European Koshukai October 2014

Published on November 6, 2014 by in News


koshukai2014The first weekend in October has become a permanent diary fixture as it is the annual EU Koshukai where instructors come from Europe and descend on unsuspecting Belgium for a two day Koshukai and two day Gasshuku. Sadly, this year I could only manage the two day Koshukai, but thought I would share my thoughts, just in case you were thinking on coming to a knbk event in future.

This year held special focus for me as I had heard the famous four letter word uttered by Sensei the last time we’d met in the UK, no not that word…


I arrived the day before the event started and upon meeting Sensei at Mebis sensei’s house I think the second words out of his mouth was don’t forget your testing this weekend.


Anyways well get to that. The first day of the instructor seminar started with Eishin Ryu battoho. It never ceases to amaze me how many more details there are to try and remember. I am hoping some of it stays in my head. As always in the instructors seminar, Sensei’s method of teaching makes you feel like he is talking directly to you at all times, even if he is not looking at you. It’s kind of unnerving…

We also spent some time discussing budo and appropriate behaviour, we were guinea pigs for Lee sensei, who shared with us a simple formula to help us act appropriately depending on a situation. I don’t want to spoil it for our US cousins who will get this in November at their Koshukai but suffice to say it was a great help. We also discussed wa or harmony of the group and it was most enlightening.

We also learnt a couple of new phrases to use at mealtimes and I use them everyday at mealtimes under my breath. Don’t need the wife thinking I have lost the plot.

We retired from training to the local drinking establishment where we all learnt that to take a picture using a phone camera in Spain you have to say patata at it repeatedly. In his defence, Raul-sans picture came out well. After a few drinks we headed off for eats at a traditional Belgian fry house, which was kind of bizarre as it felt like we were in someone’s house.

After food, we returned to Antwerp and much needed bed and note taking time….

The second day started with Omori ryu and again I am amazed at the detail we get into. The kae waza also always answered the “but what if I did this” questions that tend to come up from time to time. It Is really great to spend so much time going into each waza in detail.

Again I hope some of it sticks.

We were visited by VanLoo sensei who stopped by, but couldn’t train as he had fallen off his roof only a day before. It was good to see him up and about.

In the afternoon, we practiced tachi uchi no kurai, which I always enjoy but never get too much practice. Again we had plenty of time to get into the details. We managed to get through all the kata by the end of the day. Doing ukekomi at full tilt from wakigamae has me grinning like an idiot. Looking around I wasn’t alone…

Now remember I was testing? It was my last day and was nearly 5pm. We stop then line up. I am then told I have 5 minutes to pick 5 waza to demonstrate and I am testing…

Suddenly all the little details creep into my head…. And relax. I would like to say I can list off which Kata I demonstrated but I don’t have a clue. I think I did 5. I was then asked to pick a kumitachi kata and all I could think was don’t pick ukenagashi, don’t pick ukenagashi, and sure enough when I opened my mouth, I said remember saying ukenagashi.


I squared off with Lee Sensei who was pairing with me for my test. I do remember we had to restart at one point but I think the shape of it looked reasonable in the end.

With my heart pounding in my ears we finished and then we all lined up and I was surprised to find I had been awarded shodan ho.

It was a good day. We then made the quick dash back to the hotel to change into our glad rags for the evening meal. We met up with Auger Sensei and his kenkyukai group from France.

I always enjoy my trips to Belgium, the guys always go an extra mile for you, maybe subconsciously maintaining the positive wa of the group. I was sad to leave early but hear everyone else had a great gasshuku and congrats to everyone who tested. I know how you feel.

If you get the chance to visit with us here in Europe you will be very welcome, the training, budo and camaraderie are second to none. Plus the food and drink is pretty good too.

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