Yours truly posing with Masaru Kusano Nadaime Soke Sensei after the seminar.
On the 28th of July, 2007, yours truly was invited by Kusano-Ha Shito-Ryu Chief Instructor, Saifuddin Bakar Sensei to attend a seminar led by Masaru Kusano Nadaime Soke Sensei and assisted by Takashi Kozuka Sensei, Kusano-Ha Secretary General. It was an interesting training session. I have attended a seminar given by his father, Kenji Kusano Soke about 10 years ago. The seminar was held at the Bukit Kerinchi Community Centre at Pantai Hillpark. About 100 karate-ka ranging from 6 years old to 50+ years old, from several associations were there to learn the finer points of Kusano-Ha Shito-Ryu karate from Nadaime Soke Sensei. We started out around 9.30 a.m. with some warm-up then proceeded to work on our basics.
During the seminar we focused on three katas, Jitte, Bassai-Dai and Seienchin. Jitte (one of my favorites) and Bassai-Dai are part of my daily kata diet, so I’m quite familiar to the kata, but the version we were doing today is the Kusano-Ha version so there are some differences. Ironically, Jitte-no-kata Shotokan version was taught taught to me by Micheal Lim Sensei, the founder & former Chief Instructor of Kusano-Ha Malaysia (Lim Sensei now heads Kusano-Ha China), when he was still teaching shotokan in the mid 1990s under the Kuala Lumpur Karate Union (KARWIP). Seienchin, I learnt from a friend of mine late last year, but haven’t practiced it in a long while. It is interesting to learn the differences in which different Ryu-Ha do a certain kata as it reveals the different interpretations that the different Ryu-Ha has for the same kata.
Interspersed between the kata training, were were taught the different bunkai to the kata Jitte. My practice partner was Maha Sensei from Jyoshinmon Shorin-Ryu Karate-Do Malaysia. During bunkai practice, as the two of us was right up in front of the class, we received the most guidance from Nadaime Soke Sensei (lucky me!!)
Lunch was served at 2.00 p.m., and I guess everyone was so hungry coz there everyone made a beeline for the lunch counter…
Around 5.00 p.m. the seminar was concluded. The members of Kusano-Ha Malaysia has had their kyu/dan grading the day before, presided by Nadaime Soke Sensei. This evening they received their certificates, and for those who passed their Dan gradings, their WKKA black belts. Congratulations to all. Nadaime Soke Sensei then thanked all who participated in the seminar. The day was wrapped up around 6.30 p.m. Yours truly then headed to Puduraya to catch the bus back to Melaka. What a day……
Note : While seminar participants came from different styles; Jyoshinmon Shorin-Ryu, Shorin-Ryu Seibukan and Goju-Ryu, among others, strangely absent are karate-kas from other Shito-Ryu Kai-Ha. FYI, in Malaysia Shito-Ryu is divided into several groups; Shito-Ryu, Shito-Kai, Hayashi-Ha, Itosu-Ryu & host Kasuno-Ha. (Added 1st August 2007)