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Wrightsville Beach is a Great Place to Practice Early AM Karate

Sensei Jon Oshita

My annual workout and seminar on the beach is designed for the individual in mind. The goal is for the karateka ( one that studies karate) to touch on the physical, mental, and spiritual elements of karate. I am writing this so that participants can have an understanding of what this seminar is all about.

After bowing in, the karateka will first go through karate exercise equipment known as Hojo Undo. Hojo Undo stations are set up along the shore line facing the ocean. One is allowed to push one's self at one's own pace until time has expired and then rotate on to the next station.

Because of the sea breeze on the beach it can be difficult to hear commands, therefore I use green, yellow and red flags to signal commands to the practitioner. The green flag means start. The yellow flag means you are at the halfway point of your exercise before rotations. And the red flag means to stop and rotate to the next station.

The stations are designed and located in such a way to build and harden the karateka's body while allowing one's mind to relax and meditate to the rhythmic sounds of the ocean. Some of the stations build arm strength . Other stations build leg , back and core strength . Still other stations one will rotate to will strengthen ones appendages such as hands , toes, and forearm .

After the conditioning training, each karateka will find a private spot on the beach and on que

Karate ka Practicing Kata

will preform each kata. As with the Hojo Undo, no one is watching or critiquing ones kata as it is solely an intrinsic activity. One is encouraged to achieve Mushin or no mind , breathing in the salt air and relaxing oneself with the sounds of lapping waves.

Performing kata on a surface such as sand adds different nuances in stances and pivoting that one might not get in their home dojo. After kata, specific technique are chosen in advance from each kata. The techniques are demonstrated and then everyone partners up and drills the application. These particular technique and their bunkai ( meaning the use and application of technique) are to take advantage of the sandy surface . Lots of take downs and throws are applied.

To finish off the seminar , after kata bunkai , each individual finds a spot on the beach and on que performs Sanchin. A perfect way to end an exhilarating morning. The group then bows out with time still left for pictures.

Some behind the scenes facts ...

  1. The seminar is time sensitive. Before 9:00 am parking is free. This is why the seminar ends at 8:45am to allow time for pictures and to get back to your car.

  2. The seminar is designed with families in mind. A lot of times, karate seminars leave the family behind. Not this one. The karate ka can bring family with them to hang out on the beach while they train or by the time the practitioner returns to the hotel his or her family is still sleeping or maybe getting ready for the day. This is to be a vacation for everyone.

  3. The location of the seminar is one of the 20 most beautiful beach locations in the world! And now the karate ka knows exactly how to get there to return with their family!

  4. The seminar is for high ranking Dan also. Because this is an autonomous event high ranking dan are not needed to " run" it. Therefore, they too can enjoy their own karate workout.

  5. The location of the seminar has both ocean and inlet scenic views. It is beautiful at both sunrise and sunset. And remember, during the day wear those sandals because the sand is hot when walking to the beach!

The beach seminar is every summer so stay tuned for an exact date for summer 2017!

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