The main theme of this very well attended brown and black belt course was correct and accurate movement, particularly in relation to kata. As 18 times USA Kata Champion, four times Pan-American Kata Champion and runner-up in the kata categories of two JKA World Championships, Sensei Okazaki was able to impart a wealth of knowledge through impressive demonstrations of his exceptional skill.
Among the many things Sensei Okazaki impressed upon us on that day was the importance of driving the hips forward in attack, using the hips to turn sharply, ensuring that stances do not break when performing certain movements, clearly differentiating chudan and jodan strikes, and minimising wasted movements.
The second day consolidated and developed on the skills practised on the first day. Sensei Okazaki focused on the katas Tekki Nidan, Tekki Sandan, Empi, Jion and Kanku Dai. Participants were also challenged to perform Heian Shodan in reverse and back to front. The emphasis was on making hipwork more efficient and effective.
On the final day of the course, participants were guided step by step through the katas Sochin, Gojushiho Sho and Kanku Sho, as well as some of the kihon required for the higher Dan gradings. Sensei Okazaki also went through some useful kumite combinations with kizami zuki and gyaku zuki, which demonstrated his experience as a fighter as two times USA Kumite Champion.
A tough Dan grading with Sensei Okazaki and UK Chief Instructor Sensei Ahcene Moussaoui 6th Dan ISKF followed the training. As a Senior Instructor, Technical Committee Member and graduate of the Instructors’ Course, Sensei Okazaki proved to be a highly professional and demanding judge.
In total, five passed Shodan, four passed Nidan and one passed Yondan. The success of those who achieved these Dan grades is a tribute to the dedication of the students and the skill and dedication with which Sensei Moussaoui and his wide network of ISKF UK clubs continue to teach traditional Shotokan Karate.
Best wishes to all