International Gashuku 2007
– A Review of Kokusai Shinjinbukan’s Seattle Gasshuku 2007 by Dr. Timothy Black
The Issaquah, WA dojo
hosted the Kokusai Shinjinbukan’s Gasshuku 2007. The dojo is located
just outside of
Students of the Shinjinbukan and invited guests of all ranks attended the Gasshuku to learn from and train with Onaga Dai sensei and Michiko sensei. The training schedule was intense as usual, most days consisting of mid-morning training, afternoon training and evening training, followed by dojo parties and conversations with Onaga sensei. When we weren’t training, time was filled with the occasional sightseeing trip and/or resting up for the next class.
One of the main events of the Gasshuku occurred on the second weekend of training when the majority of Shinjinbukan students were in attendance. The official meeting to establish the Kokusai Shinjinbukan and discuss the structure of the organization occurred on Saturday August 18th, on the dojo floor of the Issaquah dojo.
The remainder of the Gasshuku focused on continued practice and training of Onaga sensei’s Ti. As is customary, there were several themes that ran throughout the Gasshuku including a great deal of time spent on proper tenshin (mai ni ten / ushiro ni ten) and irikumi techniques, machiwara training (tachi, ti, and sagi machiwara), and kata. Proper hip movement, proper walking and use of the hips were constantly corrected and corrected again, as were several kata that we all worked on. Several students took advantage of Onaga dai sensei’s offer to correct the kata of their choice while the other students watched and made mental notes; an incredible learning experience for all. The training was intense and unforgiving, and exactly what each person who attended the Gasshuku came to experience. Special times during the training included the rare opportunity to watch and learn from Onaga Michiko sensei as she worked on machiwara or performed kata, while Onaga dai sensei commented. Watching Michiko sensei train inspired all who attended and usually ended with Onaga sensei’s definitive statement, “Kore wa Ti desu” (“This is Ti”).
An essential part of dojo culture in the Shinjinbukan is the time spent listening to Onaga sensei speak after class. Along with food and drink after intense dojo training, there is often singing and music and students get the opportunity to continue their learning and socialize bit, all within the bounds of Shinjinbukan dojo etiquette. The Seattle Gasshuku 2007 was no exception. We talked, sang, ate and drank until Onaga sensei was ready to retire for the evening and then some would continue, while others were free to go to sleep, or return home. In addition, we also had several barbeques, generously hosted by Kogan sensei, on his back yard patio at the dojo.
Overall, the Shinjinbukan Seattle Gasshuku 2007 was a success and Onaga sensei appeared content with how people are training. We were all inspired to continue our training and to continue keeping the karate that we have been given polished until the next time that we have the chance to train with Onaga sensei.