (OK, as somebody who once translated Dharma as 'the Force' in Mizuno Sensei's presence and lived (just), I should say that I'm kidding about that ;) )

Tony leith

8th November 2002, 12:11
best translation for the force is Ki or ki-ryoku

use the force luke :)

8th November 2002, 14:08
Tony Indar, et. al,
My fellow kenshi. Gassho.
I have often maintained that Shorinji Kempo is the closest real thing to being a Jedi Knight. Nice to know Sanada Sensei thinks so as well... ;)
I had the honour of being examined by Sanada Sensei for third dan. Definitely a harsh task master. Tony: No sign of a cast then.
Sanada Sensei is an engineer, and his "ri" stage of shu-ha-ri is, IMHO, characterised by the application of certain Newtonian principles, through which he filters his understanding of both goho and juho.
Now, to keep on thread, does anybody remember a certain howa at BSKF summer camp in 1998...
PS: Indar, your amplifier has been ordered, and will arrive on 15 November.

Tripitaka of AA
19th November 2002, 07:33
Having been involved with the creation of several Dantai Embu for the Abbey Dojo, I thought I had a good idea of how a good group effort should work... then I saw the Embu competition at the World Taikai in 1985. I had imagined that 6 or 9 were near the limit for managing to get people in synchronised movement. At the Taikai I saw teams of no less than twelve, inch-perfect, completely synchronised Kenshi performing amazing nagewaza, goho and Juho techniques to a standard comparable only to my instructors... all under the age of say, fifteen. I felt like I had landed Over the Rainbow, seeing Technicolour for the first time.

Memories of Graham Nabbs Sensei would be incomplete without the vision of him grabbing the nearest relective surface to practice his single-form, long after the rest of us had fallen exhausted, slowly gathering our clothes for a trip to the pub and a longed-for pint. He'd be zapping out super-fast zuki and geri as though he hadn't managed to get enough exercise during the class...

Takemori Sensei, who was the General Secretary of WSKO at the time, came to a BSKF Summer Camp as a last-minute replacement for Arai Sensei. There had been a tangible disappointment among those Kenshi who knew of Arai Sensei, but it was dispelled in the simplest way possible. Takemori Sensei possessed a large frame, similar to a Judoka, or a Professional Darts Player - ahem!! -. He was accompanied on the trip by two slim, slender and ultra-fit Busen students. He simply got one of them to throw him, and showed us an Ippon-Senage that any of us could be proud of, landing as lightly as a Grasshopper and then throwing the Busen student almost into orbit with just the slightest wrist movement. The mood of the gathered throng changed in that split second and EVERYONE moved a few inches forwards as they strained to hear and see as much as they possibly could.

There were groans and moans aplenty later, when the effort to hear Takemori Sensei's explanations of his Seiho demonstration were rewarded by the sounds of Mizuno Sensei's neck clicking and cracking as it was being wrenched around by Takemori Sensei's cosy grip.

Attending a Year-Closing ceremony at Stockwell Dojo with Mizuno Sensei wearing his Hoi with the sleeves down. I've never known a more palpable buzz through the body as that given by the sipped saucerfull of dodgy white wine (it was never really Sake, was it?).

19th November 2002, 11:47
He'd be zapping out super-fast zuki and geri...
Please... tsuki and keri. "Geri" means "diarrhoea"...

Steve Williams
19th November 2002, 18:00
Originally posted by Kimpatsu

Please... tsuki and keri. "Geri" means "diarrhoea"...

Yes.... I remember Graham doing that once also...... :D

(Party..... Heavy drinking... too much food... leave the rest to your imagination...)

19th November 2002, 21:59
To complete the Japanese lesson, Steve Sensei, the "tsu" and "ke" become "zu" and "ge" respectively when preceded by a modifier, viz.: Tsuki, but jun zuki. Keri, but jun geri.
At the world Taikai in 1997, when the translators were translating people's grading essays into Japanese for the examiners, one person even wrote "tsuki" as "sky". We didn't even know what he meant for a moment... :cool:

Tripitaka of AA
20th November 2002, 10:11
Thanks Tony, I guess I won't be making THAT mistake again!

I know Yoriko is always amused when people raise their glasses with the toast "chin-chin" :D (it is an informal term for a penis in Japanese :eek: )