Spring Gasshuku 2016 Review and new Black Belts

spring-kartate11May has been a busy month for CD Washinkai España who celebrated new black belts for students Charlie MacWhinnie and Harry Gillies Ripoll by Chief Instructor and founder of Washinkai Karate 8th Dan Shihan Christopher Thompson. The Dan gradings awarded to Washinkai Students are recognised by the BTKA (British Traditional Karate Association,) The JKF (Japanese Karate Federation,) The (WKF) World Karate Federation and now also thanks to the contribution of Shihan Francisco González Saiz (Paco,) The (FCKV) Spanish and Valencian Karate Federation. This is only the third time since the club’s formation that Dan gradings have been held under the Spanish Tribunal system.

Sensei Sarah Lakin, Harry Gillies Ripoll, Charlie MacWhinnie, Shihan Chris Thompson,Shihan Francisco González Saiz (Paco), Sensei Don Ross, Sensei Geovanny Sanchez Salazar.

From left to right: Sensei Sarah Lakin, Harry Gillies Ripoll, Charlie MacWhinnie, Shihan Chris Thompson, Shihan Francisco González Saiz (Paco), Sensei Don Ross, Sensei Geovanny Sanchez Salazar.

The Tribunal was also joined by Alison Thompson 7º Dan, Don Ross 5º Dan, Washinkai España President Geovanny Sanchez Salazar 3º Dan and Senior Instructor Sarah Lakin 3º Dan. The exam was rigorous and both students worked hard to achieve the required level. On awarding the black belts Shihan Chris Thompson commented that they were strong gradings and he was pleased to see that the standard continued to remain at a high level in Spain.

Spring is one of the best times of year to train on the Costa Blanca as the heat is not too intense and the sea becomes warm enough to swim in after a short Winter break. For our karate club the Spring Gasshuku is always the high spot of the year and as before we were joined by a number of Senior Instructors and students from the UK including Steve Hensman, Martin Pike, Chris Dunn and Bobby Holkham. Also attending were two noteworthy white belts, Liz Bryan and Daniel Hayes who demonstrated they had acquired some real martial arts skills by the end of the course.

Before starting the gradings Sensei Chris met up with the students on the afternoon session of Thursday 19th May 2016 and he was invited to instruct a junior class as well as the more advanced students which totalled some 50 or more.

Those lucky enough to attend received first hand instruction from the founder of Washinkai Karate and were also treated to a brief history lesson on the roots of our style of martial art. The class warmed up with Kihon, (kicking and punching in a line) before Sensei took the students through their paces with the Kyu grade katas which included Ipponme, Pinan Shodan , Pinan Godan and the infamous Kushanku. The later session included partner work where we re-visited and practised hidden combat techniques. These included Surikomi Ura Mawashigeri, a technique used to rapidly close distance between an opponent and surprise them with a strike at the end. All these techniques are taught in regular class, but Sensei was able to bring a new perspective to their real world application.

The subsequent sessions included advanced kata as well as a number of Dan level Ohyo Kumite (partner work).

‘Gasshuku’ means intense training and that is exactly what it was all about. At the end of the last session, everyone was exhausted, but happy we had made new friends and learned something along the way. Sensei then addressed the class and said that he was pleased to see such a high standard of karate. There are many martial arts clubs in this part of Spain but there is a reason why CD Washinkai España has the largest number of licensed students in the Province of Alicante. Thanks to the instruction and hard work of Sensei Geovanny and Sensei Sarah, students continue to receive the many benefits of learning one of the best styles of martial arts taught in the most rigorous way. Attention to detail, focus, hard work and commitment – none of this is lacking in the training at the Washinkai España School. As the course came to an end we were all a little sad to be going back to our ordinary lives outside of the dojo, but now it was time to practise what we had learned.

Shihan Christopher Thompson has said that he will return in November for the Autumn course where hopefully there will be more Dan gradings and more karate based mayhem! Oss!!!

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