It was a cold rainy day outside the Dojo on Saturday. Inside however was a different story.
About 60 karateka had gathered from as far away as Napier, Auckland and Papamoa to have some good solid GoJu Ryu training. Waikato Rembuden had organized for Masterton’s Sensei Steve Riley to come along and teach for the day. The first session was for juniors and I don’t think I have seen them so focused and quiet. All taken in by Sensei’s easy manner and simple explanation. We then were treated to an impromptu Demo of every Kata Sensei did to his own grade (I’m sure not many of us could pull that one out of the bag and do it with such excellence). Adults benefited next who were then followed by a Black Belt session.
Sensei Riley has a reputation for his traditional Budo training and true to form he didn’t disappoint. An inspiring mix of technique and explanation. And this I think is the point of difference to other training days we have had.
The training wasn’t all the hard out physical sweat of thousands of basics or every different kata in the syllabus, it was about learning and understanding the meaning of each skill and technique with emphasis on the warm ups and how this followed through into your basics and kata.
He mentioned that for students, Dojo training was about learning new techniques, trying out things that you had practiced and thought about between your classes and the expectation that you go away and practice in your own time.
Black belts were able to hear of his philosophy, how karate will have its ups and downs during your life, how the different physiques of individuals will mean that a technique or kata will look different and as we progress, it was a not a case of “cloning a technique” but making it work for you. The important thing for Sensei Steve was to train everyday in some way and be out there doing it – not on the couch watching TV or another YouTube footage.
There were lots of references to Honbu Dojo in Okinawa and Higaonna Sensei and how we are all just students forever trying for perfection.