Greetings from HDKI California!
Here at Tony Hunt’s Karate-Do Seishin Shotokan in Auburn, we had the honor to host the Sunday Morning Keiko California Fall Keiko, November 9-11, 2018. It was a privilege to train and learn with such an enthusiastic, open-minded group of martial artists. There were practitioners of three different styles of karate plus aikido present, all of us exchanging ideas and finding common threads between our styles.
The instructors for this event were Rick Hotton Sensei and Jim Alvarez Sensei. Rick Sensei is the founder of Sunday Morning Keiko and chief instructor of West Wind Dojo in Sarasota, FL, with nearly 50 years in Shotokan and a uniquely integrated and inspired way of looking at the study of martial arts. His incredible teaching is well known to many in HDKI, as he’s been a guest instructor at member dojos in the US and overseas. Jim Sensei is the founder and chief instructor of Aikido of Livermore (CA). He’s also a very gifted teacher, with decades of experience in a variety of martial arts and a keen eye for subtleties.
People from across California came to our dojo in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada to attend this event. The goal was to forge connections, between individuals regardless of specific styles or associations, and within ourselves to help us gain a deeper understanding of the techniques and philosophies that underlie our arts. We achieved those connections and gained much in the process. Over the course of three days, we built community as friends and martial artists and learned skills and principles that will forever enrich our practice.
Rick Sensei helped us focus on movement principles that create effective technique, and investigate how different ways of using our bodies affect end results. His teaching is free from rigid ideas or dogma and embraces the importance of our personal connection with our martial arts practice. His ability to see where students can adjust their technique to increase effectiveness (power, speed, agility) helped us all to gain new insight to take with us as we practice. Striving for excellence in karate doesn’t need to exclude individual expression, and Rick Sensei’s methods and ideas help students make that deep, personal connection to the why and how of karate practice. He showed us new ways to not just do karate, but to be karate.
This was Jim Sensei’s first foray into teaching aikido to a group of karateka. We hope it won’t be his last! His sessions at this event were a resounding success. By teaching us aiki principles that mesh with many karate principles, he helped us explore how those movements can be integrated into our regular practice and enrich it in ways that help us better understand how our energy and power interact with those of our training partners. He was assisted by several skilled aikido practitioners who eagerly paired up with us karate people to let us experience these techniques first hand.
The HDKI principles of tradition, innovation, respect, and collaboration were in full force at this event. It was a karate adventure of the first order! The value of camaraderie is shared between HDKI and Sunday Morning Keiko, as well as all of us at Tony Hunt’s Karate-Do. There’s nothing better than learning from and with other martial artists who also value personal connections above any considerations of politics or affiliation. We plan to host more such events here in the future, and hope more of our fellow HDKI members will be able to join us!