Visiting Hayashi-Ha Shito-Ryu kata Grandmaster (GM) Nagatomo Kenichiro, says Botswana athletes will need to develop more fighting spirit if they are to be among the best in the world.
Kenichiro said this during his first training session with the local Hayashi-Ha Karate at the Botswana Karate Association (BOKA) Hall this past Friday.
The renowned GM is in the country to share his expertise with local karatekas as part of the Botswana Hayashi-Ha Shito-Ryu Kai Karate Union’s attempt to upgrade its students’ kata and kumite skills.
Speaking in an interview during break on the sidelines of his intensive training regime with the local Karatekas, GM Kenichiro had this to say; “The players, especially those from the national team have very good body strength and if they develop their fighting spirit, they will improve.”
He however lamented the disparity of basic skills between the senior Karatekas and the young ones.
“The young players need to have a lot of exercise to improve their skills. If there was more time I would show more of my ability and train them from the beginning,” he said.
During his training sessions, GM Kenichiro not only refined the Kata but also showed the locals its application, something which can help them apply it in their Kumite.
According to Kenichiro, it is only through proper analysis and disassembling and or disintegration of the Kata that the athletes can get right the basics of Karate and improve their Kumite.
On his part the reigning Africa Kata champion Ofentse Bakwadi said the little time he spent training with the GM has shown him there are aspects that needs to be understood by Kata practitioners.
Considering GM Kenichiro’s dynamism and attention to detail, Bakwadi, who is also a national team player, said he was able to learn a lot. He added it would be of great benefit if local coaches and referees can also learn from him.
“There is a big gap between what the coaches teach us and what the GM taught us. This calls for coaches to have demonstration lessons too. The GM is technically sound, I almost blacked out after training but I am glad I had so much to learn. From what I have seen during the GM’s classes, I think there is a need for most of our coaches to have lessons too,” Bakwadi concluded.
For his part, Botswana Hayashi-Ha Chief instructor, Shihan Mpho Bakwadi said GM Kenichiro is here to standardise the technique and upgrade the players‘skills. He said so far he corrects the mistakes that they have been doing as instructors.
With Karate now guarantted to be part of the next Olympic games, Shihan Bakwadi said it was important that they host an expert to help fine tune local athletes.
He said the Botswana Hayashi-Ha identified Kenichiro during their international games in Spain and arranged for his visit to Botswana.
“It was important to host a GM because each continent chooses two players so we have to try to qualify for the 2020 Olympics. Kenichiro‘s standard is high and we have identified mistakes we have been doing when training our students,” he said.
The mistakes that players make are highly technical. It needs technique by different stunts, grabs, kakato and to apply the Bunkai which make up the basic skills of Kata,” he concluded.