On the 20th of June Shihan Dave Jonkers and Sensei (DaiShihan) Marcel van den Berg went to Kazakhstan to participate in a Seminar and to perform a Dan grading.
From the moment we arrived at thursday in Kazakhstan we have been greeted with respect and hospitality. At the moment we arrived at the airport we got greeted by two traditionally beautiful dressed Kazakhstan lady’s offering a traditional treat.
On Thursday we did a small tour through the city of Nur-Sultan formerly known as Astana to see some of the buildings and locations.
In the evening Shihan Dave and Sensei Marcel met with a delegation from the newly created Kazakhstanian Ashihara Federation, during this session we met with the people who will be running the general tasks and members of the board. During this session the members were formally introduced and appointed and the session was concluded with a dinner with the members of the board
Friday’s we had the first seminar training in the morning, during this session Shihan Dave practiced various techniques. The second session during the day was used for technique training but also we went over kata’s. Because of the high temperatures this session was extremely difficult and was performed in a high tempo of course during the sessions we are already looking at how the students are performing and if they are comfortable with techniques and kata, from this you can already see if people have trained for their exams or if they have not.
On Saturday we started the training with a small warm up and again with running through katas. From that moment on Shihan decided to already start with the exam to see how the participants are doing. So we performed the katas three 5 times per person on count increasingly speeding up and afterwards running it extra in a normal way.
During the tests students doing the Nidan Exam were requested an extra kata to be performed step by step, once fully and once dynamically. During this phase you could really see the level the students were acting on was very good. Technically and from an endurance perspective the students were really up for it.
After the Kata’s various technical aspects like kicking drills and pad training and Sabaki were conducted and after a total of 3 and a half hours training the technical part was concluded giving everybody who had done their exam the ok to proceed to the kumite.
The kumite as is always the part where you need to endure the psychological aspects of fighting and the length of 30 or 40 matches which requires stamina and endurance. Here you see the strength of these young people who are also good fighters in tournaments.
A great thing to mention is the fact that next to two persons in their 50s there was also somebody doing his Shodan grading at the age of 68 years old. Mussin Serik did the seminar and the whole session from start to finish. This is by far the most incredible thing i have seen.
Everybody that did exam has shown the knowledge and endurance we are looking for in the AIKO. Congratulations with becoming Shodan/Nisan.
The last day Sunday we could relax and undertook some trips with people to see more of the sites in Nur-Sultan and the surrounding area. We visited a Mosque and the national Museum and Chilled at a ranch nearby. During our relax session we were given a traditional Robe called a Shapan, many thanks for this honour.
During this whole time we were treated with respect and nothing was left to chance. We would like to say thanks to Alexandr Zhuralev Branch Chief of Kazakhstan for the work he has and still is doing for the AIKO and the Kazakhstan Federation and for inviting us to this great country. Also we would like to say thank you to our host and chauffeur Nurlan Kazhgaliyev putting up with us and driving us around, Alexandr and Nurlan you two really are perfect hosts, and we are honored to have you in our AIKO family.
Let’s not forget all the other people that were there helping in any way, because we don’t speak Kazakhstan or Russian just a bit of bad English also thanks to our two translators. Everybody that was involved thank you for making this a perfect experience.We hope to come back to further improve and expand our way of Ashihara karate with our AIKO family