The fourth BSKF University Training seminar was held on February 10th at Oxford Boys Upper School. As ever, Mizuno sensei presided over the day's training, which was attended by instructors and kenshi from City University, Southampton University, Oxford University and SOAS. Regrettably circumstances prevented Glasgow University from sending a large contigent (i.e. atrocious though not unseasonal weather conditions - ed). Also in attendence were the redoubtable Nori-san and Kazunari Takahashi, both of whom have experience of university kempo in Japan.
In the morning session, Mizuno sensei continued his theme from the previous year - namely how to make good basic tsuki and keri. It was good to see that kenshi who had attended the 1995 seminar in Southampton had retained the insights gained on that occasion and were quick to pick up on the further points Mizuno Sensei made.
After a lunch break, Sensei gave a talk on the motivation and purpose of Shorinji Kempo. He firstly emphasised that we have nothing in common with Shaolin martial arts who bend iron bars over their heads, lick red hot metal and the like, saying that they are merely entertainers. He then went on to show that Kempo philosophy is relevant to the wider world outside the dojo, using the example of French nuclear testing. Many kenshi made points about the subject, with I think illustrates the most important feature of kempo philosophy: thinking for yourself.
The afternoon's training consisted of a technical question and answer session with Mizuno sensei field technical questions from kyu and dan grade kenshi across a wide range of subjects. This part of the seminar was invaluable, enabling Sensei to deal with many common difficulties encountered by kenshi.
Points on randori and embu were also covered. Adrian Starr (Southampton) asked for a randori demonstration - and narrowly escaped being its subject. Instead, Mizuno sensei chased Nori-san all round the dojo.
This article first appeared in the May 1996 edition of Gassho