Niagara North Newsletter, Volume 28. September 2000
Karate College 2000
By Sensei Neil Prime
I really look forward to weekends like this. This year's karate college was once again full of professionalism and variety for every martial artist. In comparison to past years, many of the "serious" martial artists felt that some of the supplementary instructors should be replaced with bigger names and/or some of the bigger names in the circuit should be invited to this camp to broaden the menu somewhat. This was not just the opinion of our group but of others that we have come to know over the years of training at this camp.
Our trip of course started without exception, with slight delays… getting off course twice before we even got past Buffalo! This year though we traveled in style in Marcel's 34-foot long camper. The luxury of being able to play cards, have snacks and move around at our leisure got us to our destination with a feeling of "ready to go" instead of dragging our butts into the first workout.
This year I managed to get in 16 hours of seminars throughout the weekend and have provided the following as a summary with a personal rating out of 5.
I really enjoy working with Mr.Wallace. I get to fine-tune my own kicking skills and he always provides direction personally to me.
I'm sure he does the same with others… this is one of the reasons so many people get satisfaction from his clinics.
Any time you can get personal attention from a World Champion, it's got to be good. Mr.Wallace is a true champion on and off the workout floor!
Mr.Marshall was a 1st time professor this year at the camp but has been around the camp now for a number of years as a participant. His focus was based on fighting ranges, starting from a realistic fighting zone and working steps through a possible defensive situation right down into a ground fight position. His concept was good but I felt there was a lack of substance when it came to executing technique. He did emphasize to use your own imaginations through the sequence but I felt he should of offered something more realistic and dynamic… especially to make a 1st time impression.
I would probably give Mr.Miskelly a 5 star rating if he were to work some more advanced boxing techniques and combinations but I suppose you have to work within the means of the groups you are teaching. Mr.Miskelly has a "let's work" attitude and doesn't waste a lot of time trying to convince people what he does is good. To me, his workout is an absolute release and I get charged up every time I get a good physical workout but next time I definitely want to work more advanced combinations. Even if most of the people don't absorb everything, it will give them a taste of how important these types of drills are not only for inside fighting, but also for general conditioning.
I really tried to give Mr.Chapman the benefit of my doubts through the workout as much as possible (as I do all the instructors) but the concept of this type of karate training is exactly what I am not. He was teaching us open circuit tournament "tag" techniques and to me this is not real karate. His teaching was about enthusiastic as his techniques too. At least if he would have been somewhat dynamic about what he was trying to teach, maybe a spark would have of interest would have taken me through with a different angle. If it weren't for the next instructor, Mr.Chapman would have also been rated a mere single star.
This was our Canadian representative to the College this year… sorry to say. Mr.Kliparchuk, a judoka and a RCMP officer had virtually no presentation skills. Even when standing beside him I found it difficult to understand what he was saying. Mitch Orr summed it up very well as far as what he was teaching by stating that he thought the information that he was divulging was not suitable for civilians. Although the sequences he used really had nothing to do with the point he was trying to make, he never got his point across either. He was supposed to teach us how to get to a higher level of learning, which I can't by the stretches of my imagination see a relation.
It wouldn't be fare to rate this seminar because we only stayed for ½ of it. It was at a point in the day where we were pretty much burnt out and needed food. On the other hand, had it been a bit more hands on as opposed to talk talk talk, we probably would have endured the second ½ hour.
New to the College this year, and a good addition at that. This shootfighter took us through practical groundwork sequences. I have found over the years that the ground fighters that emphasize techniques that require little strength seem to be the most effective and this is exactly what we worked. Mr.Miles used one of the other professors (Mc Coy) as his partner and they kept it very realistic, only submitting when the technique was really there. I'm sorry I missed Mr.Mc Coy's class because I heard it was as equally enlightening.
Rating 2 ½
I was somewhat disappointed in the Grandmaster of Modern Tae Kwon Do. I had an idea of what he was going to talk about, but I think he could have talked more about martial arts. His whole philosophy these days is to try to make better people through the martial arts, and it's not a bad concept. However, I feel that even though his ideas may have some validity that he is watering down the physical aspect of martial arts with visions of grandeur. I respect what he has to say and I agree with some of the philosophies he has to teach, but to think of making it mandatory to have a strait "A" report card to earn your next rank or to have to learn a musical instrument to prove you can be flexible… Sorry! You lose me there.
Even though I am not the most adept ground fighter by far, I can see why Mr.Gracie is absolutely one of the best in the world… many thinking he is. Not only is he a great technician, he is an excellent teacher and he loved by everyone because of his super personality. He's not a bad pool player either. Keep in touch for a future seminar with this gentleman!
Another fine addition to the College this year, Mr.Goss an aikido practitioner had a fine way with joint manipulation. Again the techniques were good, the presentation was clear, and he let us work. These are always the best types of formats.
You never really know what angle Mr.Lewis is going to attack, but at least you know in advance that he is going to attack something! I personally am not offended by the stance Mr.Lewis has taken regarding martial arts. He has a funny way of expressing things sometimes, but if you listen to his message he simply doesn't believe in watered down garbage. Mr.Lewis is a fighter and a perfectionist. It's that simple. I also like the fact that year after year he continues to pick on the likes of our Canadian group of "traditional" martial artists. To me, if he is willing to take that little bit of extra time to point out some little imperfections it means he cares enough to notice and knows we are willing to listen. As far as the technical aspect of his workout… well Sensei Walt and myself worked out 3 straight hours with him and still couldn't get enough!Back for More Great Reading