The Week that Was (Part 1): “Grappling with the Basics”

Just over a week ago, our dojo closed for the night, and headed en masse to a sister dojo for a very special combined network event; a seminar on grappling and groundwork basics, run by the highly effervescent, energetic, and enthusiastic duo, Kurt Graham, Kyoshi and Jason Griffith, Renshi.

Karate tends to be a “stand up art”, so for many of us karate-ka, being on the ground takes us right out of our comfort zone. That being said, it’s very important to know you can get back up, if you do get taken down, whether that be in a kumite event, or, more vitally, in a real life scenario.

Kyoshi Kurt and Renshi Jason tailored the seminar really well to this perspective, and very quickly demonstrated how to turn things around when you are pinned on the ground. Conversely they showed a few ways to take people to the ground and what to do to ensure your best chances of a safe retreat.

Even though, as I said before, Karateka prefer being upright, knowing how to take a fall is probably one of the most applicable life (and potentially life-saving) skills we can learn. Even if the risk of violent attack is relatively low, more common scenarios (such as being hit by a car, knocked off your bike, falling from a roof or ladder or simply tripping over a kerb or your own shoe lace), can result in a fracture or other serious musculoskeletal injury if you don’t break fall correctly.

Kyoshi Kurt and Renshi Jason patiently gave those of us, less familiar (and / or less confident) with effective break falling techniques some very useful pointers. For me personally, one little tip on front break falls (the one I felt most apprehensive about), helped me feel so much more confident, so that I could be an uke in one of the drills, and focus on what we were learning to do, without the constant niggling worry that I might break my wrist in a not so happy landing!

Despite the fact that the network had an extremely busy week, with many of us out doing karate related activities every night, (more on that later, so watch this space), there was an excellent attendance from all dojo, with good representation from both juniors and adults (age range 4 to over 40’s), and it seemed as though everyone who attended were really focused, really enjoyed trying something  a bit new and different, and learned a lot. This was in no small part due to Kyoshi Kurt and Renshi Jason’s ability to keep it real, keep it fun, and most importantly, get around and help all participants during practice time.

If you ever have the opportunity to attend a seminar run by either or both of these individuals, I would urge you to just do it. You will not regret it. If you are interested in finding out more about them or inviting them to present at your dojo you can find more information and contact details here:  Itto Shin Kan or contact Kyoshi Kurt Graham or  Renshi Jason Griffiths via Facebook.

NOTE: All photographs taken by the wonderful Brett Jefferee.

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