TEENS & ADULTS KARATE AGES 14 TO INFINITY
SELF-DEFENCE · FITNESS · STRESS RELIEF · CONFIDENCE · DISCIPLINE · SOCIAL OUTLET
The best way to see whether you would enjoy practicing karate, and to ask any questions, is to come along to watch or participate in a class. We offer a no-strings-attached trial class period for prospective students to ensure our programs are right for you. Adults can train three times per week on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at 7:00pm (with a 4th class available on Tuesdays once you've a little more experience). Our dojo is not a commercial school, and while we encourage everyone to enquire about joining, we only accept those who will be committed to their training as students and are happy to recommend other dojo to you if we are not the appropriate school for you. Students are required to commit to training at least twice per week. We endeavour to keep class sizes small and utilise multiple instructors to ensure an effective teacher-to-student ratio is maintained. *As catalogued by Sensei Patrick McCarthy (IRKRS).
Our style of Karate-do (Matsubayashi-ryu) is characterised by natural, flowing, fluid and snap, or whip-like techniques. It is a kata-based system with a strong focus on practical and realistic applications. This means that anyone, despite age, gender or ability can practice Karate. We also teach traditional Okinawan Kobudo (weapons) to select students.
All karate classes are taught by the Head Instructor (Kancho), Sensei Reece Cummings, with regular guest instructors such as Australian Chief Instructor Sensei John Carlyle. Soke Takayoshi Nagamine, the second generation headmaster, had also been a guest instructor before his passing in 2012. Sensei Toshimitsu Arakaki regularly visits our dojo to conduct training seminars, and Sensei Patrick McCarthy has also been a regular guest instructor.
Our Approach to practical karate
Kata is at the heart of karate, and the functionality of what we practise lies within the forms and their associated application practices that have been handed down over time from teacher to student. It is also worth acknowledging that karate's development can be attributed to a mixing of South East Asia's fighting arts^ (including indigenous Okinawan martial arts called di/te 手 and Quan Fa/Kenpo 拳法 [Chinese martial arts, which later blended with Okinawa-te to become To-te 唐手], Torite 取手/捕手 [seizing and controlling], Tegumi 手組 [Okinawa-style wrestling]), surrounded by the ritualisation of Japanese Budo 武道 and contemporary sports science.
To determine how we derive functionality from karate's kata, it is first important to understand how kata originally began as sets of paired drills practised by martial artists* that were contextualised by the common ways you may be attacked^. Kata is, therefore, the ritualised solo representation of these drills and partner-based application practices. Kata is not the only tool we utilise, though, to build a practical approach to karate, we also utilise tools such as pad and bag work, two-person drills, self-defence scenario-based training, and sparring.
In our Dojo, we utilise the kata as what we call the 'templates for response' against commons attacks in civilian-based self-defence (often referred to as habitual acts of physical violence (HAPV), as catalogued by Sensei Patrick McCarthy). Kata as a form alone does not create a pathway to functionality, and it is important to understand that the ways you may get attacked (the HAPV) set the context for the kata, and without them, the template is of no use: you need to know what [realistic attack] you're defending against to know how it's used.
These kata-based 'templates for response' provide the building blocks to be successful in a self-defence situation. They are the gateway and foundation to realistic fighting and help provide a natural reaction/flinch response that uses segments of the kata as a method of defence against common attacks.
The solo representation (kata) of the 'templates for response' are not enough, though, and are therefore enhanced and learnt through partner-based exercises. In our Dojo, we focus on setting the context for how kata is used through the application practices and kumite series taught in Matsubayashi-ryu, and also by the incorporation of some of the systemised two-person drills from Sensei Patrick McCarthy, and other methods that Kancho Reece has learnt over his years of training. The process of looking at kata and its associated applications in our Dojo is: kata 型 (form) > bunkai 分解 (pick apart) > bunseki 分析 (analyse) > oyo 応用 (apply) > henka 変化 (variation/expansion).
To extract the practical applications from karate, Sensei Toguchi Seikichi of Okinawan Goju-ryu (and a student of Sensei Chojun Miyagi, founder of Goju-ryu) outlined his rules in what he called 'Kaisai no genri', which we investigate in our classes, includes:
Shuyo san gensoko – three basic rules
- Don't be deceived by the shape (embusen) of the kata.
- Techniques executed while advancing are offensive. Those executed while retreating are defensive.
- There is only one opponent and he is in front of you.
Hosoku joko – advanced rules
- Every movement in kata is significant and is to be used in application.
- A closed pulling hand returning to chamber usually has some part of the opponent in it.
- Utilise the shortest distance to your opponent.
- If you control an opponent’s head, you control the opponent.
- There are no blocks.
- Angles in kata are very important.
- Touching your own body in kata indicates that you are touching part of your opponent.
- Don't attack hard parts of your opponent with hard parts of your body.
- There are no pauses in the application.
- Sensei Seikichi Toguchi's 'Kaisai no genri'
- Sensei Patrick McCarthy's theory on two-person drills (futari-geiko)
- Sensei Patrick McCarthy's research on 'Karate is kata: kata is karate'
*Seikichi Toguchi, Okinawan Goju-ryu 2: Advanced Techinques of Shorei-Kan Karate.^Patrick McCarthy, International Ryukyu Karate Research Society www.koryu-uchinadi.com