Master Yaguchi, 77, is ISKF Vice Chief Instructor and the right-hand man of Chief Instructor Teruyuki Okazaki (10th Dan ISKF). He is arguably the most successful instructor in the world, having mentored the likes of Masahiko Tanaka, Takenori Imura, Frank Smith, James Field and other Shotokan legends. Master Yaguchi also has the unique distinction of having been graded to Shodan by Gichin Funakoshi himself, and from Nidan to Hachidan by Masatoshi Nakayama.
The focus of this well-attended course was on correct body movement and placement, particularly as they relate to the different stances. All the major stances were covered in detail and integrated into sequences that tested one's balance, strength and coordination. Indeed, although the sessions were highly technical, the participants were all given a good workout at the same time.
Throughout the course, Master Yaguchi taught participants to ensure that the stances followed the principle of shizen-tai ("Natural position is best") so that we could execute techniques without disrupting the flow and smoothness of a movement.
The first session was a diagnostic session that allowed Master Yaguchi to see where the participants were at in their development. Several movements were introduced, many incorporating front-leg kizami-geri. The emphasis in the second session was on techniques with kiba dachi, including their use in Tekki Shodan, Tekki Nidan and Tekki Sandan. The third and final session touched on all the main points introduced in the first two sessions, culminating in performances of Chinte.
A Dan grading with Master Yaguchi and Sensei Moussaoui followed the final training session. The examiners were joined by Sensei David Jones (7th Dan ISKF) from Canada, who had also assisted Master Yaguchi during the three days. Before the grading, participants were asked to be mindful of everything they had been taught on the course. This included "making room" with correct hip and foot placement so that techniques could be executed effectively; using hip vibration when blocking; clearly showing the difference between "competition chudan" and "kata chudan"; and "creating a chance" before moving in to attack in kumite.
The hard work put in by participants on this excellent course paid off as all examinees passed their grading from Shodan to Sandan. Master Yaguchi was particularly impressed by the high quality of Sensei Moussaoui's kumite instruction, which was clearly evident in the standard of his students' sparring.
Sensei Moussaoui and ISKF-UK would like to thank Master Yaguchi once again for travelling such a long distance to deliver this exceptional masterclass in karate instruction. Sensei Moussaoui would also like to express his thanks to the karateka from other associations, including KUGB, SKIF and SKC England, who came to support the event.
Best wishes to all