Shochu Geiko / Summer Training Camp

By Sensei Neil Prime, Rokudan


There were some strange noises in the woods that weren’t normally heard at our local boy scouts lodge at Camp Wetaskiwin in St. Catharines. Typically, these noises are heard in a dojo, but we took advantage of a beautiful summer day and joined up with 60 martial artists from 10 different clubs (5 different styles) with 7 instructors sharing a bit of what their style was about.


Sensei Steven Foley (Godan, Shotokan) from Kitchener, started the day by teaching the basic movements, turns and strikes utilizing a bo. He blended these movements into a rather nice bo kata. We compared some of the movements in the kata to our shindo, but with a much longer weapon you must adjust your range and grip. Good thing we started this early in the morning and outside where it was still relatively cool with lots of room to manipulate the 5 foot bo. I did however notice that the closest person to me was about 15 feet away. Not really sure why?


Sensei Ron Mattie (Sichidan, Wado Kai / Yodan Iaido) from Welland, focused on Iai at this event. He showed us how to properly hold a sword, draw and replace it. Once we had the idea of how to properly hold the sword, he took us through 2 waza (short katas) and then utilized the practical application of the techniques using partners. I can assure you that my partner was very glad that I was using a dull, wooden practice sword.


Yours truly, Sensei Neil Prime (Rokudan, Wado Kai) from St. Catharines taught the bases of weight drop and hip movement (tai sabaki) that dominates our style of Wado Ryu. I tried to demonstrate how to use this with a front hand strike combined with a turn and drop, a block and 2 ranges of kicks. All techniques draw on the similarities of using the hips.


Sensei Bob Toth (Godan, Goju Ryu) from St. Catharines compliments his karate with the Philippine of Kali. This is a small stick (24 inches or less) that can resemble a number of striking or stabbing objects, more commonly a knife or short bladed sword. He showed us the foundation of how to block and counter using a single weapon and covered the 5 main movements that much of the techniques are based on. We quickly started using partners once people had an idea of how walk through the angles of attach. We soon realized that a 6-movement pattern became a 12-movement pattern when you have a partner and if you want, you can call it a kata too J


Sensei Mark Matthews (Rokudan, Goju Ryu) from Guelph is a Use of Force Instructor at the Ontario Police College. He started his seminar by teaching a number of kihon kumite techniques that are part of the base of Meibukan Gojyu Ryu style. These are utilized to practice both striking and blocking strategies and both partners would practice each side of the routine. He left us with a use of force technique that he teaches at the Police College. It was a very simple but very effective defense against someone grabbing you. I’m kinda glad my name wasn’t Roberto (his student) while he was demonstrating.


Sensei Brian Thomas (Yodan, Goju Ryu / Judo) from Cambridge took us to the mats. For a solid 45 minutes we did break falls, tumbles, rolls, bounces, grunts and groans. We did some kihon with partners where we were introduced to hip throws, shoulder throws, side throws… more throws… more rolls… more tumbles… it was absolute non-stop fun!


Sensei Ken Trebicock (Nanadan / 7th degree Goju Ryu) from Brantford finished the day with an excellent introduction to Meibukan Gojyu Ryu. About 50% of the people at the camp were from this style so he lined us up so that we had people familiar with instruction on both sides of us. He started and finished the class with traditional Goju katas. Although some of the stances and angles of techniques are different that what we practice, it was very easy to follow along because there were more similarities than differences. He took us through a very interesting kihon drill (again using partners) that covered high, middle and low blocks and strikes. I noticed very quickly the senior students utilizing tai sabaki.


Special thanks to Sensei Bob Toth of the St. Catharines Martial Arts Centre who organized this wonderful event and invited Sensei Ron and myself to participate as instructors. He opened this up to his friends and as a result, we made new friends too. I have already communicated to a number of people from the camp regaurding upcoming events and possibly more opportunities to train and share ideas and techniques from various styles of the martial arts.


I was very proud to be joined at the camp by Senseis Darren Marshall, Henry Bergen, Randy Mullin, Brad Van Reenen and kyu belts Kent Graham, John Voyer and Gary Lederich who all represented Shintani Wado Kai Karate in the highest regaurd.