My visit to Brisbane (Nov 2003)
In November 2003 I had the pleasure of travelling to Brisbane Australia and the honour of spending a weekend training with Bob McMahon, 6th Dan and one of the leading researchers of karate.
Over the course of the weekend he shared with me some of the principles he has learnt through his years of experience in karate and some of the knowledge imparted to him by Mitani Kazuya, 7th Dan Seitokukai.
The concepts he shared were not so much karate "secrets" but rather principles which, once demonstrated, were so startling in their simplicity that I wonder how it is that I never realised it before - such things as timing of attacks, defence patterns and tai sabaki. He also assisted me in developing my kata knowledge by working on kata Sanchin and Tensho, including some application and flow drills.
I was also able to participate in one of his regular classes and meet some of his students. Though I had foolishly neglected to bring sparring equipment on that morning I was nevertheless able to participate in all aspects of his class except jiyu kumite, yet there are also lessons which may be learnt from observing.
A single weekend is insufficient to learn all Bob has to offer yet much more was covered than is possible to assimilate in a span of mere hours.
The weekend finished with Bob and his son, Cheyne, demonstrating kumibo. Cheyne demonstrated some Bo and Tonfa kata and Bob taught me the basic pattern of a Bo kata (Tenryu no Kon), my first exposure to kobudo in karate.
In addition I performed a poor rendition of one of the kata from my repertoire though he was kind enough to not comment. We sometimes sidetracked into related techniques and applications but for the most part stayed to the subject at hand leaving me feeling most fulfilled and with a greater understanding of the art and science of karate but at the same time all the more aware of how little I know and how much vastly more there is yet to learn.
What remains now is to practice and study to try and understand all that I was shown in this short time so that hopefully the next such visit will be a continuation rather than revision and correction.
I wholeheartedly agree with Bob's sentiment that the dojo is a place for receiving instruction and that the real practice is done at home.
- Mick Todd