While I was working in New York in 2011, I had the opportunity to train at a Kyudokan Goju Karate club. The name of the club instructor is Sensei Andy Dominey, and he visited me in Cardiff from the 3rd June. We organised an extra training session at Sophia Gardens on Sunday 4th June for him to share some of his experiences with us.
GoJu Karate is a traditional art from Okinawa. It balances hard linear movements with soft circular ones to build a self defence system that concentrates on close range fighting. Sensei Dominey prides himself on the practical aspects of karate paying particular attention to angles of attack/defence, body positioning, use of posture and fluidity of movement.
In typical JiuJitsu fashion, I forgot to take any photographs, but wanted to take a few notes of some of the areas we got to explore during the session. It's also a helpful reminder for those who did attend.
We began with a typical warmup and breakfalling practise. We quickly looked at some basic throws: o-soto-gari, koshi-guruma & o-uchi-waza. These were techniques we would revisit through the day.
Sensei Dominey began introducing fundamentals of the goju style, so everyone would have the tools for the day and everyone would be on the same page. Students were introduced to basic strikes, blocks and stances as well as some goju-philosophy:
'No First Attack in Karate' - essentially every movement must consider it's outcome and provide a means for escape.
During blocking Sensei Dominey would ensure to find multiple-points of contact, using arms, legs and back to detect a person's balance and movement. Body structure can be used to arrest movement/momentum.
Another important theme is that of the 'continuous fist' which reminds the student to not be precious of their technique, it allows them to move on (an through) their opponent.
Back to fundamentals for a moment: Sensei Dominey demonstrated Seiunchin kata. This teaches controlling and pulling actions. The opening of the kata demonstrates a 'mountain block' in 'shiko-dachi', this is a method for entering in order to meet the opponent's attack and control their weight through your legs and back not your arms then feel for their movement and respond accordingly.
Putting these themes to work we used an Arm-bar, which could be rotated into a shoulder-lock before looking at a simple hip-throw. Having grasped the idea, we reversed the order; providing choice.
With the foundations in place we could approach the afternoon looking at a range of goju-applications.
We looked at using elbows (empi) to block and cover from various attacks. There were several sequences from Seiunchin kata which can be applied to striking, locking and I taught a Tai-otoshi application.
A core stance in Goju karate is 'Sanchin'. Sensei Dominey demonstrated several applications of throws, such as O-Uchi-Gari bearing down his weight to control his uke, using this stance.
Sensei Dominey also demonstrated was Geki Fa, which literally means to Attack and Tear. It is one of the first kata that a Goju student learns. Even here there are numerous foot-sweeps, an o-soto-gari and even an uchi-mata which we explored.
We finished back where we started, with an application of Seiunchin-kata, but from the ground, with an opponent striking you from above.
In Cardiff tradition, we went for a beer and a curry afterwards - time for a photo.
On Monday Sensei Dominey joined our usual class in Talybont.
On Tuesday we scheduled an additional class at Cardiff Union, we practised numerous blocking and choking techniques applicable to JiuJitsu and Goju.
Well done to everyone to attended (I believe Jay managed to do 6 days in a row).
A very big thank you to Andy Dominey for taking the time out of his busy schedule to teach and train with us. Regardless of our level, being able to apply our knowledge in different situations allows us to: a) broaden our understanding, b) test our capabilities and c) reflect on what we're good at.
I hope Andy have the opportunity to train with us again soon!