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Sensei Philip Kear 8 th Dan , visited Ireland for the first time in late August, after an invitation from Sensei Robert McGrath 6 th Dan.
These two Senseis first met in Japan in 1984 at the 50 th anniversary of Wado Ryu Karate, Sensei Robert after training on a course under Sensei Philip last year, invited him to run a course in Dublin, which Sensei Philip was delighted to do.
Sensei Philip Kear is the eldest Student of the late Tatsuo Suzuki Sensei . He trained full time in Japan back in 1969 in Nichi Dai University Dojo and was lucky enough to train and grade under the founder of Wado Ryu, Hironori Ohtsuka Meijin 10th Dan .
Karate-ka from Australia, Wales and Sweden attend the course, The training was geared to the understanding of the fundamentals of Wado technique, with Sensei explaining that Wado is not from Okinawa but is a Japanese Art and because of this the main object of Wado technique is to break the attackers Balance (Kuzuchi) . Sensei explained you need your centre to take over your attackers centre the result was unbelievable. ''It is essential to blend one's centre with one's opponent centre, thus gaining full control of the opponent.''
Sensei explained the use of Mitsu no Sen is very important for this to work.
Using Mitsu no Sen, this refers to three specific moments in time that are called SEN when dealing with a physical attack.
Sen is to seize the initiative by attacking and retaining the offensive mind.
Sen No Sen is to attack as THE opponent is thinking of making an attack. So you attack first and faster.
Go no Sen is to invite an attack then evade and counter simultaneously.
Owning the moment of SEN is the key to victory, this is known as SENTE and Sensei used this throughout the two days of training.
Using all the elements that Ohtsuka Sensei gave to his Art. In Wado Ryu, all movements should be practised efficiently with no wasted movement; much of Wado techniques are based around Traditional Budo movement, with higher stance commonly seen in Jujutsu and Kenjutsu for more mobility. This allows the Wado-ka to move in (Irimi) into the attacker space (Maai) using Hip movement (Taisabaki).
Throughout the course which covered Kata, Kihon Kumite (Ohtsuka Sensei's two man kata drills) Ohyu Kumite (Suzuki Sense's fighting techniques) and Tanto Dori (Knife Defence) Sensei Kear brought a clear understanding to how all these techniques are linked together.
To try and give a bigger and balanced picture of the skills of Sensei Kear and the course, below is what some of the Karate-ka who attended the two days, thought.
''Sensei Kear demonstrated the essence of Wado Karate as taught and practiced by the late Professor Tatsuo Suzuki. Many who practice karate never advance beyond meeting force with force, and this may work until you meet an opponent who is physically bigger or stronger or both, and then what advantage do you have over your opponent? With Wado, as demonstrated by Sensei Kear, you retain the advantage. Use your body and all your energy to attack. When your opponent is attacking he is simultaneously both at his fiercest and most vulnerable. If you evade an opponent's attack and use their force and your energy against them, not only do you physically beat them but importantly you break their spirit. Your opponent's body and mind will not quite know what has happened. You are now in control and your opponent knows it, even if he is still standing. ''
"I found Sensei Kear's knowledge and understanding of Wado to be exceptional. His explanation of centre, balance and stance was fantastic; his movement was effortless and fluid.
"To train in true pure Wado Ryu at such a high level was a breath of fresh air. From the start sensei vowed to teach all the students the importance off centre balance. Taking control of your own balance when moving to attack or for defence. To dominate your opponent by taking away there centre balance with such ease has a huge advantage with little effort (Pure Wado Ryu)
Moving onto Tanto dori's Sensei demonstrated and explained the importance total zanshin. Any student with a Tanto (real or wooden) must not be under estimated. Going back to the basics of the weekend's course the students must rely on their training and understanding of balance - Tai sabaki (body movement) - nagasu."
"I found the training to be highly enjoyable. This is not to say I don't find other courses enjoyable, but sometimes in the past "travelling" Sensei were not as personable or grounded as Sensei Kear.
For me the course was well paced and the demonstrations very effective. I liked that he focused on particular techniques and kept the class on these until he was content that all had grasped. Not to say that it was not energetic because it certainly was. The continued change in partners took us all out of our comfort zone and was very good. He smiled as he worked with us, using his skill and not Fear to guide us.
For me I loved it when he approached the youngsters and declared to them that he loved them, and that they are the Future of Wado, whilst dismissing the seniors in front of them. Everyone in life needs recognition and sometimes our juniors are ignored on course days. It was a great thing to see and also Sensei Kear is a man with little arrogance. He doesn't need it as his skill speaks for itself. This man holds Wado firmly in his heart and passed it to us on the day by focusing on the core principles over and over again. This is why I do Karate and I liked this.
Sensei Kear, in my opinion is the true representation of Wado - Meek, Skilled and Respectful. "
The course with Sensei Kear was inspirational. I never trained with Sensei Suzuki and, knowing that Sensei Kear was one of his students, I felt that I was experiencing an extremely high level of Wado Karate, as taught by Sensei Suzuki. Sensei Kear was in control of the training from the first minute and his demonstration of every technique was very clear and coherent. He made me realise how much I still have to learn and it was a truly motivating experience. Sensei Kear was courteous to all students and everyone I spoke to felt encouraged and invigorated by his teaching. A true leader inspires by example and that is what I believe that Sensei Kear did.
"Having trained in Wado Karate for over 30 years and trained with many great Japanese Instructors both here and abroad I have to say that Sensei Kear is without doubt walking in the shadow of the great Wado masters Ohtsuka and Suzuki Sensei. His knowledge and clear understanding of what Ohtsuka developed in Wado is second to none. His understanding and movement is simple yet sleek.
The weekend of Wado Ryu Karate was over very quickly. Sensei enjoyed his time in Ireland and assured Sensei Robert that he is happy to help WKKI to keep Suzuki Sensei's Wado Ryu in Ireland Pure and that Sensei Robert can contact him for help or advice at any time. This is an honour for WKKI to have the guidance of Sensei Philip Kear and we look forward to more training with Sensei in the near future.
Sensei Kear said: "I found all the students of WKKI to have a very receptive, responsive and refreshing eagerness to practice Wado Ryu. I hope my instruction in whatever way, has helped them to further their ongoing study and practice of Wado Ryu".
Country names were originally translated to Japanese using a phonetic translation to kanji . These kanji were selected mainly for their pronunciation and not necessarily for their meaning. Also Ireland is commonly written in katakana as (read airurando ). The pronunciation is exactly the same.
Friday evening the 16th of August saw Sensei Philip Kear 8th Dan at Sensei George Grimes 8 th Dan Bristol Wado Ryu Dojo. This is the third time in as many years that he has taken the class in Bristol. All who made it to the class thoroughly enjoyed themselves....except maybe Sensei Alan Smith who was partner and at the receiving end of Sensei`s techniques during the evening. Alan and Sensei Robert McGrath 6 th Dan had made the trip over from Dublin for the training.
Sensei moved through some of the more difficult techniques of the Wado system explaining the concepts of Nagasu, inasu , irimi and how they can be used in a practical situation. In other words making it work for real.
Nagasu is parrying, or moving with the attack, to evade a blow, often while countering. The body is moved slightly off of the line of attack so that the attacking technique is evaded, but at a close enough angle that the power of the opponent's attack can be used to increase the force of the counterattack.
Inasu is dodging and or deflecting, often dropping the body to move under, inside, or around an attacker's technique.
Irimi is moving to enter, getting inside an opponent's technique to create an opening.
Sensei 's Wado is pure and undiluted his movements are relaxed with lighting responses, His understanding of Wado Karate is second to none and his teaching is no nonsense.
After the class everyone made their way across the road to the local pub, where the conversation was more Wado Karate talk and new friendships were made.
Philip Kear Sensei, had been a student training with Tatsuo Suzuki Sensei since 1965 until Suzuki Sensei's passing in 2011. He was All Britain Champion and also placed 2nd in the European Championships in 1972. He is also an accredited N.C.A.S. Coach (Australian Certified).
Philip Kear Sensei along with his brothers Reg Sensei and Robert Sensei, both 7th Dans, are the senior instructors of Wado Kokusai Karate-do San no Ya in Australia. The name San no Ya, literally three arrows, refers to the karate taught by the Kear family and was given to them by Tatsuo Suzuki Sensei.
San no Ya also refers to an old Japanese tale, 'Mitsuya no kyokun' or lesson of three arrows, which recounts the story of Mori Motonari (1497 - 1571) the daimyo (feudal lord) of Aki (around Hiroshima). Mori presented each of his three sons with an arrow and then demonstrated that one arrow alone may be quite easily broken but when three arrows are held together their strength is more than tripled and they become virtually impossible to break. Correspondingly whilst each of the Kear Brothers practises Wado Ryu from their own distinct perspective, when combined these different viewpoints form the strong, flexible basis of San no Ya.
Check out the San No Ya Web Site www.sannoya.com
To get your BLACK BELT or to BE a BLACK BELT are two very different things. In the morning of your Dan Grading you get out of Bed a brown belt, if you grade and are successful you will go to bed that night a BLACK BELT.
What has changed nothing, you have come to the end of your training as a KYU grade and now can begin to train and learn as a Dan grade. Shodan in English is First Level, This is a new beginning of training as a Dan grade.
You have heard me saw he or she has got their black belt but you also have heard me say he or she is a dan grade.To get a black belt is okay, you have put in the hard training and got your BLACK BELT, but if you stop training , you stop being a BLACK BELT.
To be a black belt you must train, to me a Dan grade is someone who continues to train hard and still wants to learn and improve their Wado Karate
Rant bt Sensei Robert McGrath
Kagami Biraki is a traditional celebration for martial artists usually held on the second Sunday of the New Year.
The expression OSS was created in the Japanese Naval School and is universally used for everyday expressions such as please, thank you, I understand, sorry, greeting someone, etc., as well as inside the world of karate nearly any time a response is required. You must say it from your abdomen.
This is not really used in Wado Karate or Budo arts, I remember been away at a WKF World Championship and every second karate-ka you passes would say or go oss. Some of the members of our team were from the Ed Parkers Kempo and found it funny to go OSS and get an answer back of, yes you guessed it OSS.
Coming from a Japanese Sensei back ground, I was chastised if I ever used it, but been part of the Irish National Team and having other karate-ka saying OSS to me, Made it hard as I presumed I should reply back with OSS.
Sometimes guests would arrive to our Dojo and when they entered the Dojo they would Bow and OSS.
Sensei would give them a look that could cut you. He would say.
No not OSS say SHITSUREI SHIMASU (Excuse me) GO MEN KUDASAI (May I come in) OSS is not a word and is disrespectful.
The poor karate-ka would stumble over these words and you could take bets that on the second bow at the beginning of class you would hear OSS.
Again Sensei would cut him with a look and say NO say ONEGAI SHIMASU (please help me train well).
The first correction of this Karate-ka by Sensei would receive a load OSS; Sensei would say...No say HAI SENSEI.
In Wado Ryu manners and movements are conducted in a dignified manner, not military. In all movements and techniques we use the optimum amount of energy so that they are economical, graceful, fluid but powerful.
OSS becomes a habit for many Karate-ka and in these schools it is a polite answer but in Wado Ryu it is not encouraged
Ikita Kata: Kata should be alive and preformed with feeling and purpose.
Affiliated to: Official National Amateur Karate Association of Ireland | Wado Kokusai Suzuki-Ha Europe | Wado Kokusai San No Ya