Natsu-Gasshuku at Plouay / France
13th -14th June 2009
The organisers of the Natsu-Gasshuku 2009 Kase-Ha-France under the guidance of Sensei Pascal Lecourt and Sensei Christian LeRomancier from the dojo Lorient / Bretagne have selected Plouay as the place for the Natsu-Gasshuku, just at the Atlantic ocean, far away from big airports, not easy to reach. But it really was worth going to Plouay, the venue, the hospitality, the friendliness, and the French savoir vivre was just fantastic.
Map of Lorient
Most of the foreign participants arrived during Friday at the airport in Lorient or the train station or like the members from England and Belgium by car. Some had a very long journey of 9-11 hours to reach at Plouay. About 20 very tiered people had on Friday night a dinner at l'amour plage (beach). The pleasant evening was accompanied with live music, which was so loud that we had to move to the terrace area to have out dinner, but since the temperature was very mild, it was even better to enjoy the sight to the atlantic ocean. After the dinner, Sensei Christian and his students brought us all to Hostel at Plouay, which was attached to Chateau Manehouarn.
After a nice breakfast at the hostel, which was made by students of sensei Pascal Lecourt, most of the people had a walk to explore the area around the Chateau, the near by lake, just to enjoy the sunny and nice morning.
We all were waiting for Sensei Dirk Heene, but his father good very ill, so he decided not to come to Plouay. The first training was set on 1.30 pm, and Sensei Velibor Dimitrijevic from Greece to the first session. His topic was rooting, energy flow, using the abdominal breathing to create maximum kime. The breathing exercise had than to be applied in Kihon combinations.
After a 30 minutes break, Sensei Mike Fedyk took over the training. His emphasis was on open hand blocking and counter attacking techniques in Hamni and Fudo-Dachi positions, where we had the choice of tai sabaki movements. The combinations were of course applied with partner.
After training the weather turned from slide cloudiness into beautiful sun shine. The students of Sensei Christian and Sensei Pascal Lecourt demonstrated to us, what it means: "the savoir vivre".
First we had an aperitif just outside the hostel in the grass, a very nice drink, cider from Normandy with Cassis (Black Currant Liquor). We all really enjoyed the moment just standing there, talking with each other making new friends from different countries etc. A surprise was the appearance of a guy with a bagpipe playing Celtic music. Some people like Sensei Mike Fedyk liked it so much, that they even started to dance.
At 8 pm the cook asked us to come in to a 4 course dinner, started with a salad with cocktail crabmeat in a half tomato, 2 prawns, 2 pieces of salmon etc., followed by a amuse-gueule (appetiser), pear ice cream on pears with a shot of a 30 years old home made calvados, followed by a beefsteak with potato pie and ended with a homemade apple-pie. From beer, red and white wine, water, cider everything was available, for only 20 Euros. At this point, thank you very much to the cook Jean-Ives and his team for this excellent dinner. After a full belly, some where already tired and preferred going to bed early. Some like Sensei Pascal Petrella and Sensei Christian stayed up until 2 am, sharing stories about Sensei Kase, talking about life, friendship, a very nice evening. Next morning the new Secretary Gerhard Scheuriker was the first at breakfast at 7.30 am, uhh what a time.
Anyway the first session from 9.30 am to 11 am took Sensei Pascal Petrella. His theme for this session was on closed hand attobaya and shock blocking, timing, tai-sabaki Gyaku-Uraken, followed by a keri-counter attack.
The training was very structured and well build up, staring with breathing exercises combined with attobaya blocking, follow by partner training, just concentrating on perfect timing of blocking technique. Setei and afterwards hentei counter, combined with tai-sabaki Gyaku-Uraken. The keri attacks with block and counter attacks were added, which finally ended in free fighting at the end of each partner work.
The training was physically and mentally challenging, taking into account that Sensei Pascal did 30 minutes longer than planned.
After a short break Sensei Pascal Lecourt start his session with the words. "Are you still alive?" And yes we were. Sensei Lecourts emphasis for this session was the Kata Enpi.
Sensei Lecourt suggest shows some Bunkai with Benoît
Sensei Lecourt demonstrates how to use Gedan Barai
First we did the whole kata in omote and ura form. In a next step we did parts of Enpi in omote, then in Ura, and then one after another in omote and ura form in order to get the same kime in ura form. This was done sequence by sequence. In the last 30 minutes we did Enpi Bunkai first with on partner, that in a group of 3 partners.
At the end of the course each member of the Shihankai got a present from the organisers as appreciation for the excellent work.