April 2024

Two old friends

We invited Fiore Tartaglia (7th Dan Shotokan) and Schlatt (6th Dan Shotokan) as guest instructors for our course on 20.04.24. Although the two have known each other for over 40 years, they have never been active as joint trainers on a course. We as a club are therefore very proud to have brought these two together as trainers.

140 participants from six different federal states attended our course and had the opportunity to train under these two friends. We divided the group from beginners to 4th Kyu and from 3rd Kyu to Dan.

The first group, which consisted of beginners up to 4th kyu, was first trained by Fiore. For his two sessions, he focused on the kata Heian Nidan. He took the kata apart sequence by sequence with the group and tried out some associated bunkai passages with the trainees. The bunkai was made up of the closest possible techniques from the kata in order to offer an application that was as true to the kata as possible. Accordingly, the correct sequence of movements was of course important, which was practiced again and again in between. Schlatt practiced the Taikyoku Shodan, Heian Shodan and Heian Nidan katas with the group throughout the morning and the Heian Sandan and Heian Yondan in the afternoon. He ran the katas slowly with the group in order to be able to focus precisely on the movements and, above all, to work on the stance, which must be stable as the foundation of the kata. This meant that the units were still physically demanding, although the actual movements were slower. Especially after the twists and turns, it was important for him to be as stable as possible and to be able to align himself appropriately.

After the lunch break, the group came together for a mondo, which was led by the two coaches. This gave the participants another opportunity to ask specific questions about the units or to listen to the two masters outside of the course topic.

The first session for group 2 (3rd kyu and above) was led by Fiore. In his first session, he integrated the flexibility of the body into general evasive movements. The evasive movements should be as minimal as possible. His aim was to suppress the fighting instinct and promote the joy of successful movement. In the course of the session, we were to try to implement the evasive movements with the help of a partner. As a further means of pressure, he added the bo during the partner exercises to make the process a little more exciting. At the end of the session, Fiore demonstrated the origin of these evasive movements, which can be found in the kata Sochin. Schlatt then took over the training and began with kihon. He not only challenged the group with variations and combinations of techniques, but also explained the origin of the word parts and their meanings in writing and language during the breaks. His training not only challenged the body, but also the mind to stay on the ball and think about the characters. After the lunch break, Fiore was again responsible for the second group and engaged the group with a movement sequence for Kata Basadai. It was important for him to point out that this was not a bunkai of the kata, but a free movement formula that worked on the arm and leg patterns separately. The patterns were then put together again with a partner in a practical example, but again with the aspect of free and limited movement and not as a bunkai. He also put the teams under pressure again by severely restricting the evasive space by practicing on walls. Finally, it was Schlatt's turn again to build on his first unit and look with the group at what the basic school katas have to offer after kihon. The participants were asked to think about what they wanted to teach and train in the individual katas as they walked. In between, Schlatt brought the group back together and shared his thoughts on the individual katas and figuratively searched for katas with the same teaching intentions, this time only in the dan segment. As soon as the heads were busy again, he let the group come together again in the smallest space and run the katas in absolute close proximity to the others before the complete thought process for the next Heian kata started all over again.

We would like to thank everyone for the high number of participants and your positive feedback from the course. We would also like to thank the two masters for making this day so interesting and enjoyable and hope to be able to welcome both trainers and you karatekas again in the future.

Text: Aaron Polland
Pictures: Aaron Polland / Roy Hoppe