On Saturday 9th September, we were very proud to host James Pankiewicz Sensei, all the way from Asato Dojo in Okinawa, for a special seminar on Tomari Te Karate Concepts...
James Sensei has been a friend of our dojo for many years and has been a huge support during our group trips to Okinawa. Chris Sensei has also taught at Jame's dojo in Naha, so it was a pleasure to return the favour and offer him a warm welcome to Cumbria.
James Sensei is currently ranked 5th dan in Matsubayashiryu karatedo (under Arakaki Toshimitsu Hanshi).
He has been practicing martial arts for 30+ years including Wadoryu karate, Shorinryu karate, Jujitsu and Okinawan kobudo. He first came to Japan in 1996 to study Japanese language, culture and martial arts.
James opened The DOJO Bar in 2011 in Naha, Okinawa as a place for like-minded local and visiting karateka to meet and share knowledge.
He also conceived the 100 Kata for Karate Day Challenge event in 2014 to promote the spread of traditional karate practice and connect karateka around the world to Okinawa, the birthplace of karate.
The dedicated junior session explored a selection of basic techniques and age appropriate training drills that we trust inspired lots if new learning. James also talked to the children about the history of karate, the Okinawan language and his experiences training on Okinawa, inviting them to ask lots of questions.
The general theme for the adults/teens seminar was on Tomari-te, seizing, trapping and striking skills. It also included elements on kakie (connected hands), meotodi (working two hands together), koshi (hip work), makidi (wrapping hands), Naihanchi and Passai bunkai (kata analysis) and close-range tactics.
A smaller group of us also enjoyed a special Bojutsu (6ft staff) workshop early on Sunday morning, which focussed on the unique form and analysis of Shiromatsu Nu Kun. James recapped the form a number of times and broke each section down to share some more detailed pointers.
As well as the seminars, James Sensei managed to also squeeze in a little sightseeing around Whitehaven, plus we had some time to eat together, catch up and share stories. One of the great things about pursuing a 'karate life' is the amazing people you meet and befriend along the way. What a wonderful weekend!
We'd like to thank everyone who so kindly supported the event, to the Cumbria Academy for Autism, for use of their excellent venue and of course, to James Sensei for his excellent teachings and taking the time to come and visit us. We look forward to hopefully catching up again soon in Okinawa 🥋🙏🙇♂️