After winning 12 medals at the JKA Four Nations Championships at the end of October, and submitting the club students to a successful grading examination, SKL took on the challenge to participate in the HyperJapan Xmas event with a Karate demonstration.
One day when one of our instructors was buying sushi at the Japan Centre, he saw an advert for the Hyper Japan Christmas Market, and realised that it would be the perfect chance for SKL to represent karate to enthusiasts of Japanese culture. We were invited to perform at this famous event, and so had several weeks to perfect the art of bunkai: the art of performing kata against opponents who block and attack specific moves. It’s great fun to do – practicing falling over dramatically at every punch, and slamming the floor with our hands to make a loud crashing noise.
The day of the performance soon arrived and it was with a lot of excitement and much trepidation that SKL students got through the crowds with our performance passes (free entry was a perk of participating in the event). After some time to explore the stands filled with every form of Japanese pop culture and steaming teriyaki and dumplings, we saw some of the Aikido class. Then we were on! A soundtrack of beating drums started and we ran on for a mini-class of kihon punching, which made the Tobacco Dock resound with our kiais. Next came the part we were waiting for, performing bunkai. As karate is mostly done in large groups altogether, the thought of doing it as performance in front of a large audience was daunting, but all the hard work we’ve put in over the last month for gradings and competitions paid off, and Heidan Shodan, Heian Nidan, Heian Yondan and Bassai Dai katas were displayed to the public in fine form. The audience also got a taste of the different types of sparring that Shotokan Karate teaches, from beginners 5 step and 1 step kumite to the advanced semi free style and free style – the pace and excitement of which got a great reaction of oohs and ahhs from bystanders. To end with the really advanced stuff, we saw Black belt katas Jion and Empi.
For the cherry on top, a raffle had been organised for attendees of Hyper Japan interested in Karate. 10 lucky winners will now be attending a free karate beginner’s course for adults and kids at our Old Street club from now up until the New Year.
Mora street - London EC1V
Entrance on Lever street
off Mora street.
The Dojo is the detached Hall
next to Gambier House Tower
block - in front of the small park
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Five minutes walk from the
Old Street Tube Station!