Black-Belt Seminar with Sensei Velibor Dimitrijevic, 7th dan

7th - 9th January 2011 at Hasselt / Belgium

from Marcus Nilsson 1st dan, Karate-Do Shotokan Akademy Vxj / Sweden

Friday (Day 1)

At 5:00 I sat dazed and excited in the car that would take us from a snowy Vxj, Sweden to Hasselt in Belgium. We were five people from the club to make this trip: Mona, Mike, Susan, Matilda and me. The trip went very well and after a few minor happenings such as when we ended up in wrong country (we came into a turn in Holland) we still came out well in advance to Hasselt and dojo. We were arrived at the dojo at 7:40 pm and at 8 pm training began.

Driving had left their mark on the body so it was with stiff legs and an exhausted mind as I walked into a dojo full of black belts from all corners of Europe. Dirk Heene, 8th dan from the host club welcomed us and Vebo Sensei started his training. After a few minutes the car ride was blown away from my body and I was filled with renewed energy with the help of Sensei Vebos breathing exercises.

This first session served as a prelude of what would characterize this weekend's seminar, karate budo art and do not like martial arts. Sensei Vebo spoke about the importance of breathing, how and why it is important to continually reflect on and work on the breathing when you practice karate. We also did a lot of exercises where we had to practice on various breathing techniques that Sensei Vebo usually does daily.

The 2 1/2-hour long training session was very fruitful and I had with me many new perspectives and practical advice to me from there.

Sensei Velibor Dimitrijevic demonstrates rooting and body tension

Sensei Velibor with gyaku-uraken in fudo-dachi

Saturday (Day 2)

After a solid breakfast at the hotel Holiday Inn Express, we went off to the dojo at 10:30. The number karatekas had increased significantly on this day, we managed to identify practitioners from fourteen countries. During warming up sensei Vebo talked about importance of warming up the body from the inside and not only by external physical movements. This, he said, was necessary because of the idea of karate that we practice is not just about how we learn to coordinate and develop our muscles, it means finding a way beyond the outer limits of physics.

Breathing was also a focus during this training session, but more developed in the context of movements and techniques. We also got to work a lot with the abdominals and back of thighs. By finding the right tension and learning to control these muscles increases the possibility of developing a strong ki. This demonstrated sensei Vebo in an excellent manner when he chose the biggest and strongest participants and without any seemingly effortlessly threw around them. We were then trying to apply this themselves through partner exercises and kata Hangetsu. The training lasted just over four hours with a small water break. During the break Vebo took the opportunity to develop theories about breathing in a concrete and scientific way by drawing on paper mounted on the wall. When it was no longer any room left on the paper, he chose simply to continue drawing on the gym wall and on the floor.

Don't push with your arm, push with your hara, relax your body

Sensei Velibor demonstrates o-waza tate-uke

Sensei Velibor testing power transport

Sensei Velibor explains with a graph
respiration curve time versus volume

Sensei Velibor analyses the foot position of fudo-dachi

Some more explanation about suspending of the legs

Saturday ended with lots of laughter, good food and good company at a restaurant in the city of Hasselt. Thank s very much to Yvette and Antonio for the excellent organisation.

Sunday (day 3)

During the seminar's last practice Vebo tied up the bag. We went on to find the right tension in the lower abdominal and hamstrings, to breathe through our nose and "swallow" the air down to the stomach where we compress our ki and then let it explode out to external technologies. Instead of standing set in a line, we stood in a large ring. We then made many different variations of the kata Zanshin when we tried to get everything in place, breathing, tension in the hara, the thought and technology. To do this in a circle facing each other, it felt kind of cool when I thought I could take on the energy radiated all karatekas.

This was the fourth time that I was honored to attend a seminar with Sensei Velibor Dimitrijevic and I'm always so happy and inspired when I go from there. Above all, he manages to make it more fun and interesting to practice karate. His clear and scientifically characterized the production of the otherwise rather vague and diffuse the martial art has the ability to broaden my horizons and fill me with humility in the face of how incredibly much there is left to learn.

Sensei Velibor with Yoko-Geri kekomi

Group photo


Marcus Nilsson, 1st dan
Karate-Do Shotokan Akademi Vxj / Sweden

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