2010 Belgium Gasshuku with Sensei Bakkies Laubscher

By: Johan Dries – IOGKF Belgium – 1st Dan

The biggest Volcanic eruption in Europe for years and the biggest disruption of travel schedules in World history wasn’t enough to stop Sensei Bakkies Laubscher attending Belgium for a National Gasshuku. The event ran for three days and Sensei Laubscher left all members with valuable lessons in Okinawan Goju-ryu…

Sensei Bakkies Laubscher, Chief instructor of IOGKF South Africa was coming to Belgium to give a training seminar from Friday April 23 in the evening, until Sunday afternoon. Due to a volcanic eruption in Iceland, a lot of flights in Europe were cancelled for several days. We were lucky that Sensei Bakkies was on the first flights from South Africa to London and was able to stand before us on Friday evening.

First up was the traditional warming-up, with Goju-Ryu push-ups and stomach muscle exercises. Sensei Bakkies explained some movements in detail and made clear that the warming-up exercises have very specific goals and are integral part of Karate. After that was basic movements; first slow, then fast, repeated twice and three times. Sensei Bakkies demonstrated how fast the movements across the floor can be performed, even combining kicks and punches. We also tried, but had to conclude, that a lot of training is needed to match his speed. Throughout the training, Sensei very often repeated to keep the shoulders “back and down”. It is clear that this is something to remember!

On Saturday morning the training theme was Gekisai Dai Ichi Kata. A lot of combinations from the Kata were exercised with variation in speed, power and order of combinations. Again Sensei Bakkies demonstrated that also these combinations can be performed at an impressive speed while maintaining perfect technique.

On Saturday afternoon tai sabaki was practiced. Most of us had one or more issues with the skin under our feet during or after the training.

On Sunday morning, Seiyunchin Kata combinations were often repeated. Sensei Bakkies asked us, ‘what the difference is between gymnastics and Kata?’

Gymnastics is mainly about movements while in Kata also the power, breathing, concentration and spirit are important (my apologies if I miss something here …). ‘It’s like coffee: you need water and beans to make coffee. If you miss something, it is not coffee. The same applies for Kata or Karate in general.’

On Sunday afternoon, there was a training session for black belts only. Although we expected some high-level techniques or maybe Sanchin training, Sensei Bakkies provided a training in basic techniques, alone and with partner. The message is clear: basic techniques are important! However, also more difficult combinations were present which required good focus next to the speed and power. We all needed our second engine while the sweat was flowing rapidly. This was not just a training, it was an experience; a very intense one!

Sensei Bakkies Laubscher, thank you very much for training us!

Sensei Patrick Curinckx and Sensei Mieke: thank you very much for the organization of such a great event.