Friday 1st March 2013
Nuffield Health Fitness and Wellbeing Centre
On the 1st of March Sensei Cummins, 7th dan dedicated the session at Nuffield Health Centre in Rubery to my choice of kata, Nijushiho. The course was open to all grades and karate students from different clubs and Sensei Cummins adapted the session to the kyu grades that attended the lesson. The attendees were of mixed ability and a mixture of grades but Sensei Cummins ensured everybody felt welcome and left feeling like they had learnt something new.
My preparation for this session involved me studying the kata prior to the course at home and at other lessons. I had basic knowledge of the kata and was able to complete it, getting direction, application of strikes and blocks correct although I did not have a vast amount of knowledge about the kata.
The session started by a vigorous warm up where Sensei Cummins had us running around the dojo, changing direction and styles of running. Afterwards Sensei Cummins allowed us time to stretch, where he taught us new ways of improving our flexibility by showing us methods we could use to stretch our leg muscle in preparation for training. Sensei Cummins then talked for a short period of time about the origin of the kata and its previous name. He also translated the name Nijushiho to English to inform us of what it means, kata of the 24 movements/steps. He also explained to us how the kata is like a flowing river, very soft and is able to find a way around any obstacle.
Sensei Cummins then showed us a few of the opening movements and then invited us to join him, he taught slowly and consistently meaning that all of us could focus on each movement and so that the kyu grades were able to follow to. Sensei Cummins also talked through the bunkai whilst demonstrating each technique. After showing and going through the opening movements of the kata with us, Sensei Cummins then continued on to the end of the kata continuing to inform us of the bunkai and what each movement could potentially be used for. After talking through the bunkai Sensei Cummins then demonstrated each block and strike with myself, he told us in-depth how each movement can be used and allowed us a chance to ask questions where he answered thoroughly.
Sensei Cummins then spoke about his personal training and when he learnt the kata, which was very interesting as he was taught in a very different way to us. When the sempai, Austin Birks arrived Sensei Cummins told us all to take a seat as he performed the kata from start to finish. I was so intrigued by the way he demonstrated the kata, so passionate and strong. I could tell when Sensei Cummins was performing the kata that he felt each movement and in his mind he was applying the bunkai.
There was another question and answer session after Sensei Cummins’s performance of Nijushiho, where we were able to question the kata and ask any questions we were unsure of or didn’t ask earlier in the session. Sensei Cummins and sempai then completed the entire kata with bunkai so we were able to see how each move would be applied from different attacks. I found this very interesting as I had much more understanding of the kata and much more understanding of the bunkai.
The course was coming to an end when Sensei Cummins gave us all a chance to perform Nijushiho. I feel that when I was doing the kata I was able to apply the bunkai to the moves in my head which meant I could feel the flow of the kata as I completed it. Sensei Cummins then called us all together and told us how we could each improve our kata and again a chance to answer any questions.
After attending this session I feel that I now know Nijushiho and if asked about the bunkai I would be able to give my opinion. The session was informative and interesting. As well as learning a lot of in-depth information about the kata, I enjoyed the course and felt it was very educational and I have again furthered my knowledge of a new kata and I will continue to perform Nijushiho and practise the bunkai. I look forward to the next ‘choice of kata course’.
Christie Price (1st Dan – 02/03/13)
More pictures from this session can be found in our Flickr album here