I attended a brilliant seminar by Senseis Paul and Michelle Enfield last night. It was 3 hours of practical self-defence Goju-ryu Karate exercises. One of the aspects of the martial arts that I absolutely love is that you can study a subject for as long as I have, and still find fresh perspectives on it. Seminars like this are energizing.
In this seminar, yes we learned some cool techniques. Both Sensei Paul and Sensei Michelle are great presenters and excellent martial artists. More than anything else though, what I enjoyed about this seminar is that it resonated with one of my core beliefs. Everything, whether it is Goju-ryu karate, playing guitar, or studying physics, everything is principle based. If you truly want to learn something, you need to study the principles. It's been said 'the essence of karate is kata'. While I enjoy training kata, I love learning the essence, the principles behind the techniques. The Enfields not only espouse this philosophy, they discussed it in the Q&A that followed the seminar.
As for what was covered in this seminar: in a self-contained drill that built upon itself, students began with a continuous connector drill, not unlike a tegumi exercise. From this basic striking flow, individual self-defence applications including arm bars, breaks and takedowns were executed. Along with simple techniques, various 'encouraging' or 'softening' techniques were added. Senior belts in the room would recognize the independent techniques directly from kata Seipai, Seisan and Kurunfa. Throughout the session, a continuous emphasis was made on the fundamentals: driving the hips, sinking your weight, along with ties back to the kata Sanchin.
Thank-you to Sensei Paul Enfield and Sensei Michelle Enfield for a fantastic seminar! Thank-you to Sensei Jonathan Kenny of Toraguchi Martial Arts for hosting. He has a beautiful dojo in Oakville if you are looking for a place to train.
If you are interested in learning more about Senseis Paul and Michelle Enfield, here is a youtube video sample of their