DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?!
It’s a phrase I’ve heard thrown out quite a lot over the years. Whether it be the time I accidentally bumped in to that blonde Jane Ellison from Brookside many years ago in a Liverpool bar and more recently thanks to social media; I now know who Ronnie Pickering is…
The term isn’t one of my favourites to be honest, It leaves a sour, lingering taste of self righteous, ego boosting that the user projects on to themselves. A term that airs a sense of “I am better than you, my self, is better than your self.”
So who am I?
Most of you won’t know me, I’m a soon to be 31 year old guy whose been doing karate for many years. I haven’t won national titles, I’m not an England International, I’m not someone that you’ll find much out about if you type my name in to Google, (I’ve tried.) I have a regular job working my backside off to pay the bills just like any other regular bloke and in my spare time I write a blog.
If you’re in the karate World there is a guy however that you have probably heard of. Not because he’s been shouting the question from the rooftops like Mr. Pickering, moreover he’s just a hard working successful bloke that helps us karate nerds feel proud to be just that, karate nerds!
Saturday 10th October gave me the opportunity (thanks to Sensei Beggan) to train with arguably one of the most famous karate practitioners in the World. He’s not only a national champion in his field, creator of the highly sought after Seishin Gi, but is most notably known amongst so many karate-ka due to his insightful blog Karate by Jesse. (opens in new window) Enkamp “san” officially makes being a karate geek cool and I was privileged to be able to attend his first ever UK seminar in Oldbury hosted by Tipton Shotokan Karate Club.
We arrived for our 3 hour session nice and early, eagerly anticipating the start and what would be in store for us. The group of 60 or so were in full force, some sporting their karate nerd tshirts just prior to the event. The atmosphere was friendly and jovial which I think reflected the persona of Sensei Enkamp that comes across from his website.
After a good thirty minute warm up with partners, Sensei introduced us to the lesson plan looking in to the concept of Rei.
Rei can have many different meanings and different kanji can be used, however the one we were referring to was that of bowing, and etiquette. Sensei Enkamp initially pointed out that as the whole body is connected when we perform rei, then it was important to look at not only the feet and ankles, but knees, back and even neck. It was fascinating to see how much Sensei could show us on one subject and I feel that he may have only touched the surface in the three hours with plenty more to show given half a chance. At one point whilst Sensei was having us work on flexibility in our ankles, our mission was to lay back on the floor. From this position we were to roll backwards (legs in the air behind our head) before projecting ourselves forward and landing on one foot, the other sticking out like one of those traditional Russian dancers. See the video below and you’ll know what I mean. In fact these Russian dancers would have had a serious advantage if they’d have come down to the seminar!
My effort was just that, an effort. It may have resembled a hippo at times crash landing from the sky occasionally during my ascent to the position, but hey, God loves a trier! Below you can see Sensei Enkamp landing how it was supposed to be done.
Oh and if that wasn’t hard enough Enkamp Sensei would swap legs from that position, just for good measure!
Throughout the seminar Jesse San kept us entertained with different exercises and partner work that utilised the whole body whilst drawing our attention to some key concepts for body mechanics. I faired pretty well with the “trap your partners hand under your body test” and elements fort this concept reminded me of previous seminars with Sean Roberts Sensei (opens in new window) albeit differently explained.
A memorable moment during the seminar included the Japanese version of rock paper scissors whereby partners interlinked legs and played rock paper scissors. The winner gaining an opportunity to stretch the partner’s legs towards a split like position until they gave up. Just another example of a fun way to incorporate stretching and flexibility in to lessons that Jesse Sensei managed to incorporate so well.
There’s so much more that Enkamp Sensei showed us that I cannot possibly write all here. All I’d advise is that if you get the opportunity to train with Sensei then grab it with both hands. If you missed the 1st UK seminar you may still have a chance of getting a ticket for his 2nd one at Shenley Leisure Centre in Milton Keynes on the 7th and 8th November. Click here for info
I’d finally like to thank Jesse Enkamp Sensei for such an amazing seminar that I’m proud to say I was apart of. Also to Tipton Shotokan Karate Club for again providing amazing seminars with great karate exponents. Finally I’d like to thank Susan Dixon for whom took some great photos that I’ve been given permission to use in my blog.
I’m happy to say I got a picture with Jesse San doing it how it’s supposed to be done, karate kid style! Daniel LaRusso eat your heart out!
If your reading this Jesse San, how do I go about buying a signed copy of your book if at all possible? I was hoping to purchase one at the seminar, but found they weren’t on sale 😦
Finally: A word of advice to anyone attending a Jesse Enkamp seminar, take a pen and paper, you’ll remember more and score some kudos points!