During our stay in Tokyo I found a Karate dojo to train in. It was called Daikanyama Karate School and is a couple of roads back from Omote Sando Metro stop, on the Ginza Line. Here’s me looking keen.
It has been many years since I stopped practising Karate because of a shoulder injury so it was good to train to see how much I still remembered. It is a little nerve wracking to enter someone else’s club and dojo but I was welcomed warmly by Sensei Hide Saito, he is 5th Dan black belt.
Not quite in focus there.
And another black belt who I didn’t quite catch the name of who took the class, I think her name was Suriza, she is 1st Dan. She was great and translated for me.
For those of you that aren’t familiar with Karate, a dojo is the training space, there are various levels of beginner grades before a black belt is reached which are called Kyu levels. I reached 1st Kyu in my training and I was one belt away from black. Once you are awarded a black belt you are 1st Dan. After that you rise through 2nd Dan, 3rd Dan, 4th Dan and acquire golden stripes on your black belt. The number of Dans is infinite although you need to study at least 5 years to take your 6th Dan so you might run out of years in the end.
It was really great to wear the ‘Karate Gi’ – the uniform, again and it was brilliant to train again. It was all in Japanese so I didn’t catch the name of the style that they practise there, but it was more fluid than the Shotokan style that I studied with shorter movements focusing more on the outcome rather than the basic movements. Instead of sitting low in the stance, they adopted a more sparring type stance that is similar to the tiger stance in Kung Fu.
I have been aching for a few days afterwards. It was well worth it and it ticks off a thing on my bucket list, to study Karate in it’s country of origin. Hopefully I’ll get to train here some more.