Today I had a fantastic training session. A member of the Takamura-ha Shindo Yoshin Kai, Jurgen Buchwald, was visiting from Germany. Jurgen is holidaying in New Zealand with his wife, Fusako and has managed to train at the Hamilton dojo for Wednesday's kenjutsu session and our Saturday taijutsu session in between sight-seeing.
|Jurgen in the dark blue.|
I couldn't make the Wednesday training but witnessed his instruction and technique first-hand today (Saturday's training). First, let me say he is an incredibly nice guy. He is humble and polite with a ready smile. He started by saying he does not consider himself an expert by any means and what he was showing us today were simply his interpretations of the waza and underlying principles. Despite his humble introduction it was very clear we had plenty to learn from him. Jurgen has Shoden menkyo and has about 14 students in his own dojo but oversees other German TSYR groups as well. This makes him the senior most member of the Kai in Germany. With these credentials it was obvious to see why he was a great teacher and comfortable working with all body types on the mat. His waza is strong and clean. He concentrated on taking the 'slack' out of limbs to create the desired connection with uchitachi. His presence in the dojo was timely as he was able to affirm where we were going well in our training and correct mistakes. Threadgill Sensei arrives in three weeks and this was a nice way to check progress before his arrival.
Two members from the Auckland study group had traveled down to train and had requested that they work through the katate set of the Tachiai Kansetsu Waza. It was great to see Jurgen's interpretations of these waza. His movement was precise and powerful. He patiently explained key concepts he thought were important to each kata and made corrections where necessary. The training during the session was positive and at a good pace. It was clear to see he was another level above our own training, his movements flowed through each stage of the kata and he mentioned that at any point shitachi should have control and have uchitachi at a disadvantage. In other words the first movement of the kata could finish the encounter if you wanted it too.
After the session we went out for lunch before Jurgen and Fusako left for Rotorua. It was a privilege to have had the opportunity to meet another member of the Kai and take some points away from training today.